A Bathroom Story on Independence

bathroom toddler independence parenting leilazamoramoreno

This is my view from the toilet. Something’s been different lately, as Cesar is not often part of my bathroom view when it’s my potty time.

From when he was teeny tiny, I’d bring him with me whenever I had to go to the toilet. Overtime, we moved from bouncer, to bath seat (cause it was around lol), to simply plopping him on the floor, to him playing around with bathroom items, to him opening and closing the door for me, handing me toilet paper and managing the tap when washing my hands.

Initially I brought him with me, because I figured it would be the best way for him to see what pee and poo is all about, where and how we do it, and where he’ll eventually do it as well. Even if he couldn’t make use of the bathroom, I could show him pee, poo, where it comes from and how we clean ourselves up after, to start establishing the vocabulary for when the day comes that he sees himself able to use the potty, so that we have the vocabulary to discuss and direct this transition.

After a good while, I started going to the toilet without telling him that I was going to or asking if he wanted to come with. Once he realised I was gone he’d quickly come find me and insist to get into the bathroom. I thought that since he’d been to the toilet with me for a gazillion times, he’d be over it by now. The look on his face as he’d run after me was quite something. He was seriously upset. I looked into his eyes and the stare of dismay really got to me. I saw that I had made an assumption, where I believed that ‘he should be over it by now’, that I made a decision and assessment on his behalf of ‘who he should be’ and ‘where she should be at’ within himself. Instead of asking, instead of checking.

When I got Cesar, I had made a decision to meet all his needs to the best of my ability.  Looking back at my own childhood, I realised that a lot of my beliefs about myself and my personality resulted from a lack in responsiveness to my needs. When my needs weren’t met – whatever they may have been – the tacit implication I derived from that was: that it was my fault, that I was not worthy, that there must be something wrong with me, that I’m not competent enough, that my communication doesn’t matter.

The actual walking of that decision was and is still somewhat a rocky road. On the one hand I’ll be meeting his needs, but on the other hand there’s a little voice going ‘you’re spoiling him’, ‘his never going to learn how to do things on his own’, ‘he’s just playing games with you’, ‘he’ll never be independent and forever cling on you’.

The voices of years of conditioning. My common sense tells me one thing, but my fears another.

Back to the bathroom.

So – I made a point of it again to let him know when I go, ask him if he wants to come with or not.
Then, after a while of  our regular, constant potty companionship; I ask him and he just kind of looks up in recognition that I said something, but will look back just as quick and continue focusing on what he was doing. Or he’ll say ‘Stay with Gian’ – that he will stay with Gian while I go potty. Or “stay room” where he’ll stay by himself while I go to the bathroom.
Sometimes he still comes with me, courteously opening and closing doors for me, helping me every step of the way. Other times he couldn’t care less. The bathroom holds no more mysteries for him, he’s seen it all – he’s confident he’s not missing out, so now he just makes a choice in the moment based on what he’d like to do.

This little moment of me sitting in the bathroom and reflecting on the path we’ve walked in all bathroom related things, made me look at the topic of independence and dependence once again.

It’s like there’s this really weird, deep fear that if I meet his needs he will never become independent. Yet, if I look at him and my own childhood in retrospect, independence in itself is a need as well. Independence is not some ‘extracurricular’ skill that you need to carefully craft and plan because it’s not part of ‘normal development’. Doing things on your own, being on your own – these are things that naturally emerge and are part of ourselves, as a need we express as individuals.

And Cesar shows me these signs every day. How he wants to go and poo in a separate room or in the garden, while insisting we stay where we are and he will call us when he needs us. Where he insists on pouring his own cup, taking food out of a packet, help moving shopping inside. How upset he gets when we do something for him in a moment of unawareness, which we know he can do for himself but forgot to ask if he’ll do it.

Independence grows as they grow. All you have to do is meet it, just like any other need.

He now enjoys making that decision to come with or not. That he can own that decision. That he can see and realise out of his own that he is alright being on his own. Not because I told him so, but because he realised it first hand.

 

Who’s The Real Danger?

snake bush kwzazulu natal leilazamoramoreno

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.

