Breaking through Walls of Perception

toddler wooden block recycle parenting

I’ve been walking by a tub of wood cut offs from various projects in the shed for a while now. Each time glancing and wondering if there’s anything we’d be able to use it for with Cesar. The last few days Cesar has been playing a lot with his plastic animals, where they do all kinds of things in a little lego house we have. Seeing the blocks again, I figured it would be nice if we had a more expansive house available for him it to play with the animals. Most of the blocks had the same width or height since we use the same type of wood for most projects, which made them nice candidates to stack and create little structures with.

Here we made a little structure with steps and ‘bridges’ that the animals travel over. Cesar’s giving Wildebeest and Zebra a tour.

I often wonder if Cesar is getting enough ‘stimulation’, if he’s happy with the activities and things available for him to play with and explore. But perhaps that’s just because I am still looking at everything from my own point of view, what I find interesting and fascinating as an adult. Where I often have to push myself and breathe through resistance in playing with him, because what we’re doing doesn’t fall under my category of ‘fun’. Accumulate those moments where I’m the one not having fun and not directing the experience, and soon enough I think he must not be having fun.

It’s in those every day, ordinary moments I realise how much I still need to work on myself, how far I have removed myself from my own innocence as life, how much of my adultism I still need to deconstruct.

#toddler #playing #woodblocks #experiment #parenting #isitevergoodenough #motherhood #worries #concerns #farmlife #unschooling #consciousparenting #continuumconcept #adultism

Do you Enjoy Motherhood?

Somewhere, in the first two years of Cesar’s life (and my new life as a mother) – I had a dream where Bernard visited me.

While he was there, from the get go I had placed myself in an experience of dissatisfaction, where my whole body language was clearly conveying that ‘I wasn’t enjoying myself’. Then suddenly he asked ‘So Leila, how are you enjoying motherhood?’

I was with my body turned away from him, making a pouty mouth – ready to make a complaining comment. But – there was something about Bernard asking you a question, which made the truth of you ring just a bit clearer for you to not be able to deny it.

As I wanted to open my mouth and speak – my whole demeanour dropped and softened. And I looked at him and said: I’m enjoying it. And he responded with that big grin smile of his.

And that was it.

What stood out for me in this dream, is how I have the tendency to want to complain, pity myself and seek ‘empathy’ from others – while if I look at my actual experience of myself: I am fine – and I am not just fine, but I am actually enjoying myself. This especially so for things that are challenging and trying – which the first two years of walking with Cesar definitely was.

Where, it’s almost as if just because things are hard and challenging, that I have the right to, and deserve to complain. That I should complain. That it’s expected of me to complain.

And the funny thing is – is that when I keep reacting this way, and keep playing out this pattern, then soon enough – the burden becomes real. It’s no longer just something I am playing out, pretending to be – I become it.

For myself, it was quite something to acknowledge, accept and embrace what I enjoy. That I, ‘out of all people’ was the one to have a child. That I, ‘out of all people’ really enjoyed walking with a child.

To stop fighting myself, where instead of keeping up with the idea of myself, to simply embrace and acknowledge that I do enjoy this. That if this experience is here and it is real – well, then it must be me! Lol.

Fire Season

firebreaks toddler fire season parenting leilazamoramoreno

Cesar decided to hitchhike along in the Bakkie while many were busy doing firebreaks in what we dub “the big field”. Every year during winter time which is our dry, and so also our fire season – we burn the edges of the farm in the case of fire breakouts, so that the fires can’t travel from field to field, farm to farm – which can happen quick when it’s dry and windy. The whole process took a bit more than two hours, which we observed mostly from inside the bakkie, watching what everyone is doing, explaining what each person’s role is. Oh, and fitting on sunglasses he found in the bakkie, insisting that ‘upside down’ is really the right way one should wear sunglasses.

#toddler #farmlife #farmliving #southafrica #firebreaks #winter #fireseason #unschooling #livingislearning #parenting #motherhood

The Unknown Possibilities

toddler deck south africa tools boys parenting leilazamoramoreno

Cesar enjoys being around when Gian is working on the little viewing/picnick deck that’s in the process of creation. He’ll try and put nails into the slats, or find a rock to imitate the work being done on the structure. Cesar enjoys putting things together, seeing what he can create from different elements, seeing how they can fit together. In a way, the structure being built is of a similar nature, and when you hear the men on the farm discuss these type of projects, can see that childlike expression bubble up as they discuss and explore the possibilities and take pride in the progression and creation of whatever they are working on. In those moments where Cesar is intently focused on putting something together and seeing those moments where Gian is intently focused on a project, can see that this drive to create, to explore, to expand is naturally inherent in us all. Exploring the yet unknown “possibilities”. It would be great to have this natural drive nurtured and fostered, instead of beaten out of us in the quest to survive and comply to some narrow and limited view of “how things are done”. How things have been done and are done = we have the result before us today, a bleak picture. Let’s explore the possibilities!

