Friday 17 August 2012

Rice-ish Balls

Vegan Rice-ish Balls (Rice, barley, lentil and vegetable balls, if we're getting technical!)

Dave and I made these rice-ish balls for Dave's birthday party, but this is a more awesome, modified version. Indigo liked the blended mush before it even got to rice ball stage, and fell asleep full of goodness.

Since Indigo dunked my phone, I have no camera to provide the photographic evidence of how lovely these are, or what they look like so you can imagine the taste. I implore you to make them though, because all the ingredients are cheap, healthy and vegan!

After being a vegetarian for ten years and hardly cooking at all, as a meat-eater we cook a non-meat option probably once or twice a week for dinner, or more often if we're on a tight budget.

So here is the recipe!

Brown rice 3/4 cup
Black rice (substitute wild rice) 3/4 cup
Silken firm tofu, 1 block
Red lentils, 1/2 cup
Pearl barley, 1/2 cup
1 Capsicum, chopped
1 Onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped (to taste, I love it!)
Chia seeds, 1 tablespoon
Brown sugar, 1 tablespoon
Tumeric,1 tablespoon
Paprika1 tablespoon
Cumin 1 tablespoon
Salt 1/2 tablespoon
Pepper 1/2 tablespoon
Flour, 1/2 cup
Small handful fresh coriander, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
5 spring onions, sliced
1 grated carrot
LSA (to roll balls in!)

Boil rices, lentils, and barley according to packet instructions. Reserve a third of each so the riceish balls have texture. Prepare 1 teaspoon chia seeds with 1/4 cup water and leave for ten minutes to form chia gel.

Add onions, garlic and capsicum to a pan with olive oil and 1 tablespoon brown sugar and carrot and cook until onion is translucent, add to blender.

Put the rest into a food processor with chia gel, onions, capsicum, spices, coriander, tofu, flour, tomato paste and half the spring onions into food processor and blend until smooth. Add reserved ingredients including remaining spring onions and put into the freezer for half an hour. Form into patties/balls, put in fridge until firm.

Roll in LSA mix and freeze for a couple of hours, or overnight. Don't make the balls too big - golf ball size will ensure they stay together and aren't frozen in the middle when you cook them!

Deep fry in vegetable oil (makes a tasty companion to felafels, or as a member of a party of finger-foods!). Olive oil works if you're stuck (like I was this time!) but you need to fry at a lower temperature so it doesn't end up all smoky and gross.

Enjoy! xox

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Wonky and Rambling All Over the Shop

Things have been really busy, really stressful, and not particularly conducive to blogging. I have sat and attempted to write a few times, but nothing came out.

Then I shaved my head again (Trich relapse, goddammit motherfucking arse cock FUCK), cried a lot about losing the hair I worked so hard to grow, and now I'm starting again, again. For the umpteenth time. It's so fucking hard to keep trying when I keep failing, but on I go.

It's getting too cold to go around bald-headed, so have been wearing a lot of daggy beanies, and occasionally my Bettie Page-esque wig, which has received compliments even when people know it's a wig. That makes me feel a little uncomfortable...people think I look great even if I'm bald, but then the wig looks good too? I've got to stop over-thinking things, and worrying about what other people think. People do seem to think I'm a cancer patient though, and it makes me feel sick, which I guess I am in a way, but usually I can hide it, because it's "not that big a deal" (at least, not to anyone who HAS hair).

On a positive note, I weighed myself the other day, and I'm down to 68 kilos! I started at 94, so we're getting somewhere! I can look at myself and although I'm not a hundred percent happy with my reflection, I can see that I just need a bit of sun, a bit of exercise, some delicious healthy food and a decent night's sleep. This is a very good thing! I don't mind improving myself - I WANT to look perfect, but I'm not so unhappy with the way I look that I'm impatient to diet crazily, join a gym that I won't go to, or do much other than what I've been doing for the past year to get this far.

I'm hoping that the negative things will work themselves out in time. It just sucks that any stress in my life sends me into a relapse that takes MONTHS to recover from. I feel so fragile, and I hate it. I hate that I'm not strong and capable and all the things I try to be. I am working on building a support network of lovely, positive people, and hopefully just having less negativity around me will help me to feel less anxious in the long-term, rather than straight away.

