Monday, 26 August 2013

Tribe. Fire. Sisters.

Women for centuries have been raising babies together. Gathering food and water. Forming a community within themselves where secrets are shared, tears are shed and honesty is prevalent.
My sisters are plenty and each of them I cherish. While I have an equally wonderful tribe of mamas and friends in the city in which I live, I am also very blessed to be part of a tribe of intelligent, fiercely beautiful women. These are women I have known for well over a decade, who met me as a coming-in-to-my-own-but-I'm-still-lost-twenty-something, and who have grown with me into adulthood. Each of them have had their own majestic and heart-wrenching experiences along the way. Through it, we know each other. No walls. No bullshit. Just raw beings; wild women who see one another in truth.

Because of my life's path and because I live much further away, I sadly only see these delicious creatures once or twice a year. It used to be more - as the summer festivals rolled around, we would congregate in forests, and clearings, farm houses and campsites to reconnect, to share and learn from one another; to run Amok and partake in shenanigans - often around a gargantuan bonfire, the sounds of drums and giggles our soundtrack.

This year there were giggles. There were drums. There was fire. We were and are tribe. But it's different now. Rather than see the sun come up because we are stumbling back to our tents from hours of dancing and running amok for hours, we see the sun come up because we are waking with our toddlers. We are taking arnica or advil for our aches from sleeping on the ground instead of the fact that we had too much mead or because our hands hurt from beating a drum all night. But, instead of mourning the festivals past, I have come to grow content in the gentle shifts. (There may or may not have been a bit of pouting and nostalgia along the way.) 

It was being faced with a choice that caused me to realize I had reached that point, that I had indeed shifted... Upon coming out of the privy a few nights back (yes, there are privies in the woods if you know the right people) I had a choice. I could turn left and follow the sounds of the drums, knowing it would take me to fire, dancing, frolicking and letting the wild woman in me run, if only for a couple hours. 

Or, I could turn right and follow the sounds of my child crying and my partner attempting to soothe her back to sleep. I wasn't aware that I had a choice, let alone that I was making it until I was at my tent unzipping the door to fold my girl into my arms and give my love a sweet, gentle kiss goodnight, telling him he was a beautiful father.

As I lay there the next morning I realized that it wasn't so much a sacrifice as it was a shift to not run with the wolves that night. That shift wouldn't, couldn't, have happened without the support of my sisters. We will run again, and often... and thanks to that, our pups might just run along with us.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Night Mama

A tired girl flops on the bed, tucks her head into the crook of her elbow. 
She feels the softness of the blanket coming up around her shoulders, and each corner of it being straightened out to ensure each bit of flesh is covered in comfort. 
A hand rests on her back, reassuringly stroking it up and down, soothing her into slumber.
With a little pat on the bum and a kiss on the head, she hears her daughter whisper "Mama, sleep. Night Mama."

Nothing better than being tucked in by a two year old. <3

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The unexpected that will make your whole day...

As I begin to recover from from a serious bout of pneumonia, I'm also learning how to be with a toddler again. Between grandparents taking her for days on end and the last few evenings spent as "family time", today was the first day in a week and a half that it was just me and my girl. 

I won't lie. I was nervous when I got out of bed this morning. Would I have enough energy to keep up with her? Will I have the patience to deal with her tantrums and fussy food choices? Will I get a break today from the punching and kicking (our home has now become a zero tolerance household for hitting)?

After a morning of sitting on the kitchen floor sharing "tea", laughing at the breakfast table and dancing to the radio, my sweet and thoughtful girl - who was full of smiles and giggles - and I went for a bike ride. 

I'm not sure if it was the cool air, the joy of being on the bicycle, or just the right amount of caffeine, but we swung, slid, and ran around in circles until our noses were red. 

Wanting to keep those caffeine levels up, I grabbed a coffee and another "tea" for P - it's water in a take out cup in case you were wondering) before we headed back home. We sipped our beverages while strolling along window shopping. Turns out my daughter doesn't mind shopping, or strolling. 

And THIS was when the most amazing thing happened. As Penelope and I are having a conversation about why she has to wait until we got home to eat lunch and I was unlocking ma bicyclette, I noticed this man sitting on the patio of the cafe - just looking at us. Seriously, just staring. 

He met my eyes, smiled and said, "You are a great mother!" Followed by an exceptionally stunned expression in which he was obviously surprised that he had blurted out the words. He then said pointing to the bike chariot, "I can just tell. You - You're a great mother."

To which I responded, "Thank you kind sir - you just made my whole day!"

I've been on the receiving end of harsh criticism from strangers who feel they know what's best for your child (it's a strange phenomenon we are all victim to, much like the horrible birth stories we hear from strangers while we're pregnant) I've never received such a compliment and biking home I couldn't help but marvel at how one sentence of kindness could erase the residual negativity that tends to get left behind after your parenting in public is judged. 

Lesson: Some days, NOTHING is as you expect it will be, and almost always it will be better.

Thursday, 1 August 2013


Yes, it's another poop post. Tantrums and shit.This is my life.

We have moved into the dreaded potty training stage and it turns out, it actually is fascinating - IF YOU HAVE KIDS. If you don't... this is not going to be your favorite post.

At first I wasn't sure that P was ready but when we went camping at the cottage a couple weeks ago, she discovered a small chamber pot. Surprisingly, she took to it right away yelling for me when she had to go, squeezing her little butt cheeks together until I could get it underneath her. I won't lie, I was impressed. I never thought I'd be impressed by the ability to control our own bodily functions, but there it is (kids are freaking fascinating sometimes!) me - impressed.

I really want to do diaperless training, but I'm thinking the day care isn't really going to be on board with that idea so we've purchased a little mini seat that attaches to the lid on our toilet and that annoyingly jabs us in the back every time we use the crown, and a little compostable potty for downstairs. Yes, you can plant it afterwards and the poop pot will help grow a tree. 

This is where I wanted to put a photo of a tree coming out of a potty but it turns out they are really hard to find on the interweb so you just have to imagine it.

So now we have something for her to sit on both up and down, the kid is obsessed. Mind you she's not actually using the toilet but she REALLY likes to sit on the seat and pretend. She has also come to the realization that she's able to delay bedtime by screaming, "I WAN'T TO POOP" at the top of her lungs.

While she's great with dropping the kids off at the pool, the bladder release isn't going so well in terms of her actually getting it in the potty. At this rate I'm going to have to buy stock in Bounty. Have you ever had to soak up a spilled drink on a hardwood floor? It's a little like that but gross.

No major accidents yet, although I'm sure they're coming... any pointers parents? How did you get your kids to actually use the toilet rather than just sit on it? Did you use pull ups? diapers? go the naked route?