a haiku to mark the beginning of the end of the in-arms stage …

sitting here on lap / baby squirms to be put down / can’t believe it’s now

crawls across the floor / exploring what’s on the ground / blocks, paper, cars, lint

he looks back often / makes eye contact with mama / big smiles, happy sounds

baby finds pain, too / hurts himself, or feels alone / cries for his mama

pick him up promptly / rock and kiss and soothe and nurse / baby comforted

when it’s time to sleep / baby crawls over, arms up / reaching out for me

pick him up, snuggle / nurse and kiss and rock and sing / baby sleeping now

hold his sleeping form / breathe in the sweet baby scent / these days are so short

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moving forward

I’m having a hard time not looking back …

… to what life was like before we had children.

… to what life was like with only one child.

… to what life was like when the community was new and things were exciting.

… but we’re not there anymore. We’ve got three (THREE!!!) kids now. We gave intentional community a good shot. We are, quite simply, well beyond those things.

Did I appreciate and enjoy those stages for all they had to offer? No. Why not? Because parts of them were hard. Parts just plain sucked. But mostly, because I truly believe that you can’t fully appreciate everything about a particular stage until you’re beyond it. There’s a reason “they” say that youth is wasted on the young … you just don’t get it until you’re out of it - till you can look back at it with the knowledge of what came next.

I’ve always been a momentum forward type of person - wanting to know what’s coming next … finding it hard to be content where I am. After high school came university, getting engaged, getting married, getting pregnant, buying a house, having a baby. And after that first baby, a second. And a cancer diagnosis. And then a very unexpected pregnancy, and then a very stressful move. And now a third child.

Seems at this point like I’m mostly gasping for air, trying to catch my breath.

But looking backward? Is just. not. working. for me right now. It’s making me sad. Making me feel “less than”. The grass is always greener on the other side … and we’re well past the days of doing whatever we want whenever we want.

And you know what? That’s okay. Because I know that soon, I’ll look back on these years and see them in a new light. A more full light. And I’ll regret not having been “present” with the difficulties - and the joys.

So now, I will choose to move forward. To try not to dwell in the [distant] past or even in what could have been better about last week or even yesterday.

I will choose to focus on the here, the now. Feeling the hard times, and embracing the joyful ones.

Let’s not look back with sadness … let’s look to the future, with a smile.

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Feeling validated!

One of the most difficult times for me in our community life was when we were accused of being a part of an “attachment parenting cult”. That if we just chose to parent differently, our lives would be easier, better. That we had created children / babies that had certain needs rather than that we had been supporting our high-needs children in a way that they required.

Then we had Atticus.

He is so very very different than both Gwen and Gil. He cries rarely. He will actually refuse to nurse if I offer and he’s not hungry. He sleeps best near me at night (on the same surface) but doesn’t need to be in my arms or touching me. He is happiest when in arms, of course, but for the most part doesn’t care whose arms they are.

I. Feel. So. Stinkin’. Validated.

I mean, I knew that what we were doing was the best for our kids - heck, they DEMANDED it. Loudly. But it still hurt to hear that those who were supposed to be supporting us really didn’t believe in or even respect our way of being - because for us, attachment parenting is just a name that other people have given to a set of behaviours that our first two children required. They had to be held, they had to nurse frequently, it was co-sleep or NO sleep at our house. And although it was hard at times, we came to love the closeness that these behaviours fostered. Love the bond that keeping them close day and night had created.

And I’m so very glad that we have spent the early days of their lives like this. And now, I can say with confidence that we did nothing to “create” these needs in them. That some babies truly just are “more difficult”, “spirited”, “high needs” … and some aren’t. We don’t belong to a “parenting cult”. We are doing what’s right for our children, our family.

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A quick update …

I’ve not written in this space for a long time. To quote Obi-Wan, “*pregnant pause* A long time.”

(Yeah. If you thought I wasn’t still a huge nerd, I’m sorry to disappoint.)

A lot has changed around our house.

Firstly, we moved. Away from our first house, away from the intentional community of which we were a part. There’s been a lot of pain. And a lot of joy. And a LOT of thinking, healing, growing. It has not been easy, and that was a huge part of why this space became quiet.