All this work, and it feels like I get no play! I play with Indigo all day, but it's hard to find time to relax without simply falling asleep. It's hard when all my favourite, cheap things to do are homey, crafty things - Indy wants my full attention, and hates when she can see me, but I won't completely engage with her. It's very frustrating, so I haven't made any crafty things in months! Dave is allowed to do things, though. Princess Indigo decrees it. Maybe it's because Dave has always insisted on having a bit of time to himself - I think he's better at self-regulation than I am. I find it hard to know my limits, and am always mentally, physically or emotionally taking on more than I can bear. I need to take a few tips from Dave, I think. Or maybe just be a better listener.

This is a really wonky post that is rambling all over the shop. I think I'll stop here.

Thursday 28 June 2012

Self-Help for Trichotillomania Update #1

My blog is three months old today! Thanks for reading!

So, for anyone who knows me, or who's been reading for a while, you might know that I have trichotillomania. It's part of a bigger, mental un-health picture, but I'm working on one thing at a time, trying to relax, take it slow. Help myself heal from whatever the hell caused me to get so messed up in the first place.

I shaved my head in Summer, a few times, to break the cycle of pulling my hair out when I'm bored/nervous/busy and just not paying enough attention/sleeping. I even kept my eyebrows plucked to perfection (with tweezers), shaved off my pubic hair, kept my legs and underarms shaved regularly - just so there was nothing for me to fiddle with. Nothing out of place. I think that my flawed perfectionism has a lot to do with my problem, so it was time to reassure myself that I had achieved perfection (of a hairless, stubbly sort. The sort that doesn't fiddle).


I have hair now. It's about 2cm long, max. But it's there.

No bald spots. No hair pulling (well, three hairs. Total. Before I couldn't even count how many I pulled out in an hour, let alone 4-5 months).

I have developed the habit of running my hands through my hair fast, repeatedly, when under stress. This seems less debilitating than hair-pulling, so I'm running with it. It felt nice on my stubbly bald head, and it feels nice now I've got a full head of hair too. I'm just trying my hardest to keep it. I don't want to be bald again. I didn't realise how desperate I was to fix this problem, because now I don't think I'd be brave enough to want to shave my head again. 

Another side-effect of not-pulling is that I've started attacking my fingernails. I've always bitten my nails, but now it's getting chronic. I basically don't have nails. So, I've started the same process with my nails as I did with my hair - make them un-biteable. I paint my nails, and cover them in glitter, so even if I was to bite them with polish on, it'd be like chewing sand. 


Ok, I back-slid because I am a mum, and finding the time to paint my nails, let alone this laborious process involving glitter, takes a lot of time. And because I'm looking for a job, and tiny, glittery finger-stubs are a bit offputting in a job interview (even if they look much prettier to me, because I am used to my deformed fingers). At least I can keep my hands from drawing too much attention if I leave them bare, but it makes it EXTREMELY hard not to bite them.

I'm just hoping I find a job where they don't mind me painting my nails, even if my hands are mangled, or that I get a job that involves me using my hands all the time, so I don't have the opportunity to bite my nails.

Stay tuned for future updates. I'm really trying to make this method work, because I'd love to help people with trich (and other people who, like me, deal with their anxiety by mangling themselves in other ways) in a real and tangible way - not just awareness raising and being open and honest with people about my own troubles with trich.

Friday 22 June 2012

Ten Things To Do During "Me Time"

At the moment, the phrase "me time" just feels like someone's idea of a joke. Indigo is teething, super clingy, whingy, and has oodles of energy. I'm doing my best to keep her happy, and a lot of the time it works.

The nights however, are punctuated by frequent wakings, lots of crying, screaming, and climbing on top of Dave and I. We really need to get her a bed when we've got some money to spare, because I'm hoping that now she's a bit bigger, she'll appreciate not being interrupted in her sleep so much. I don't want to cry anything out or abruptly wean, but breastfeeding is getting to be something I resent instead of something I enjoy, and that's not cool. Maybe a big-girl bed will make it easier to resist waking at night and being soothed by the comfort of boobies instantaneously - if it takes a minute for me to get to her and I'm not just lying next to her, maybe I will get a break!