#snake #spottedbushsnake #southafrica #animals #nature #fear #danger #poison #humans

Itsy Bitsy Spider

spider hand toddler parenting leilazamoramoreno

Cesar found a spider on the wall and decided to play with him. He’d touch it and let it crawl all over him which he found very ticklish and funny. I had a bit of a reaction being scared that the spider would bite him and offered to take it off with a piece of paper. He immediately said ‘NO!’ and covered the spider with his other hand as to protect it. He then went off to show Maite what he found and then picked up some cars to play with while leaving the spider on his hand. He later placed his hand on the floor to let the spider walk off. Kudos to him – What seems normal and natural to him would take bravery from me!

#toddler #spider #bugs #fear #arachnophobia #parenting #nature #paranoia #playfulness #innocence

From Anxiety to Authority | Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

anxiety authority pattern emotional turmoil parenting

When my son got very comfortable with water and taking baths by himself (with someone present), he really enjoyed playing with water as it was being tapped, or playing with the showerhead extension while filling the bath. Though whenever it was time to turn off the tap there’d be a big cry and/or tantrum as he wasn’t happy to see his playtime end so soon.

Sometimes he’d get so engulfed in the tantrum/crying that he wouldn’t be aware of how he was moving and then slip and hurt himself. Though this only happened once or twice before he got that massive bath tantrums aren’t exactly a good idea. I didn’t like it when this would happen cause I had the tendency of taking his crying personal – where I would interpret his crying as a judgment directed towards me.

After it happened a few times that bath-time ended in tears, I started dreading bath-time in anticipation of the not so happy ending which would follow. The moment he would ask to take a bath or when we needed to get clean, anxiety would immediately creep up as I would already imagine him having a cry out at the end of it. And then sure enough, it would happen and we’d go through the motions once more.

This was not a fun experience as I would like to enjoy bath time and have him enjoy bath time regardless of how it ends. Applying the principle of getting the message behind an emotion, I opened up the anxiety experience inside myself. Within this, I could see the following lesson within the emotion of anxiety:

Whenever we experience anxiety towards a particular event or playout, it’s not so much the actual event or playout which we fear, but are experience as a reaction TOWARDS the event. Where, we once went through such an event/playout before and experienced this as being unpleasant in some way or another. Then if we anticipate the same or similar event to play out, we project our past experience unto the future playout – and end up with a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When I went into anxiety, it wasn’t because I was fearing him crying or having a tantrum. I was fearing my inner-experience, my experience of diminishment inside that I had gotten accustomed to, to his crying. I was in fact: fearing myself. In my head, these two aspects – the physical aspect of him crying/having a tantrum, and the aspect of me taking his crying personal – were fused as being ‘one and the same’. So when I went into anxiety and already imagined the future playout of his crying or tantrum, it made it seem as if I was fearing the actual physical event.

We assume that how we experienced ourselves in the past will be how we will experience ourselves in the future. But we also assume that we cannot experience ourselves any other way. In this, we have already defined and accepted ourselves as a particular behavioural trait or pattern, such as: when my son cries/throws a tantrum = I take it personal. If this, then that. When we enter into anxiety, we don’t fear the ‘if this’ part of the equation, we fear the ‘then that’ part.

Anxiety as a message, wishes to tell us that we have allowed ourselves to succumb to a pattern. That our experience is confined and limited to that which the pattern dictates, and believe there to be no way out (unless we avoid the event connected to the anxiety which we fear, which is merely avoiding the trigger to the experience, but the patterns still remains existent within us).

If we do not take heed of the message anxiety wishes to show us, anxiety remains because its message is put on hold. We remain a victim to our pattern and will feel less and less in control of our life. What anxiety is demanding, is for us to become the Author of our own lives. To not passively accept a pattern to overrun and overwhelm us, but to decide who we are and how we will experience ourselves in any given moment. When we become the author of our own life and script our own story, we establish Authority inside ourselves.

Are you going to remain a slave to your reaction-pattern, or are you going to script and author your own outcome?

I decided that I do not want to keep taking his cries personal. I decided to change the pattern.

His reaction never was personal to me. His crying merely indicated his sadness to a desire which couldn’t be fulfilled. When I made peace that his crying didn’t make me a lesser parent or person, the anxiety disappeared and soon enough so did his tantrums. Children have very sharp perceptual senses. When we are in a heightened state of distress, for instance when we are in anxiety within anticipating an unpleasant event, the child picks up on this. Our whole body and state of being is in essence screaming to them: “Something bad is about to come our way!” So when the event happens, the child reacts in distress because he or she assumes it is the appropriate way to respond. They don’t necessarily believe that was it happening is distressing. They are merely following our example. As long as I was in anxiety about having the tap turned off, where the turning of the tap was followed by an experience of diminishment inside myself – he assumed that it is only appropriate for him to also feel diminished when the tap turned off and play time was over. If I however showed him that turning the tap on or off doesn’t affect how I feel about myself or my levels of enjoyment, then he learns that turning off the tap doesn’t mean turning off enjoyment inside himself.

