Living naturally, most of the time.

Special Needs Mommy

You know that kid who’s always a handful at a playdate? The one who needs an extra eye at a birthday party? The one who can’t handle surprises, or who needs lots of support through transitions? The one who can’t tolerate the smell at the farm field trip no matter how many times the teacher assures that it just takes some getting used to. The one who hasn’t been through Child Find or gotten an IEP but about whom everybody would agree that there are some special needs? That child is me. I am that high maintenance mommy. You might argue that I’ve been an adult for over 20 years and that I ought to have really grown out of this by now. On the contrary, I grew into it until I was nearly 31 and started making diet and lifestyle changes. It’s only been 10 years since then, and there is still a lot to undo. As I’ve been reminded lately, I can be feeling calm and centered one day, but things quickly get ugly things when I run out of two or more ingredients in the complicated cocktail that is my prescription for balanced living. My liver is so tired I can’t turn to any of the short-term fixes other people might, including sugar, caffeine, chocolate or alcohol, much less antidepressants. I’m sure that pills saved my life in the past, but they are just not an option for a body that can’t tolerate eating anything out of a box without consequence or walking into a public bathroom when it’s being cleaned or hugging a friend who wears perfume. So instead of heading to the pharmacy every month, this is what I need on a regular basis to stay stable: a super clean diet almost exclusively homemade (free of gluten, dairy, soy, corn, and sugar for sure. The jury is still out about grains, greens high in oxalic acid, occasional fruit, nuts, and eggs) uninterrupted sleep, starting before 10 p.m. time before my kids get up to do yoga and/or exercise at least a little time alone to write, work, process and clean a house whose clutter is at least off to the side a routine that has some level of consistency an environment free of mold, synthetic perfumes and chemicals some kind of thought-provoking and/or soul uplifting input like music, NPR, or quality film or TV meaningful interactions with other people and a sense of contribution some kind of supportive health modality each week or two time to...

Parenting in the land of compromise

Welcome to the June 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting:   Parenting in Theory vs. in Reality This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants are sharing how their ideas and methods of parenting have changed. *** The surprises in my shortcomings as a parent were not immediately apparent. It’s been more of a discovery since my son emerged from a docile toddlerhood into more challenging Threes, he got a sister at four, and my health went downhill. I had read and learned so much from parenting classes when he was young, and I’d gotten so much more knowledgeable about healthy eating, it was as though I could taste the promised land. But then it all got harder. Ignorance can be bliss, and my overly-informed self was wallowing. I knew what I was missing. I knew what they were missing. Today, he is seven, and my daughter is closing in on three. I realize I had no idea what it was to raise a toddler the first time. She brings me more challenges and exasperations on a daily basis than her brother did in weeks’ time. Before she was born, I had some concerns about my ability to slow down and be present. But I had no idea to what extent that would become a physical necessity. I mistakenly thought that after a relatively quick and easy homebirth, I would bounce back faster than from the c-section I had with my son. Indeed, my milk came rushing in, but my energy also went rushing out. I stayed busy with volunteering at my son’s Waldorf school and with Holistic Moms instead of sleeping all the time like I did after my son’s birth. I needed to sleep. I wanted to be active, but my body — four years older and grappling with what I didn’t quite realize was IBS — could not rebound. It’s now nearly three years later, and I feel like I’ve been swimming through jello most of the time. I’ve undertaken a number of healing modalities and have had improvement from a lot of them, but inevitably I try to do too much and regress. I recently got confirmation from a saliva test that I’m close to adrenal fatigue. New supplements are helping some, but I continue to wonder just what I am up for. If I don’t write and participate in my community, I don’t feel whole. And yet, I...

It’s the most ___ time of the year

Routine Whenever I worry that my middle name is inconsistency, that erratic behavior disrupts my chances at bliss and my children’s balance, stepping outside reminds me that the leaves turn only once each year. And not for 30 minutes every morning. Then they fall and a new generation, long waiting in promise before gingerly pushing forth, barely comes into its own until sighing toward what appears from the outside a glorious end. Each day sits down the dial from the next, a new opportunity, never something already lost. While my husband has been out at a performance tonight, I’ve been going through two jam-packed drawers of business cards and whatever else needed a home away from children. I hoped it would go faster and that I’d move on to plans and emails toward the future. Or at least to the dishes in the sink. But it was a true jumble, now spread all over the floor. I’m fading quickly and must write before my prince returns, to our home of the puckered pumpkins. As I contemplated going to bed before 10 like my doctors say I ought or doing one more load of laundry and writing the daily poem, I could think of nothing to write. So I called upon the photos of leaves I took this evening, and “Routine” is what arrived. ——— How do others negotiate consistency versus ebbs and flows? ———- After casting aside my poetry hat for far too long, my NaBloPoMo plan is to write a poem — and to take and post a photo — every day in November, spending less than half an hour on both. The hope is to drill down, to focus, to look for and create beauty. Previous Posts: Day 1: Eleven One Day 2: Shoreline Day 3: Damage Day 4: On Parenting and Sunrises Day 5: When will we? Day 6: Voting Line Day 7: What I want my children to learn from me Day 8: Haiku Day 9: Reminders Whenever I worry that my middle name is inconsistency that erratic behavior disrupts my chances at bliss and my children’s balance, stepping outside reminds me that the leaves turn only once each year and not for 30 minutes every morning then they fall and a new generation, long waiting in promise before gingerly pushing forth, barely comes into its own until sighing toward an end. Each day is down the dial from the next, a new opportunity, never something already lost. Bookmark on DeliciousDigg this postRecommend on Facebookshare...