SO. This post is supposed to be about the mythical Me Time that I've heard so much about. I know Indy will be happy if I leave her with her Daddy, but she won't be happy if I'm cleaning, reading, or generally mooching about the house (which is what I really want right now!). So I'll make a list, so when I've got some Me Time, I have ideas about what to do. These are often hard to come by when you're completely frazzled from looking after a clingy little one!

Ten Things To Do During Me Time

1. Go to the movies. I bet you never even get to watch your favourite television show without constant, loud interruptions. Go sit in the dark, with a heap of popcorn that you don't have to share, and watch something YOU like. Not Giggle and Hoot.

Via Where the Fish Live
2. Go to a nice cafe and read a good book. I recommend The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, one of my all-time favourites. I never get to fully immerse myself in a book at home, but in comfy clothes with a warm coffee in a nice atmosphere? Can't beat it.

3. Knit something. I love knitting, and this is a great activity to indulge in when Me Time occurs in the middle of the night, or during naptime. Knitting and watching dvds in our warm lounge room in winter is about as cosy as it gets!

4. Visit a friend. To just catch up, or to do something you both really want to do - just seeing the people we love has the power to make us feel great! Have a Girls' Night In - watch girly movies, paint your toenails and just generally be frivolous; or perhaps you'd rather go rock climbing together?

5. Go for a walk/run. It's times like this that I wish I had an mp3 player - I used to do a lot of walking and listening to podcasts of Sunday Night Safran. I'd like to do that again.

6. Bake delicious things. I know I always feel like Yummy Mummy Extraordinaire when I bake something that tastes great. (I've got Banana and Pecan Bread planned for this afternoon!)

From Fresh...and a Little Funky!
7. Have a bubble bath. I'm such a bookworm - most of these Me Time activities revolve around me getting some peace and quiet to read, and having a warm, scented, bubbly bath is no exception. Add a face mask, read for a while, et voila! Great skin, relaxed body and mind...what could be better?

8. Write something! This one is mainly aimed at me, but applies to pretty much everyone. I don't blog enough, and I've been working on fleshing out the stories for a couple of kids books - I just need to get down to it! Any of you other writers out there, same goes for you. Stop thinking so much and write more! Another middle-of-the-night Me Time staple.

9. Organise a future fun-thing. A party, perhaps? Or do you want to start saving for a holiday, but aren't sure where you want to go? Daydream, scrapbook, pin things on Pinterest (I'm Beatrix Quills over there, if you feel like following me!)

10. Give yourself a break. If you just don't feel awesome enough to do that much, just chill out. Relax. Just because you've got time to do something, doesn't mean you need to rush around filling the gaps with activity. Maybe you need to veg out in front of the tv, talk on the phone, sleep in? This is perfectly legitimate relaxation, even if it's not yoga or whatever.

What do you do during your "Me Time"?  I'd love some fresh ideas!

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Strange Days

Recently, we've been trying to totally overhaul our lifestyle. 

It looks like if all goes well, I'll have a job soon, and I can think about the positive things about being a working mum, instead of stressing as a stay-at-home parent. 

Luckily for Indigo and I Dave LOVES being a stay-at-home parent, and Indigo LOVES her daddy, so she'll always have one of us around. I'm hoping that if we have to put her in daycare that we can find family daycare, or entrust her to one of our friends who would love to play with our little girl every now and then.

It's making me cherish every second we have together until I'm working just a little more. I'm paying more attention to the little details: her soft hair, nursing her to sleep and her soft baby sighs, walking around with her, watching how proud she is of her new-found skills.

I just hope all this stress is going into something positive, so that soon I can say "oh yes, they were tough times, weren't they? Thank goodness they're over!"

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Depression Sucks

A few precious moments aside, I have had an AWFUL couple of weeks. Depression is a bitch who doesn't know when to quit. Even when there is nothing outwardly different from any other time, something inside just flipped, and I've had an extremely hard time enjoying anything. 

Indigo had her first birthday, which was great. I'd love to write about it - in fact, I've sat down most days to write about her, but as much as I love her, the words just aren't coming. Rest assured it won't be forever, but it makes it very difficult to write when emotions basically just block off my brain from functioning. I just want to feel "normal", whatever that is, so I can get on with my life.