The Perversion of Innocence

Source: Pixabay

Source: Pixabay

If you’ve been following my blogs, my facebook and/or my Instagram – you’ll have noticed a lot of pictures of my son Cesar. For the past two years, no-one seemed to have an issue with this fact. My son plays a central role in my life. Parenting plays a vital role in determining the character of our child, whether they will live their utmost potential – or succumb to the sins of our fathers: replaying generations of emotional and mental baggage.

When I embarked on my parenting journey, I realised I had a lot to learn. But that if I was open to myself, my son and new possibilities – I would find new ways of establishing parent-child relationships based on mutual respect and trust rather than control and domination. Control and domination which not only govern parent-child relationships, but the way we live our lives on Earth. It’s in parenting, the school system, our employment system, government, financial sector, corporate sector – anywhere you look, this dynamic rears its face. That’s because all of these systems, all of these structural set-ups in the world come into being, are maintained and fuelled by individuals. Individuals who were once children. Children who were raised under the guide of dominance and control. People – who simply ‘know no other way’.

So, within realising the problem at hand – and having the opportunity to evaluate and walk a parent-child relationship myself; it immediately became clear that: whatever I learn, whatever I realise, whatever mistake I find that I can correct = is indispensable to share.

In the day and age where centralized information is more and more taking a side-position, where more and more people are broadcasting their individual lives, research, insights, realizations – it only seemed natural to use this powerful medium as a tool for sharing a message.

But now – back to the main story. I’ve been posting pictures of my son for a little bit over 2 years, with stories, realisations, insights that I developed and gathered while walking my personal journey. It’s been an absolute pleasure to read people’s feedbacks. To read and see that many of us walk and face the same obstacles, that people can relate and find themselves in my story and are able to help themselves through it. So what changed?

Well, as part of potty training we started leaving his diaper off. It being African summer and getting quite hot, he was quite comfortable not wearing any clothes at all. He then started liking not wearing any clothes at all as it improved his range of motion and simply liked the comfort of being naked. It’s nice to be naked.

Our lives simply continued, I kept taking pictures. So now there are some pictures where his monkeybutt is visible. While in general the feedback from other people remains the same as people continue to enjoy the storylines accompanying the pictures, some concerns start trickling through.

That I “should be careful posting pictures of my son on the internet”. That “there are a lot of freaks and creeps out there”. That I’m “exposing my child”.

What to do? Personally, I love that he is comfortable in his own skin. I love that he has zero body issues and doesn’t see anything wrong with his body or nakedness. I remember my own childhood moments of being naked, free and enjoying myself – whether inside the house or in nature. Where the size, shape or colour of your body didn’t mean a thing. You were here, alive – celebrating your existence!

The problem is not our care-free children. The problem is not our children’s self-comfortability.

The problem lies with US. We react to children expressing themselves, innocently, naturally. We react because ‘people might get aroused’, staring thinking all kinds of things – maybe even go as far as planning to kidnap our children to play out their fantasies.

But how do these dysfunctions get created in the minds of such people? And how do we exacerbate and aggravate such as issues once we become aware they exist? Will not posting pictures of my child playing provide a solution for these individuals and society at large which fears their danger? No.

These type of mental dysfunctions are the result of not understanding, not knowing oneself. Where for instance, one see a child play, realise their innocence and their sense of freedom. Where we see that we have lost that innocence and the ability to just ‘be ourselves’ regardless of what anyone might think. We see that we ‘like’ seeing this expression, this innocence at play. What we are not seeing, is how children are showing us that which we have lost – and what we need to regain for ourselves. Instead of focussing on how we can become carefree and innocent like a child once more, it’s easy for a person to start focusing on the child itself as an object, a gateway TO innocence and freedom – rather than developing and living innocence and freedom ourselves. One starts to believe that the only way one can experience this expression is through them. Now one starts reacting that one likes and enjoys children and their expression. That maybe something is wrong with oneself, that maybe…maybe I am sexually attracted to this child? Now one’s mind goes to all sorts of places – and within not realising that the issue at hand is one’s relationship with oneself which has got NOTHING TO DO with the child – one fixates and obsesses over the child and one’s reaction towards the child which one judge heavily. The more we judge ourselves, the more we fuel the particular reaction, the more it builds up, the more it starts seeking RELEASE. And then people do stupid things, and people get hurt.