Confessions of a mostly natural parent

Welcome to the second edition of the “I’m a Natural Parent – BUT…” Carnival This post was written for inclusion in the carnival hosted by The Artful Mama and our feminist {play}school. During this carnival our participants have focused on how mainstream society has affected their natural parenting and how they have come to peace with this. *** Although I feel good about many of the choices I make, there are things I want my kids to do, practice, and believe that I’m simply not modeling for them. Things I want my kids to have include: An internal sense of rhythm, a sense of peace and openness in their hearts, an appreciation for beauty and magic, a deep connection to nature, healthy bodies, intrinsic motivation to make healthy & positive choices, and a “default setting” of joyful and happy with an ability to touch places of sadness and anger lightly, without settling there. Things I do (usually but not always with the help of my husband) that help cultivate the above include: Providing fairly consistent meal experiences (even if I don’t always join the kids in eating); usually healthy food, including some bone broth every day and never any visits to fast food joints or anything with artificial colors or dyes or HFCS; inhabiting a home that opens to the woods and a garden (in the old place, and next year in the new); getting myself help when I am not well; and keeping a cheery tone and an assumption of positive intent most of the time But, the many things I do that run in direct opposition to the above include: Forgetting to breathe; not exercising, or cultivating a yoga or meditation practice; going to bed too late;  letting my two-year-old daughter eat almost an entire bag of dried mango and half a bag of lentil chips because it kept her quiet and occupied (and there a lot more stories like that!); bribing my six-year-old son with half of a gluten-free Oreo if he is cooperative and doesn’t do x, y, and z; letting my son (and thus also his toddler sister) watch TV instead of finding a fun way to have him help me make dinner because I need to make phone calls or reply to emails in between stirring pots and want him out of the way; not getting out to hike hardly ever and never once to camp. And that’s just the start of it! Some of this is circumstantial: we’ve been renovating a house,...

Kids in the kitchen (better late than never!)

I did not get a post written in time to participate in the November Blog Carnival of Natural Parenting in part because I feel like I no longer do such a great job at getting “kids in the kitchen,” this month’s theme. We were great at it when my son was two and three, and now — at age 5.5 and tired after a long day at public kindergarten — he doesn’t feel like helping out as much. It’s all I can do to keep the baby out of harm’s way and get a meal (all from scratch, by necessity!) made before dark. But then the boy decided he wanted to make a concoction in the Vita-Mix the other day. He whipped up kale, red pepper, salt, basil, olive oil and water. I was skeptical but figured we could try this raw “soup.” Color me surprised that it was delicious! We used it like a dip or sauce, and my son happily gobbled up the salmon and veggies he poured it on. He’s never been a fan of pesto (unlike his baby sister), but he loved this, sans garlic. I am still not clear on how much raw kale I should have with my thyroid disorder, but it sure tasted fresh. I added some to my raw juice the next morning and felt the chlorophyll boost! He had a great time while I worked on other dinner prep, we enjoyed something new and healthful, and I got out of my comfort zone. Couldn’t have planned it, can’t count on when it will happen again, but what a delight! Oh, and now I know that sorting lettuce will keep his sister occupied for a good long time. Especially if it goes on the floor and we start the rinse & spin cycle all over. I wasn’t part of the carnival, but here is some link love for the participants! Baking & letting go — Cooking with kids can be a mess. Nadia at Red White & GREEN Mom is learning to relax, be patient, and have fun with the process. Family feeding in Child of Mine — Lauren at Hobo Mama reviews Ellyn Satter’s suggestions for appropriate feeding and points out where her family has problems following through. Children with Knives! (And other Kitchen Tools) — Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy teaches her children how to safely use knives. “Mommy, Can I Help?” — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment writes about how she lets her kiddos...

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