Also, SO sick of being given depression-related advice. I've had depression for as long as I can remember - I wasn't diagnosed or anything, but shrinks have told me that from my descriptions it's likely I've had depression since I was quite a young child. I don't even REMEMBER how to think happy thoughts half of the time, or remember what happiness feels like, and no matter how many people tell me to "snap out of it", or give me advice, all it does is grate against me and make me feel worse.

Want to help someone with depression? DON'T tell them you know exactly how to "fix" the problem that has been bothering them their entire life. Yoga? Cashews?  These are lovely things, but I for one have never found them much help dealing with my own problems, and I resent the idea that after being alive for 25 years, I wouldn't have thought of something as simple as "take some deep breaths". Fuck, really? You think I haven't tried that, fifty thousand times a day, for 25 years?! I'm not stupid, I just have had a bit of a messed up life, and I'm doing my absolute best to be the best person I can be...I just have depression too.

I understand people "just want to help", but I TELL them how they can help - just being there. Talking to me. Coming to visit to save me from my own brain. Unfortunately in this digital age, people would rather give unwanted advice or ignore the negatives until things turn positive again instead of putting in effort. Or tell me that professional help is what I need.  I KNOW that I need company and friends, not professionals who are paid to listen to me, real friends - I need to feel BETTER, not worse! I guess it grates against me. The way I live my life? EVERYTHING I do gets 100% of my energy and effort. It's just the way I am - I haven't always been this way, but it's the culmination of trying to be everything for everyone. It's fucking hard work, and I don't think people even realise I'm doing it. Maybe I'd have less of a problem if I wasn't trying so hard, but I don't know how to do 50%.

I hope I haven't offended the few people who HAVE been instrumental in helping me not go insane these past few weeks. You know who you are, I've probably thanked you profusely. I just don't want people to trivialise my problems because depression is so common, or because someone else managed to solve all their problems with magic beans or whatever.

Depression sucks. It sucks the life right out of you and leaves you feeling worthless and useless. Such a debilitating problem with almost no physical manifestation, except that I've been losing weight too fast. I guess most people would be happy about that, but I think I'd rather be fat and happy than thin and miserable - not that I seem to be given a choice (misery seems the side-order regardless of the main course). I wish medication was anything other than a short-term solution, because I'd LOVE it if I could just take a pill and BAM! Problem solved! Unfortunately, every time I've taken the medication route advised by medical/mental health professionals I've just needed to almost constantly up the dose, so I'd prefer to just be miserable and NOT on drugs. 

Now Indy is awake, so I'll end this miserable rant. Just letting you all know I'm not dead.

Friday 25 May 2012

Under the Weather

Dave is sick with smoke inhalation damage to his throat and lungs from trying to light a fire in our fireplace. We knew it hadn't been used recently, but Dave took a gamble because a crackling fire is so pleasant, and the weather has been so cold and miserable. Luckily Indigo and I were in bed, because it's made him really ill, and I feel terribly for him. I wish there was something more I could do to help. If good intentions and cups of tea made it better, he'd be better by now.

Indigo started teething on tooth number nine yesterday too, which meant she slept for hours during the day, and has been unsettled all night, hence the 2am post. Co-sleeping is definitely the way to go with a sick baby, I can't imagine getting out of bed as many times as Indy has woken up tonight. She's needed constant breastfeeding at a time where I was trying to start supplementing with bottles in the hope that I can get my period back soon so we can start trying for another kidlet, which has left me feeling frustrated and worn out.

Sick too, it seems. My throat feels raw and sore, my ears are blocked and itchy, so I know it's coming. I guess all I can do is drink orange and mango juice (yum!), take my multivitamin, be nice to myself, and hope that I can get some sleep to kill this bug. Or maybe it's inevitable, and I should prepare for a few days of solid mooching around the house until we all get better.

What do you do when you fall sick - or when the whole family gets sick? 

I usually try to soldier on if I'm sick, but stop the presses if it's anyone else. I should probably work on that -  being sick is inconvenient and uncomfortable, but it's natural not to be well 100% of the time, so I should be teaching this to Indigo. Luckily for all concerned she has never actually been seriously ill in her almost 12 months on the earth - just gunky eyes after travelling on a billion planes to go to Dave's sister's wedding, and a blocked nose a few weeks ago. She just sailed through it, because she's awesome.

We'll be just fine. I'll keep going because I know we'll come out the other side.