#toddler #building #creating #farmlife #farmliving #parenting #Toddlerhood #motherhood #fatherhood #possibilities #drive #curiosity #unschooling #couragetolive #teamlife #equality

Parenting through Thick and Thin

toddler tantrum crying parenting terrible twos leilazamoramoreno

Toddler and motherhood is not always sunshine and butterflies (although yes, the sun still shines when all hell breaks loose, as in this case on the trampoline). Whenever a tantrum happens, we always check ourselves as parents first – did we do or say anything where we did not consider him fully which may have thrown him off balance? If we did, we apologise, ask him to forgive us, explain what happened and how we will do things differently in the future.

Other times he throws himself off balance.

In this moment, he got really upset when I started going around the trampoline in a different direction . He often goes into a controlling state when he is in an experience he doesn’t like and/or understands. Where instead of focusing on his internal reality and grounding himself, he gets obsessive in arranging things in his environment to be a certain way – whether it’s objects, animals or people. If he doesn’t get the desired result he explodes. If he does he get the result, he goes unto controlling the next thing, and the next – until he still inevitably collapses as he realises that re-arranging his external reality doesn’t re-areange his internal reality. When he goes into this, we take him to a quite space, remove distractions, relax and sit down. Saying is name in a low, grounded voice. Guiding him to calm down and let go of his experience. Showing him that through fixating, we only hurt ourselves more, as anything but our way then becomes ‘wrong’ – instead of moving, embracing and flowing WITH life, rather than resisting and being against the currents life takes us. As he goes on and expels all his excess energy, he starts grounding himself. Once he has centered himself we move on with our activities and embrace the new moment.
Toddlerhood is definitely not easy as he is able to explore, interact and do more – yet is still lacking vocabulary in so many ways causing frustrations. Imagine having so many questions about yourself and the world around you, yet having no way of asking them.

#toddlerhood #terribletwos #parenting #tantrums #cries #control #frustration #development #motherhood #consciousparenting #zen #candidchildhood #gowiththeflow #embrace

 

Together yet Alone

selfie movies cinema parenting mother leilazamoramoreno

This is me at the movies for the first time in about three years, Gian’s treat. Becoming a mother definitely turned my life upside down, Gian’s assisting in reminding me to not take motherhood too serious, to remind myself that it’s okay to relax and let go. With babies/young toddlers who require a lot of care and attention – you are initially forced to give up much of your individual self, and stand as a humble servant to another. But as time goes by and they grow up and develop their independence, so can you grow in your individuality once more.

#motherhood #relax #movies #cinema #parentingjourney #babies #toddlers

The Only Constant is Change

toddler sleeping parenting change

Cesar started skipping naps the last few days, being up from early morning and going to sleep early evening. He’s becoming less and less baby, more and more a boy.

When he was a small baby, it took a great deal to let go of myself to be able stand absolutely in meeting all his needs, which were many and frequent.
Now that he is growing up and moving to independence, I have to once more let go of the role I took on and adjust to a different set of needs.

The moment you settle in a particular routine/way of interacting with one another – new developments take place and you have to recalibrate your approach all over again.

As much as you raise a child, you constantly erase and raise yourself along.

#toddler #baby #parenting #motherhood #journey #sleeping

The Scariest Part of Parenting

baby bed parenting leilazamoramoreno

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?

Myself

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.

Fortune flows from Misfortune

bath toddler play leilazamoramoreno

Cesar taking a bath past 23.00, is not an unusual sight in our house. His sleeping pattern is still erratic, and from our experience – interrupting or intervening in his sleeping would only make things even more unpredictable, and he’d become very shifty in his behaviour. It’s not always easy to go with his flow, especially when there’s a sudden change and we haven’t been able to ‘prep’ ourselves for it (read: not having had enough sleep to match his upcoming sleeping pattern). What I found very valuable in such situations is to not get caught up in the misfortune of the situation, but to instead find creative ways of passing the time that is both enjoyable for me and him. Here for instance, I was already out of the bath but was bathing with him before, where we added Epsom salts and essential oils to enjoy a good nice soak. We still have a few hours to go tonight – it’s a challenge as most people and animals have gone to sleep and so we must make the most of our room for the coming hours. It’s in these unfortunate moments and situations that you find little gems, moments of inspiration and creativity, to make the best of every moment despite of the odds.

