Our dog walk this morning took a bit of a rocky start as Cesar was getting a bit emotional when the dogs wanted to go faster to stay with the pack but Cesar couldn’t keep up. He calmed himself down and we finished the rest of the walk at his pace, spotting birds, talking to trees and giving them random hugs.
When I was pregnant, I was very worried about what was ahead of me. About how I was going to be responsible for this child, how I would influence him. Little did I know, that I wasn’t so much influencing and changing him, as he was changing and influencing me for the most part. This reminded me again of the importance of words and definitions, wherein my definition of ‘being a mother’ constituted an aspect of ‘monologue’ where I assumed it was about me ‘instructing’ and ‘educating’ my child, instead of realising that it’s a two way dialogue and that he ended up having to teach me more than I did to him!
On Social Media we constantly get bombarded with articles, quotes and images of ‘what it means to parent’, where the baseline mostly comes down to “children ruined my life but it’s the best thing ever that happened to me”. That last bit being a single sentence in a page long rant on how awful it is to be a parent. The other day I came across one such article something like “15 quotes which sum up parenting”. Each quote would point out something awful but then give it a quirky twist that makes it all ‘alright again’. Many of these “awful points” revolve around how we treat our children and the lifestyle we impose on them. Think ‘going to sleep at x time’, ‘having to eat what we feed you’, ‘not taking children serious when they throw a tantrum’, etc. When we follow and enforce a particular parenting lifestyle that over and over and over again brings us to a point of conflict – not only for ourselves, but our children too – shouldn’t we stop for a moment and question what we are doing? Shouldn’t we for a moment stop and check of there’s an alternative? If parenting is a life ruining mission, then something’s wrong. Whenever I find myself in a position of wanting to “fight” my toddler, I know I am looking at the situation from a skewed perspective – and need to consider all the angles available to me. Doesn’t mean that parenting isn’t tough – it takes a lot to dedicate yourself to the life of another person who is much less capable than you. But when it sucks all way around and the only consolation is that it sucks for others as well — we really need to have a look at what we are doing.
Today Cesar and I went and gave some of the trees a ‘poo blanket’. We each
had a bucket and he insisted on wearing one of my (way too big for him)
gloves. We’d fill up our buckets by the carport, by hand or with some of his
beach toys – carry them to the orchard and spread the poo around the base of
the fruit trees. When it rains, the fertilizing properties of the horse poo
compost will trickle down into the earth to provide the fruit trees with the
nutritional elements they need this summer while they grow. Over the
compost, we will also place a layer of mulch from old stable bedding hay,
which again provides extra nutrition when it rains and will assist with
keeping the earth moist by the tree, as not as much water will be able to
evaporate on the hot days. The mulching also helps with keeping weeds at
bay. Cesar enjoyed every step of the process, but unfortunately it was a
very hot day and we only got two trees done before he insisted we stop and
seek out the shade. We’ll be doing this little activity every day, as I’m
always looking for new ways for Cesar to learn, explore and discover, to
contribute to farm activities and use up his abundant toddler energy.
#trees #fruittrees @DesteniFarm #figtree #mulching #summer #rainseason
#compost #horsepoo #fertilization #toddler #toddleractivities #farmlife
#motherhood #parenting #parenthood #mother #orchard #nature #motherearth
With Cesar having lots of energy and eager to learn and explore – we must constantly push ourselves to be creative and create new things for Cesar to give him something to focus on and investigate. Our first tent was us simply sitting on our bed with my head creating a little tent space, but this quickly became too small. We have some plans to build Cesar an actual tent in the room, but we still need to get some more materials. Now we created an interim tent, with his old cot, which we made into a little couch as the base and an old sheet and some sticks to keep it up. So far Cesar is enjoying his little space!
#toddler #parenting #creative #creativity #explore #tent #play #hideout #mother #motherhood #parenthood
Cesar asked Gian this morning to put up the boxing bag.
We had to add some rope so the bag could hang a bit lower so Cesar could have a better reach. Cesar enjoys punching and pushing the bag at different intensities and then quickly runs and giggles away as the bag comes swinging back to get him.
Sometimes he’s too slow, sometimes he’s focusing on our facial responses to him – checking if we’re as excited as he is about what he’s doing, that he forgets to keep his focus on the bag which then bashes into him and sweeps him off his feet… Babies and toddlers love to learn, and here Cesar is learning all about the world of physics. He’s not just “punching a bag”, but playing with how hard he can push it, how hard will it swing? Can he get away fast enough? What if he pushes again as the bag is swinging back and forth? And of course he learns about his mind and physical consequence: What happens when I am too busy trying to get a positive reaction and am no longer aware of my physical environment? KABOOOM!!!