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Gourmet Garden Blog-Off/Cook-Off!

A few weeks ago, I found out about Gourmet Garden's Blog-off/Cook-off, and signed up straight away. I half forgot about it until I received a couriered package of delicious herb and spicy goodness on Friday!

I spent a while dreaming up recipes - my parameters were that I wanted to make something unexpected, and I wanted to make something affordable because let's face it, none of us has as much money as we'd like, or time. 

 I decided to use the Thai Seasoning as a marinade for thai chicken skewers, in combination with a few of the other herbs I was given to use.

This recipe makes approximately 14 kebabs, if you leave a decent hand-hold at the bottom of your skewer!

3 teaspoons Gourmet Garden Thai Seasoning [contains shallots, chilli, ginger and lemongrass]
1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Coriander
1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Hot Chilli Don't use if you don't like the heat, they mean hot chilli!
1/2 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Basil
1/2 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Garlic
2 tablepoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
500g chicken breast/thigh (I used breast), cut into 2cm cubes or thereabouts 
1 large red capsicum, cut into chunks
1 large brown onion, cut into chunks
1 bunch baby pak choy
1 bunch broccolini

First, soak your skewers in cold water so they don't burn! I was very pleased with myself for actually remembering this tip for the first time upon making these! Leave them soaking while you chop up your ingredients, and they'll be ready by the time you're finished!

This is how much 'handle' I left on the kebabs - this way they are easier to turn and eat! [pre-cooked stage]

Next, marinate your chicken: add all the Gourmet Garden herbs and spices and a tablespoon of sesame oil to a bowl with your chicken pieces, and mush it all around with your hand. So messy, but so fun! Cover and refrigerate - now is a good time to chop up your vegies, because the chicken marinates so quickly! I'm not sure what it is about the Gourmet Garden Thai Seasoning, but it seems to penetrate the chicken fairly well, and will be done in 20 minutes to half an hour.

Next, poke all of your ingredients onto your skewers in an artful fashion. These are mine. I left about 10cms of blank-skewer at the end so that they are easier to handle.

Cook them under the grill set to medium on a piece of aluminium foil - turn them every 3 - 4 minutes until cooked - this will probably be three to four turns!

While the last of your kebabs are cooking, get out your steamer, and steam your broccolini and baby choy sum in two batches - otherwise they won't stay as crisp and green and amazing. 

Keep the kebabs warm under a low grill while toasting your sesame seeds in a dry pan, then add steamed greens and about 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, to taste. Toss until coated with warm sesame oil and toasty seeds. 

Et voila!

 Next time I make these, I will add sesame seeds to the kebabs while they cook for extra crunch!

These were a big hit in our house - there were no leftovers from fourteen skewers for three people, one of whom is under a year old! The greens worked really well with the flavours, nice and fresh and subtle, tying in some delicious sesame flavours.

Indigo loved sliding the pieces off the (blunt!) end of the skewers, and loved the taste - I would have loved to add more chilli, however those of you with non-chilli-eating kiddies, or who can't handle the heat, I'd suggest leaving it out altogether - the other spices are more than flavoursome enough, I just cannot resist!

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Attachment Parents Get Frustrated Too

I've been wondering recently if a lot of people aren't turned-off attachment parenting due to the image of the "perfect" attachment parents. They never get cranky at something minor, grump around the house, eat all the chocolate and snap at everyone. They never complain noisily in the night about being woken up abruptly multiple times to full-bladder kicks from a climbing baby who wants to be breastfed and comforted back to sleep. 

In short, I do all of these things, on occasion. I'm still an attachment parent!

I know I'm not perfect even though I'd love to be (and try to be, at my own expense on many occasions), all I can do is apologise for my mistakes, move on, and learn something. 

Making mistakes and not "following all the rules" does not disqualify you from attachment parenting. Many attachment parents don't start out that way - it's not a from-the-start-or-not-at-all sort of deal - you can begin at any time, and it doesn't require perfection - just a willingness to admit to mistakes, and learn from them.

A lot of parents, my little parenting unit included, don't like the idea of following any particular parenting doctrine, but call ourselves attachment parents nonetheless, as the ideas fit most closely with our own, without being too specific. There are so many little niche parenting styles, I just like to think that we've all got the same ideas at heart - fostering strong connections between parents and children, to help them grow into strong, emotionally intelligent adults. 