#parenting #toddler #baby #bath #sleepingpattern #nighttime #creativity #inspiration #makethebest #focusonsolutions #motherhood #beattheodds

 

What you Believe is what you Get | Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

Source: Pixabay

Source: Pixabay

In my previous blog I laid out how many of us have come to accept conflict, strife and struggle as the ‘natural way of being’; the norm of our everyday experience. Since we have been holding on to this belief steadfastly for longest time throughout history, we’ve created a world which reflects our belief of ‘what reality is’ and ‘how reality operates’. This places us in an unfortunate feedback loop, as we inside ourselves believe that ‘life is struggle’ – then with our own eyes and ears observe the world around living in struggle and conflict – using this observation as evidence that = yes, indeed, my belief is accurate = living is constant struggle and conflict; and so there’s no point to further question this premise. Because we create what we hold as truth, it’s hard to even conceptualize and imagine ourselves living in harmony and having an external environment which is harmonious.

What we forget to consider is how our beliefs and all those things we consider to be ‘facts’ and ‘truths’ shape our behaviour, perception and actions to fit and match the belief we hold as truth or fact, and so how we are the ones ‘making it so’.

Let’s take for example the belief that ‘children need to civilised’. With civilised meaning ‘being cooperative and acting according to social standards’.

You hold this to be a truth, a fact of life. Now one day, you visit family with your young baby/toddler who’s recently learnt how to walk and has acquired some very basic motor skills. While you’re catching up and drinking coffee, your little one strolls around and seems to be captivated by all the plants and flowers in pots. Your little one grabs a flower and pulls it off. Then takes another one and pulls it off. It takes you a few moments to realise what your child is up to, that when you look at your child there’s already a bunch of leaves and flowers on the floor and your child is just picking away. A surge of energy runs through your body and you shout out ‘Bad Lily!’ (Or whatever your child’s name might be). ‘Stop it!’ and you grab the baby away who in the meantime has a look of petrification and confusion on its face as she’s still trying to figure out what just happened and why she’s so bad. You put her in a corner and tell her to ‘stay there’ to teach her lesson. Picking flowers and leaves is bad, you are killing the plant and you are destroying our host’s decoration. Bad, bad bad!
You go sit down sighing, thinking why your child is always doing these inappropriate things, like she’s out to get you and never give you an easy time. You think about how it’s just going to take more time to discipline her and have her learn her place and that this won’t go on forever.

Within this example, the parent had already made up its mind that children are inherently naughty and a disturbance, requiring to go through a training or disciplining process to have them ‘behave correctly’.

When my little one started pulling off flowers and leaves for the first time, I also got a fright. I immediately assumed I had to stop and intervene, that this was ‘bad’. I noticed the surge of energy inside myself, and instead decided to take a deep breath and really look at the situation. He kept pulling off flowers, and then he would pick them up and try to ‘put them back’. Yet they’d just dwindle down to the ground. He tried a few more times and went ‘Oh’.
He didn’t go to the plants and flowers with the intention inside himself of ‘I am going to kill this plant and destroy this pretty garden gna gna gna’. He just kind of looked at the plants, the flowers, got curious about what they’re all about. Without knowing why he started picking at the flowers, checking what happens. He tries to put them back. Hmm, they fall back off. That’s interesting. So once they are off, they’re off.

He was going through a genuine learning experience, figuring out how things work. What happens if I do this? What happens if I do that?

So I joined him and I talked to him about the plants and how if you pick a flower, the flower cannot be put back. How the flower will not have access to water from the plant and its root system and eventually wilt and die. Now he learnt something about plants.

If we go back to the example of shunning and reprimanding your child, where you assume they are being bad because you’ve already decided that they are inherently bad and act on negative impulses – then you end up with a child in the corner who looks like they are bad. You end up with what you believed about the child because your perceptions and actions were guided by the belief which you held as ‘fact’ and ‘truth’. Was the child really bad? No, they were just exploring. They did not intend to ruin your day or upset you, that’ something you did. You decided to react and believe that all these ‘bad and terrible things’ are happening to you. The child didn’t intend to kill the plant or destroy household decoration. They don’t even have a concept of what that means or entails.

If this is a repetitive behaviour on the parent’s side, the child will learn that it is not safe to explore and be curious in the presence of the parents, and start doing things in secret in hiding. It will start doing and playing with things when you’re not around and where you are unable to guide them or prevent harm because they believe there is no other way that they can express their curiosity without your intervention and reprimanding. Now you find your child has been breaking things after the fact. Oh my god, I have such a bad child. Not seeing and realising that we pushed the child in that position where we are not guiding them through learning experiences to come to a point of understanding, but merely wanting them to behave ‘good’ without explaining or substantiating what that actually means.

This type of disharmonious behaviour becomes the result and consequence of holding to beliefs which are disharmonious to the true nature of reality, as the utmost potential of what Life on Earth can be.

I know finished my previous blog stating I would go further into why emotional conflict and turmoil exists, though for this blog I found it necessary to illustrate how what we believe and hold as ‘truth’ and ‘fact’ does not have to be in fact so, so that we can learn to be open to alternative possibilities and that our experience of how ‘the way things are’ doesn’t have to be an unchangeable reality, but is something that we create in every moment of our day to day living.

See you in the next blog!