Living on a farm with lots of animals is a wonderful experience for a toddler. The idea of having lots of animals and pets around is a very ‘nice’ one – but we often forget or miss the reality of added responsibility, awareness and diligence. Especially in the beginning, every interaction with animals must be guided and many mistakes will be made, as babies and toddlers like to test their boundaries and various types of ’cause and effect’. One bad memory can easily shape and define a relationship, both for toddler and animal – so we always make sure that interactions remain supportive, and if something does happen, we immediately create the space for Cesar and/or the animal to correct themselves. Both Cesar and the animals can have moments of slipping into reaction, but it is also cool to see how Forgiving they can be with one another and make up with pets and cuddles.
#farmlife @destenifarm #toddler #baby #pets #animals #dogs #horses #coexistence #nature #harmony #challenges #forgiveness #parenting #motherhood #parenthood #mother #childhood #positiveparenting
Here Cesar is attending to another one of his response-abilities that he has made his own. Every day as we walk past or go into the main house, Cesar makes a point of it to spot the dogbowls on the floor from the dogs their last feed. He picks them up and puts them on the dogfeeding table, readily available for the next feed. This reminded me of Bernard saying how one must be careful about seeing something which needs to be done, where we see/perceive it as ‘work’ or ‘not my task’ / ‘not my responsibility’ and so will leave a point undirected, even when it is in our ability to respond and direct it. As long as we keep to doing the bare minimum, that which we think is ‘ours to do’, we will never move reality past what it is today.
I’ve found that when I resist doing simple physical actions which require my attention, i am stuck in some form of ambition rooted in self-interest. “I need to do more important things, I have no time for this”. Within this trying to achieve or reconfirm some idea or personality of myself. It’s cool to see how children have no concept of ‘work’ , they only see individual actions or tasks at hand. They don’t mind helping with laundry, picking up a broom and sweeping for an hour, even though the entire room just got swept. They are not wondering about “the more important things they could be doing instead”. We are here, day in and day out, breath in and breath out – what is there to achieve?
Here Gian and Cesar are going over some of the words we’ve put around the house for Cesar’s enjoyment. We started teaching – well not so much teaching as just showing – Cesar how to read less than 2 months ago. He can read most of the words he can speak, and some words he knows and can read but is still working on how to speak them. The learning process has been very easy. This is quite contrary to most people’s experience, as we only get taught how to reach much later and in a way that goes against our own natural learning ability. With Cesar, we showed him many words repeatedly, speaking them, acting them out, showing them in the physical world and showing picture representations. Initially, all he picks up on and registers is the general shape or symbol of the word. Once he got past a certain amount of words that he can recognize wholly, he naturally started to be able to analyze and recognize patterns in the words such as individual letters – and started reading words he had not seen before, but was able to read and speak them because he now had created a nice reference framework for himself from all the words he had learned as a whole.
In school we do the opposite, where we are first taught the alphabet and individual letters and then paste these together to form/read a word. This makes it much harder to learn/read words and causes us to read slowly, having to take in each individual letter. When we imprint whole words, we can read words and sentences much faster, allowing us to process information much more efficiently.
#toddler #baby #reading #learning #naturallearningability #NLA #parenting #motherhood #parenthood #fatherhood #positiveparenting #everyoneisbornagenius #innateintelligence #words #yourbabycanread #babydevelopment
I didn’t start off sleeping with Cesar from the get go. I had no knowledge whatsoever of babies and parenting, that I put a lot of trust in books and what the “experts” tell us to do.
Sleeping apart was just not working for us. He would wake up soooo often during the night and noticed that when I eventually would just fall asleep in the rocking chair with him, that we’d both sleep much better. After hitting rock bottom with the endless getting in and out of bed at night and getting no sleep whatsoever – I decided to give co-sleeping a shot.
Omg, if only I had done this from day one. We were finally getting some rest and it was so nice to fall asleep cuddled up together. I simply made the decision to not make any movement in my sleep without me being awake and aware of what I am doing, to ensure Cesar’s safety, and that’s exactly how we are still doing it to this day.
I’ve found that a lot of the #expertadvise is so rooted in the framework of mommy and daddy having to go to work everyday, where separation between parent and child is inevitable that it is already recommended from the get go. Giving the baby his own room, timing feeds, sleep training babies by letting them cry it out – doing the bare minimum so mom and dad can remain functional in their jobs and keep the money coming in. It is heartbreaking to see how much we’ve molded and conditioned parenting around the sole purpose of keeping the money-chasing game going. Where we have no choice but to follow the prescribed way of parenting and baby rearing as we are bound by money to do so. A #LivingIncomeGuaranteed can help in creating time and space for parents to #question the current #parentingparadigm and really explore the optimum ways of bringing up a child.
#parenthood #parenting #cosleeping #baby #positiveparenting #continuumconcept #LIG