Not posting pictures of one’s child, or ensuring one’s child is always ‘nicely covered’ with low tolerance for skin, only perpetuates the taboo. It only enforces the idea that the issue lies with the children, and not the adults. The more we try and hide and cover up – the more we label something as ‘bad’ the more resistance we create around the subject. And whatever we resist will persist. In the meantime, our children get the indirect message that they are ‘bad’ for enjoying themselves, that nakedness is shameful (even though it may not be our intent to relay this message), that they should monitor and put a limit on their expressiveness because someone might want to come and take advantage of it. In the meantime, you’re also sending a message to everyone other than your child that: you can’t be trusted. You’re perverted. You can’t control yourself. Later, when the child is grown up to an adult – he now has reactions towards ‘skin’ and ‘nakedness’. Thinking and believing it’s something ‘special’, something he needs to ‘explore and experience’ – because he was denied his own experience of intimacy and comfortability with and in his own skin.

We see this same pattern the area of dressing codes, where schools are more and more restricting and imposing rules on what a girl may or may not wear out of fear of ‘triggering’ any classmates or male teachers. That women shouldn’t dress attractively or be their expressive self, because then they’re ‘asking for rape’. This ideas and opinions persist, regardless of studies showing that if someone is set out to rape or abuse someone – they’re going to do it. That what we believe ‘triggers’ a person, is most often not the reason or justification they used to take advantage of another. That a person will go forward with rape or abuse, regardless of how one dresses. This is because ANYTHING can be made into a justification for abuse. If you wear clothes revealing a lot of skin – a person may go ‘Oh, she’s just asking for it – look at her’. If a girl is dressing modestly, the same person might go ‘Oh, she’s playing hard to get but she’s actually dying for it’. A girl may give another a friendly smile – and one can go ‘Oh, that’s a sign that she likes me and wants to have sex with me’. Another girl, who was told to dress modestly, not ever smile, or to not every make eye contact with strangers because of the fear of getting raped; may come across someone who interprets the behaviour as “Why is she acting like I don’t exist? Does she think she is so much better than me? She deserves a lesson!”.

So really, covering yourself up, not covering yourself up, doing a bit of both – IT DOESN’T MATTER.

If someone is out to take advantage of another because of their own personal issues with themselves = they’re going to do it. It doesn’t help to control, monitor and manage the symptom. All you end up with is a lose-lose situation. You end up with people having dysfunctional relationships with themselves who do not get addressed, while everyone else supresses and goes into hiding.

The least we can do is to be true to ourselves, to express ourselves freely – to show others ‘this is how you do it’, ‘This is what having a healthy relationship with yourself and others looks like’. The moment we hide, change ourselves, and suppress ourselves – we’re allowing the problem to take over. That we’re victims to the situation and the only thing we can do is to adjust ourselves to accommodate other people’s weaknesses.

Personally, that is not a way to live.

The Art of Horsemanship, starts with Self-Mastery

horse woman leilazamoramoreno

When I first got into contact with horses on a daily basis, I was already walking a process of Self-Investigation – analysing who I am and where I can improve myself to my make daily life and living more effective and enjoyable. For me, spending time with horses was a ‘hobby’, something I would do for fun to ‘take my mind of things’. Yet, soon enough – it became very clear that working with horses and spending time with them was not the kind of ‘break’ I was looking for. Quite the opposite happened actually. My buttons were continuously being pushed, and no matter how much I just wanted to ‘relax’ and enjoy myself around the horses and specifically the horse I ended up having as my companion, I found myself in an almost constant state of inner conflict. I really wanted to get to know my horse and have a fun relationship, but he was bullying me around and I was anxious just being around him. When I had first met him at the farm he was staying before coming to live with us, he seemed like a sweet and grounded horse. But when it came to daily interaction, a whole new dynamic came to the surface. In the first few weeks, I’d need to keep his halter on in the stable while grooming because he was very pissy and all too happy to bite/nip to express his. With the assistance of others, I was able to set boundaries and stabilise myself through addressing my fear relationship with him.