I know we all want the best for our kids, and if you think attachment parenting might be what's best for your family, go for it! We all make "mistakes" when we parent, but it's only truly a mistake if you didn't learn something from it. 

I left Indigo to "cry it out" once, because I was so stressed and tired that I couldn't physically lift her or emotionally handle her constant crying. Putting her in her cot made it worse, but I NEEDED five minutes to calm down. After I calmed down, I went back to her, picked her up, and was capable of looking after her again. It took forever to help her settle down, but I'll bet a million bucks that she hasn't been scarred by the experience, even if I have chosen to parent her in an entirely different way! 

I think a lot of people also feel angry about attachment parenting, because we might seem like a smug lot. Yeah, our kids are parented differently to yours, but that doesn't mean I'm judging you as a parent and finding you lacking. It's just like religious and non-religious families: parenting differently with similar goals in mind. Neither is more legitimate. Some attachment parents want ALL parents to follow attachment parenting principles, but I think that's pretty narrow-minded - almost everyone thinks that they are parenting in a way which will benefit their children, one way or the other. 

Most parents adopt some attachment parenting practices into their parenting style, using a sling or baby carrier as opposed to a pram, for instance. Hell, Beyonce even breastfed and carries little Blue Ivy around all over the place - no pram in sight!

So I guess my point is something about not judging people, because we all make some similar parenting decisions, and most of us do some form of attachment parenting. We all just need to be a bit kinder to each other, and a little less judgemental - the parent you're judging is just doing what works for them, just like you!

I love all these old photos of Indigo, so thought I'd include some to lighten up a heavy post!!

Tuesday 1 May 2012

Nice Things to Start the Month With

I've had a rough week. Indigo has been teething, and keeping Dave and I up all night. She's been doing lots of parent-climbing in the middle of the night, even asleep! It's made the week full of stress feel even more stressful, but we're coming out the other side, I hope. 

Image via Etsy - weepereas
I'm feeling determined to take things as they come now, and not resort to frustration or depression (my sure-fire sign that I'm stretching myself too thin, and expecting too much of myself). It's back to basics: good food; clean home; lots of exercise; make things; read books; write; talk to people. I know this combination is pretty much designed to make me feel like a human being again, so it's worth giving it my all.

Image via Etsy - ButterflyLove1

It's May, and just over a month until Indigo's first birthday, and my twenty fifth, five days later. I'm hoping to have an amazing combined birthday shindig, so I hope I can plan it all without costing the earth, and pull it off without too much drama! I'm thinking planning and preparing for this party will help pull me out of my slump! I love deco
rating, designing menus, making fact, pretty much everything that comes along with parties. I can't wait to get started! Follow my party board on Pinterest to see my inspiration. In fact, take a look at all my boards! Go on!

One wonderful thing happened this week: we got our rabbit back!

Pepper has been our rabbit for almost three years, and has lived with Dave's mum and sister for almost 11 months. We missed him so much, but couldn't have him at our last rental property. Here however, we have a huge yard which won't be ruined by the addition of a rabbit hutch, so here he is!

Pepper and I, back when I was fighting a losing battle against white-blonde hair

Indigo loves him, but needs to learn a thing or two about soft patting! It's so nice to watch how excited she gets with a new animal to watch and play with. Next stop, convince landlord for those chickens I want...

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Radical Mummy Self- Love!

I've been reading Gala Darling's blog for over a year now, and her message of radical self love has gotten me thinking - how can mums feel more radical self-love?

We're often portrayed as stressed, clean-freak multi-tasking machines, but we're still taken for granted, and we rarely get the chance to do things purely for ourselves. It's time to love ourselves more!

This is what I imagine Supermum looks like! From Della-Stock
Practice feeling like Supermum. This doesn't mean worrying endlessly about what you aren't doing for the kids - it means taking charge of your life and making it work for you. When mum is happy, the family is happy. Feeling like supermum allows you to separate yourself from the regular mummy-guilt, and rise to being the mum you want to be. All it involves is a change in perspective, but this change will allow you to view your decisions in an entirely new light, and make choices based on logic, not irrational guilt and anxiety. Being supermum to your kids means they can connect with you better during play, but also allow you to get time for yourself, and not worry about whether your partner will "do a good job" with the kids, or whether your mother-in-law will stuff them full of lollies and bring them home cranky. Supermums don't worry about what might happen, supermums adapt and work with what is actually happening. This is a RADICAL kind of self-love - keep practising every day for optimum happiness.