Even bigger a change is that we’ve added another child to our family. The pregnancy was … unexpected. And the journey was HARD. Really, really, really hard. But our new son, Atticus, has brought us so very much joy.

Gwen is nearing four … Gil turned two in February.

I look forward to getting to know all of you again. It’s good to be back :)

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Hello, blog world!

I realize it’s been a LONG time since I’ve written anything substantial in this space, and even though I want to write, and I’ve brought myself here, I still feel unable to get my thoughts down.

The past months have been busy. Good, for the most part, but still busy. I never knew how busy it would be caring for two little people every day, but when they go down for their naps or to sleep at night, I hardly feel like thinking! Most often, lately, I’ve been connecting with friends or reading books. QUIET activities to balance out the constant sound that most often punctuates my days.

Gwen turned three a few weeks ago and I’m feeling a bit guilty that I haven’t yet posted pictures of how her special day went - especially for my sisters who live far away and were unable to come. It’s on my mind, I promise!

Maybe it’s that most of my thoughts don’t get a chance to become finished inside my head and therefore, they feel incomplete when I write them down … I used to think up blog posts while washing dishes, going for walks, making dinner, etc. But I seem unable to do that at this particular point in time.

And you know what? It’s okay. I love having this space available for when I feel ready to talk again. Brad and I have been dealing with a lot this past while and I haven’t felt okay about posting about it in such a public forum.

So, in that regard, please forgive me for both not writing and not explaining that I was going to be taking a break. If it makes it better, even I didn’t know!

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Waldorf Doll Giveaway!

Oh my goodness, I am totally loving the giveaway for a custom-made Sunshine Bunting Oast Waldorf-Inspired Doll. It is so stinkin’ sweet! Go check it out!

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It’s going to be giveaway central this month …

… because Bellies & Babies, a blog I adore, is hosting a Conscious Families month - with guest bloggers and lots of giveaways!

Check out the newest giveaway for a beautiful Family Tree Mama Sculpture quite similar to this one.

Oooh - it’s just so beautiful!

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Giveaway @ Bellies & Babies

Head on over to Bellies and Babies and check out her awesome giveaway!! But, ya know, don’t enter too many times because I want to win ;)

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It was like a bad first date …

Last week, I had one of my dreams come true.

Through a random series of events, a good friend of mine contacted me last-minute with an extra ticket to go see Ina May Gaskin, an amazing American midwife and activist, speak at a conference in Toronto - potentially a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Brad was kind enough to help me figure out how I could work it out (I had to leave at 4:30 and wouldn’t be home until 10:30, the longest I’ve ever been away from Gil, not to mention that Brad had already made some fairly firm plans for that evening).

Honestly, the thought of seeing her and potentially meeting her had my heart beating faster than is normal ALL. DAY. LONG. I was so excited! We worked it out, and I headed out to see one of my sages. If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ll know that both Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth AND Spiritual Midwifery are both on my list of essential childbirth preparation books. These books were tantamount in my ability to trust my body and choose a homebirth for both of my kids.

The event began at 7PM and she spoke until 9PM, with a short intermission in which she did a book signing. It was an incredible evening full of inspirational talk - from everyone except me. Read the rest of this entry »

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Happy 1st Birthday, Gil!

My sweet William,

Today, you turn one year old. It’s a bit surreal. I remember your birth like it was just yesterday - a short, intense labour brought you into the world in our living room. Weighing 6lbs 12oz, you were bigger than Gwen, but still tiny.

What you lacked in weight at birth, you made up for in breastfeeding, gaining around 3.5oz per day for the first several weeks and doubling your birth weight by two months! When we were at the doctor last week, he gave you a quick weigh - 20 lbs! You still love to nurse … but I have no idea how frequently you do so - about every 2 hours, day and night, I think … sometimes more, sometimes less. You have started to really enjoy eating solids and will gobble up pretty much anything that I’ll offer you. It’s wonderful to have a non-picky eater! You do surprisingly well considering you barely have teeth. Your first tooth - the bottom left - appeared through your gums a few weeks ago, but you still can’t even see it when you smile! Read the rest of this entry »

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