When I was a child, I got my share of beatings – this left a very deep impression on me which affected my entire life (and is something I am still working through). Now, having this BIG animal with massive strength and power around me – it scared the living shit out of me. Just seeing him, seeing his grumpy expression and the intensity of him movements whether directed towards me or not – would trigger all sorts of memories bringing me back to my childhood, scared, insecure self. When I was a child, all I would do to cope with the situation is to draw back inside myself and wait the situation out while sitting in complete fear and petrification.

My experience of myself around my horse was absolutely awful. Either I would stop participating with horses, or I would change and empower myself – teach and give myself the tools I did not have as a child, to find a constructive way to work with another being who is angry and plays this out physically – without getting hurt and going into self-diminishment in the process.

This has shown to be a very challenging task. Every fibre of my being has since childhood been set up to avoid conflict situations at any and all costs, especially situations where things could get physical. It was very difficult to give up my primary coping mechanism as the survival skill I developed in situations of conflict. I had to constantly remind myself that I was no longer a child and in a position of powerlessness. I was an adult now and I did not have to be a victim of the situation. I was very scared to change, because all I knew was that ‘avoidance’ would keep me safe. So every day, I would make the deliberate effort to change. To be present, here and work with my horse regardless of the anxiety inside myself. I was taught to take notice of my posture and body language, as any emotional instability would translate into a particular body posture, which would draw out a particular response from the horse. Horses are herd animals as well as prey animals. Their survival and well-being depends on effective leadership. Someone who knows what they are doing. If you are scared, fearful, and go into states of self-diminishment – it is logical to the horse to get rid of you or at least ‘know your place’ in the hierarchy with all the consequences that come with it.

Not only are horses very perceptive of the state of being of their fellow herd members, but they are perceptive of the state of being of any human or animal that gets into their environment. In the wild, a predator who’s just had a nice meal and is fully satisfied can stroll by a herd of horses and the horses will peacefully graze on – because they already picked up on this state of being from miles away. If that same animal however would have approached them in a state of hunting, they would have ran off the moment they picked up on the animal. Much of their behaviour is determined by ‘where everyone else is at’. This became very clear that, as I changed – my horse would change. And so my horse would become the mirror reflection of myself and my state of being. Challenging me, pushing me, checking where I am at and responding accordingly.

Unfortunately, many people do not consider this aspect when working with a horse or any other animal for that matter. If a horse is being unruly, then simply more control and force is used. Someone in my position, then easily moves from being a victim to being a perpetrator – doing unto the horse exactly that which had been done unto self. Horses, in their kind forgiving nature – will put up with this behaviour until they have either had enough (at which point they get sold or sent to the slaughter house) or until they collapse under physical strain and pressure.

To have a willing, trusting and cooperative relationship with your horse – Self-Mastery is absolutely essential. This means constant evaluation and assessment of yourself and your horse. Never assume that your horse is simply being an ‘irrational animal’. This great creatures are very advanced processing machines – to call them stupid would be a deflection of our own inability to see beyond our limited perspectives.

Why does Emotional and Feeling Turmoil Exist?| Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

becoming-aware-of-the-mind

In my previous blog I gave an example of how the beliefs we hold inside ourselves as ‘truth’ and ‘fact’ determine our perception and so the actions we take in response to what we perceive is happening.

So how do emotions and feelings as emotional turmoil fit into this picture?

What I’ve noticed with myself, is that whenever I hold a belief inside myself through which I perceive and act through – some form of emotion or feeling energy will emerge inside myself.

In the beginning of the series I had shared how I was going through a lot of emotional turmoil inside myself in the beginning phases of my parenting journey. When I finally had ‘enough’ of this hectic experience inside myself, it wasn’t that I was telling the emotional turmoil to just ‘stop it’; rather; I dropped the beliefs which I was holding on to which were creating emotional turmoil inside myself.

When I noticed this, I started to be more aware of the slightest movements inside myself – to challenge myself to see whether what I was experiencing was a reflection of the ‘reality I was in’; or whether the experience was there because I was holding on to an inaccurate view of reality and myself. Throughout time, this conclusion was affirmed time and time again.

When I would say be angry at my child, the situation wasn’t demanding of me to be angry – rather, I was perceiving reality in such a way that I believed anger was the appropriate response. The anger didn’t emerge and rise inside myself for me to act out on; the anger emerged to say ‘Hello, there’s a misalignment in how you’re perceiving your reality – you need to check what belief you are holding on to which is causing you to think and act inappropriately’.