Teach your kids to give you massages, if they are old enough to understand what you want. They will love getting a chance to touch you and play masseuse, and you can reap the rewards! (Maybe teach the older ones about the concept of making Mum breakfast in bed?) Kids are too little? Get your partner or your bestie to give you one instead!

rachel-stocks on Deviant Art

Grow flowers, then pick them. Or buy yourself some flowers. Or ask a lovely old nanna for some out of her garden if you see her pottering around. Arrange them in vases wherever appropriate. Make a few places in your home which are beautiful and relaxing to rest your eyes on.

Melting on the lounge in my amazingly soft robe with Trilby, pregnant with Indigo. Stylish! 

Invest in a lovely soft dressing gown for winter, complete with warm fluffy slippers, and a silky, sexy robe for summer. Indulge your sense of touch with fabrics which make you feel nice!

Wear lipstick. I know that lipstick isn't practical, and that's half the fun! Catching a glimpse of yourself in a mirror, and double-take as you remind yourself of your lovely, bright lips!

Cook lazily, drinking a glass of wine and listening to jazz (Or do your thing. This is mine.) Then, eat at your leisure. Allow the children to make as much mess as needed within a confined area, as long as you are allowed to eat in peace.

iStock via The Newborn Baby

Love the body that birthed your children, and saw you all safe out the other side of labour. Enjoy growing older! If you find that difficult, take a look at this blog. I guarantee you will think these women are amazing and glamourous and beautiful, regardless of their age, and they take care of themselves because they are important people too, regardless of age or profession.

Monday 23 April 2012

"Expert" Advice Debunked Again!

I came across some parenting articles via my Facebook feed after my third or fourth night-wakening, and decided to try to read something educational and interesting and give up on sleep. So here I am, blogging about it, because I think that it was interesting and educational enough to write about! Thanks to Evolutionary Parenting for sharing!

The article Educating the Experts - Lesson One: Crying by Tracy G. Cassels is written with the "Experts" as its reader's voice - written in second person, it accuses "you" of all the crimes of the "Experts", which can be a little confronting, but the information is great, so I kind of just get a shock whenever it refers to "All of you, whether you claim to be against crying-it-out or not, promote forms of leaving an infant to cry.  And all of you promote ways of “training” your baby not to cry."  But I digress...

I found it interesting to note that the more responsive a parent is when responding to the cries of their child, regardless how competent they were at reducing the crying at that point in time, the less their child will cry later on. I rejoice at this news! Most parents will rush to help their child, but then feel a little (or a LOT) incompetent, because they can't "fix" what's wrong with their child then and there. I think the news that just being there is helping might be pleasant news to parents who have had to comfort a lot of crying, but with little reward! After needs have been met, cuddling is the most effective way to reduce the severity and length of a crying episode - think of it as meeting the Cuddle need!

The article also makes a very important, scary point: a lot of these "expert" baby-guide books write with the not-so-subtle messages that your baby is a screaming, poo covered creature out to manipulate you. Ok - so they aren't that forward with this message, but the idea of hardening your heart against your child's cries for its own benefit is just plain wrong. Babies do not cry to manipulate us, just to let us know that everything is not ok. If we change our perspective on why the baby is crying (to get our attention to make things ok again, not to thwart our desires for time out, or keep us from getting any sleep) we can change the ways we respond, leading to happier babies, happier parents, and less guilt all around.

Sometimes you need five minutes to compose you
rself before responding to your child's cries - that's ok, we're all human. Sometimes you might even tell yourself "that's it! I'm not going to go to her again!" (I know I'm guilty of saying this under stress, but I'm always there for her when I regain my composure, or my partner is). This is ok. We're fragile, imperfect beings, and that is ok too. Being a Superparent (in my view) means knowing how much you can take on, knowing when to back out, and knowing when you need to relax - not assuming that we can all carry on indefinitely with unrelenting stress levels, which is unhealthy and certainly unsuper.