I noticed that every emotion and feeling, and every single nuance that exists of it, would contain a specific message – a specific door that needed to be opened and for me to look into, a door to myself wherein I could see and assess what ‘guidelines’ as beliefs, ideas and perceptions I had set myself up to act in accordance to; beliefs, ideas and perceptions which would lead to disharmonious outcomes inside myself and my outer reality if I decided to act on them.

Have you ever noticed how uncomfortable fear, anger, anxiety, restlessness, excitement, adrenaline are experienced inside yourself and your body? It’s because they’re within their very nature disharmonious – and arise for us to reflect on ourselves, so we can ask: where we are being disharmonious inside and with ourselves? I’ve been a very emotional person throughout my life, and I never liked it. I don’t like the feeling of having this energy inside myself that I cannot direct and don’t know what to do with. That I can’t see or think past anything but what I am experiencing as the emotion or feeling presiding in that moment. I would avoid so many situations, especially social ones – simply because I knew I would be going through emotional turmoil inside myself, that I would not know what to do with it or how to direct it and so I rather not place myself in those positions at all. I absolutely hated these experiences coming up inside me, and being a slave to them. Not being able to do things that I wanted or with the confidence that I wanted, because so many things would trigger an emotional response inside myself that I decided that it was simply ‘not worth it’.

As a mother I hated it even more. I love my son to bits and I want the best for him – yet, I experience all these conflicting emotions and feelings inside myself. When I act on them I regret it as soon as the moment as past.

Learning that emotions and feelings are not here to limit us, but here to guide us, show us how we decided to diminish ourselves through inaccurate beliefs, ideas and perceptions about ourselves and the world – has been one of the greatest gifts received in my life. I don’t have to fear emotional turmoil. If emotional turmoil comes up in one way or the other, I can simply look at the message behind it, change my attitude and approach from limitation to empowerment: and the turmoil disappears.

All those emotions and feelings you battle with within your day to day living, they don’t really want to be there! They’re coming up to ask you to pleeeasse have a look at how you are living, how you are perceiving yourself and the world around you – and to make a change so they may disappear and you may leave in peace with yourself and your environment.

What’s more – is that as you become attuned to your own emotions and feelings and what they are trying to show you, you will be able to create a more effective and intimate relationship with your child. As a parent you may have noticed that a tantrum doesn’t come in a ‘single package’, but that the way children, toddlers and babies ‘act out’ differs from moment to moment, situation to situation. When we become attuned to how we’ve allowed ourselves to live by a limited version of ourselves, we can assist our children in showing them how they can empower themselves through conflicting experiences. With my own son who is but a toddler, most if not all of his tantrums manifest not because of a disharmonious perception on this side, but where he ‘acts out’ to reflect back to me where I have not been true to my utmost potential, and allowed limiting ideas and beliefs to control me, which also determine how I approach my son.

Besides my own emotional turmoil being there to guide me, I also have my son as an external reference to show me where I am going off path.

So if you can relate and find yourself going through your own experiences of emotional and feeling turmoil – then that’s great! Because guess what? It simply means there’s still a better, more improved version of yourself to be discovered and lived!

 

When You’re Scared he’s going to Fall in a Hole

toddler hole ground leilazamoramoreno

Newest Desteni Farm project for 2016: Grow Babies!

Lol

Cesar and I were visiting Gian who was working in the nursery offloading compost, which is being used to plant Moringa trees. We have many holes which still need to be filled with a compost mixture before the rest of the Moringas can be planted. Gian plotted Cesar down in one such a hole, which Cesar found quite enjoyable. It’s funny because I was quite weary of the holes when walking around in the nursery, while Cesar was hugely fascinated by them. I didn’t think of putting him in a hole as I assumed he would experience it as being scary. Now he doesn’t have to fall into a hole to experience it, we can simply put him in one and have him experience it safely. It’s funny how fear puts a limit on your perspective and will not allow you to see all the options you have availability as you are too concerned about 1 thing ‘not happening’ that you fail to see all the other courses of action available to you. Very much a case of tunnel vision.