I loved reading this article, and I hope you did too. Here are the links to the other "Educating the Experts" lessons, because I think the points made are valid, and will help you connect better with your kids, and stay away from the guilt-mongers and schedule-followers who will make your life miserable.

Bea xox

Educating the Experts - Lesson One: Crying by Tracy G. Cassels  

Lesson Two: Needs

Lesson Three: Touch

Lesson Four: Self-Soothing

Lesson Five: Schedules

Wednesday 18 April 2012

I Love To Watch Her Grow

Often when I talk to people about Indigo, they ask about the milestones she's up to. They asked if she was crawling at four months old. They asked if she was saying any words at six months. They asked if she was walking at eight months. They also seemed to be slightly disappointed when the answer to all of these questions was "no". The day-to-day of playing with kids is a gradual process, and you can watch your child grasping new concepts and making discoveries every day. 

I guess a lot of people just don't know when kids start actually "doing things". I also don't understand the need to rush from milestone to milestone, without enjoying all the stuff in between. Milestones are things to worry about if your kid doesn't seem to be progressing normally, not play-by-plays every baby goes through in the same way, at the same time, or even in the same order! For example, Indigo started creeping along using the furniture before she'd gotten the hang of crawling, and is now a pro at both!

We had a visit from Dave's grandma today, who brought Indy a wooden pram and a wooden swan on a string, which she loves. She has spent a large portion of the day pushing around the pram, putting toys in, then dumping them all out. It's pink and natural wood, but I think I want to paint it red and white, to freshen it up.

Indigo is growing up so fast. I guess it's like that with babies - one minute they have floppy necks, the next you're running around trying to keep up with them. Indigo has started playing out of my sight, on occasion. This thrills me - after doubting my choices in regards to attachment parenting due to other people's opinions on Indy's joey-like clinging, it's so nice to watch her
 being so bold and adventurous. It reaffirms my choices, and proves to me that giving your child as much attention as they want does not raise a child incapable of independence.

I love to watch her grow. That just about says it all.

Monday 16 April 2012

Babies Are Needy, But YOU Are The One Who Bugs Me

I just read this article, and even though in principle I agree with their argument, I definitely do not agree with making parents feel terrible for not being able to relax during pregnancy, breastfeed or have a natural birth if they wanted to do these things, or assume a child is neglected if it's not being constantly held by a family member. The author then proceeds to condescendingly suggest a dog, or even more patronising - a fish - instead of having a child if they cannot reach the impossibly high standards this author has set new parents.

I assume the author is a parent. I think that a lot of the things they try to ram down your throat as necessities are lovely - I love co-sleeping, breastfeeding, babywearing and hanging out with my little girl. I would also love her to have more family members involved in her care, but we live in a different city to our extended family network, so our daughter is a poor deprived thing, having to make do with two loving parents, and a whole host of our friends who she loves. I am a terrible parent, apparently. I should get a fish and take the baby back, I suppose.

It's hard enough being a new parent without someone making the nice, feel-good decisions look like a totalitarian regime. No one should be forced to parent in any particular way - we all turned out ok, and I doubt all of our parents were attachment parents. Sure we've all got our own issues, but even well-adjusted people have their own idiosyncracies.

Does this woman think that if we work even harder as over-worked parents that we'll somehow overcome our children's weaknesses? We've all got them, and no amount of parenting is going to raise a perfect child.

Although Da
rcia Narvaez is a psychologist, she doesn't seem particularly adept at being polite to hereadership, as she berates us for being human, fragile, and imperfect. Seems a pretty cruel thing for a psychologist to do, but I guess she gets paid to help people with low self-esteem brought on by perfectionist standards of parenting too.

I don't know why this pa
rticular article has gotten my hackles up, because I agree with a lot of the points she makes. I do think that babies should be breastfed and carried around like little joeys for as long as possible, and all the rest. 

However, I agree with this stuff for my kids. Not all kids. Or all parents. All people have different opinions, and I would have thought a psychologist would be more tolerant, and more understanding of different beliefs and practices. I guess the stress Narvaez says we should avoid in pregnancy is in no way related to the unrealistic and unrelenting pressures placed on parents-to-be who already have enough on their plates?

Keep up the good wo
rk, Narvaez. Maybe soon there will actually be even less attachment parents, because you've made it seem like an impossible thing to achieve.