#baby #toddler @DesteniFarm #planting #trees #Moringa #hole #fear #disempowerment #tunnelvision #parenting #motherhood #worry

Utter Dependence & Access to Life | Part 1

father son newborn leilazamoramoreno

Here’s a picture of Cesar, just three days old on his first day home, at the farm.

He needed a little bit of sunshine to help filter out some excess bilirubin.

From being in the womb where his needs are constantly cared for as being a part of my body, he was now an individual being. One of the first things that struck me was the frequency of these needs, which were basically present pretty much *all the time* for about three months. In a way, looking at where he came from – it does make sense. In the womb, he had constant supply of nourishment, constant supply of physical contact (and the ease of peeing in the womb whenever it pleases him!).

The first three months of his life consisted of constant feeding, sleeping and nappy changes.

At first, I was doing everything ‘by the book’. Having him sleep in a crib, trying to keep his feeds apart, only nursing for x amount of time.

It was absolutely horrible.

He would nurse forever, literally hours on end, Once he dropped from my breast – I had to change his nappy because he’d usually excrete right after each feed. By the time the nappy was changed, he wanted to nurse again. Maybe now he didn’t poo or pee and I had an opening to put him in the crib. The moment his body touches the crib and my hands let go = he cries. The moment he is in my arms, he is satisfied, and looks to nurse some more.

During the day I was living in my rocking chair, during the night, not laying in my bed for more than 20 minutes at a time between long nursing periods.

I was exhausted, my body – my body burn out.

The paediatrician suggested I limit his feeds to 20 minutes only, make sure there is an hour in between.

I timed his feeds, I would struggle getting him to unlatch, I put him in his crib.

He cries, he cries and he cries.

My chest hurts.

It reminds me of when I was in the hospital, where they brought Cesar to me for a short moment to check if he had his sucking reflex before they quickly rushed him back to the nursery to keep an eye on his blood sugar levels.

When they gave him to me, and I embraced him and brought him to my breast. There was such an intense moment of calmness, wholeness, completeness, tranquillity inside the both of us. Alas, it only lasted for a split second – as the moment he latched on, they ripped him off to take him away. As they picked him up and took him away – right after that moment that our bodies stopped touching – he open his eyes and LOOKED straight at me, into me. His body, his eyes – everything was saying NO! – WHY?

I listened as I hear his screams fade as they take him away.

My chest hurts like all hell.

 

Anyway – back to the main story.

Suffice to say that the scheduled feeding did not last for very long.

Each time we’d follow the schedule – we’d wait 15 minutes: he’s still screaming his heart out.

30 minutes: he is still screaming his heart out.

45 minutes: he is still screaming his heart out.

1 hour: he is still screaming his heart out.

Now he gets his next feed.

We thought, well maybe it’s just these few times, we have to keep trying.

He would do it over, and over and over again.

Sure – he wasn’t feeding all the time, but I wasn’t getting any rest exactly either. My chest, my body would hurt so much hearing him want physical contact, closeness, nourishment.

I said fuck it – this scheduling is not working for me.

The tiredness, the physical exhaustion and pain – they were going to be there, there’s no point for him to suffer needlessly.

(The first three weeks, nursing was also incredibly painful, like no pain I ever experienced before. My nipples were completely destroyed, bleeding, crusty – then regenerated themselves being more pliable and soft at which point the nursing became painless – this pain factor also played a big role in trying to make the ‘scheduled feeding’ work).

So now I was back to nursing him pretty much 24/7.

Sleep was still an issue. He slept terrible in his cot. He only ever slept peacefully in my arms. I started reading up on co sleeping in the books I had. The issue was very controversial – constantly pressing on the danger of killing your child in your sleep. I looked only – again, most articles geared towards scaring death into you.

I found some material of mothers cosleeping. They did not experience any of the issues all those articles by professionals put forward. But how can I trust them? The scary, professional input seems so much more credible. But it wasn’t working, we weren’t getting any sleep.

So little by little, I would start nursing him in the bed at night and leave him to sleep with me. I made a firm decision within myself – to not move or do ANYTHING while sleeping. If I move, I must be awake. If he moves, I wake. If Gian moves, I wake.

Slowly but surely, the frequencies increased, slowly but surely, he was now always nursing and sleeping with us.

My God

What a relief.

How different things would have been if we had done this from the beginning.

In the womb, his needs were being met instantly, continuously without cessation. How could I expect him to behave any differently once outside of it? This was all he’d ever known.

Even now – when he is 2 years old – there is no ‘thought process’ involved in between his need and the expression of this need.

There is a need I experience inside my body – I express this need.

As a baby, he was utterly, frail and dependent. His only connection to life, the only thing keeping him alive, was the breast and warmth. This was his lifeline. When he has a need to nurse, he feels it, he experiences it in his body and he expresses it – who am I to say: No, you can’t have access to your life-line right now. That’s what happened that moment in the hospital. He had a need, he needed his connection to life – represented by the breast and the milk that flows from it. Milk freely produced by the body, milk which is always available, a breast which never runs empty.
And instead, he was taken away. And that’s when he looked at me with BIG EYES – eyes asking a question: WHY?

When we come into this world, our parents are our guides. Our parents are our examples from who we learn about the world around his and from whom we learn how to navigate in this world.
You trust they know best, they brought you into this world, you are a part of them.

So when we as a parent – advertently or inadvertently say NO to a child, say that ‘they cannot have access to Life’ – what does a child do with that information? Well the parents know best, there must be a reason why I am not deserving of life, there must be something wrong with me… And that is how we are all Born in Sin.

While nursing young Cesar, I was still busy studying economics. The resemblances and similarities in how we have set up and structured the world and how we set ourselves up and structured our approach to our children = it was flabbergasting.

We have a system where Money is one’s lifeline, one’s access to life. Yet – we do not give it unconditionally. The Earth, the Universe – everything is perfectly in place to provide abundance to all. Yet we withhold, yet we place conditions. Now we live in a world where everyone believes they are inherently dysfunctional. That it is normal to have to ‘fight for life’ – just as a baby kept screaming and crying for food and physical contact eventually gives up and gives in within the acceptance that struggle is an inherent part of life. Our inherent sin and dysfunction driving our every decision, our every move we make in life in a futile attempt to ‘redeem’ ourselves.

We believe it is normal to fight through another day, to demean ourselves and degrade ourselves just to get a job and have little bit of money to get by.

It is the Way of Heaven to diminish superabundance, and to
supplement deficiency. It is not so with the way of man. He takes
away from those who have not enough to add to his own superabundance.

Who can take his own superabundance and therewith serve all under
heaven? Only he who is in possession of the Tao! “ Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching

To change the world, we have to start with ourselves. To recognize the Life Force within us, to recognize that Life is all around us and that we all Equally deserve access to Life.
It starts with a baby, soft, frail, weak – utterly dependent on its parents for its Life connection, and making sure that this connection is met and fulfilled. To be available to your child, always – as a statement that Life is available to you, through me. You are welcome and deserving, you are whole and complete.

Bugs, bugs, bugs!

toddler bug leilazamoramoreno

With heat and rain come bugs, and so comes Cesar’s newest obsession. At first he would only look at them and if he would touch them it was almost always to squish them. It’s not that he per se wanted to squish them but didn’t really know how to go about picking up such tiny creatures. Last few days we’ve had lots of practice gently moving our fingers to bugs so they can mount on and crawl on us. This didn’t always go ‘fast enough’ for Cesar where he would end up rushing and shoving them instead of just gently moving his finger. Then we started practicing letting the bugs crawl on a medium instead of our hands/fingers likes sticks, blade of grass or piece of hay/straw. This worked out much better for Cesar as he could get his desired result quicker. Picking them up has been a challenge. Two nights we caught some flying ants who were swarming into the light, so the little chick and duckling could have some extra protein for themselves. He was very reluctant picking them up and catching them with their wings flapping quickly, and their legs moving quickly – the slightest touch being very ticklish and not really knowing what to do with the experience or the bug. In the meantime he has gotten better at picking them. This bug he gently picked up between index and thumb to not touch his legs. Eventually one of the legs scratched him which he didn’t like so he put him on a sock to observe him better upclose. He now loves running around and finding bugs in great astonishment, grabbing the closest person and dragging them to his discovery. Within this I’ve been facing my own share of bug fears so @gianrobberts needs to step in from time to time to give both Cesar AND myself direction on how to work with a particular bug. I enjoy seeing @gianrobberts expression at work with animals and bugs, they are as comfortable strolling around on him as they would on a tree. Still have a lot to learn from him on how to physically ground myself and stand equal to nature instead of fearing it.

#bugs #critters #insects #nature #beetle #toddler #explore #learn #discover #naturallearningability #parenting #mother #beingachildagain #fear