Saturday, 27 March 2010

Some thoughts on the end of breast-feeding

I think we really have stopped, although I suppose the real test will come with the first non-feeding illness. But, for the moment presuming we've stopped, I have a few thoughts on the matter.

Given that breastfeeding, especially when combined with co-sleeping, seems to affect the deepness of a person's sleep I am currently also wondering about its effect on meditation. The reason is this. I meditate, and have tried to do so semi-regularly for years. When I had my first baby this went out of the window for a bit and it certainly did when I had my second baby. However, when they went past the baby stage and especially when my son started actually sleeping during the night, I started meditating again. It did seem hard and a struggle and I presumed this was because of lack of practice or focus, however, now that he's stopped feeding I suddenly find it much easier to get back to that deep level of trance that I used to achieve. I also definitely feel much more deeply asleep at night, despite still co-sleeping with both children (and of course my husband!). Has anyone else experienced this?

I am also wondering about the effect on the relationship with my son. The breastfeeding relationship gives you a very intense closeness with a child. I can't comment on how it is different to a relationship with a bottle-fed child as I've never bottle-fed, but I certainly remember feeling a shift in the relationship between me and my daughter when she finished feeding and now I'm noticing a similar shift with my son. I presume it is a temporary thing - a re-establishing of the relationship in a different way, but it was different with my daughter as I was heavily pregnant and about to gain a second child, so all that issue was also wrapped up in the end of the breastfeeding relationship. Also, with her the relationship was only almost 2 years old, rather than 5 years old.

I'm not really sure of the point I'm trying to make but I'd love to hear from other full-term breastfeeders about the thoughts and issues they had when the journey finally ended.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Spring Equinox

So, another equinox and this was a good one despite the incessant drizzle. We dyed hard-boiled eggs using wet tissue paper:

We made Marble cake for it's equal darkness and light kind of qualities, plus it was very nice to eat!
And we had an equinox egg hunt, in which the children found these:

Plus of course much thinking of balance and the start of new projects. I had the image of an eagle in my equinox meditation which has given me much food for thought. I hope everyone else had as good a start to the summer!

Monday, 8 March 2010

Another birthday

This time my son's 5th birthday, made all the more piquant by the fact that he finally weaned 3 days before his birthday, making it feel all the more like an end of an era and the start of a new one.

The birthday cake this year was an aeroplane, which was amazingly difficult!

And I made some felt tarts - my son's is the blue one and my daughter's (unbirthday present) is the pink one.

It was a lovely day seeing family and lots of good food, and the inevitable reminisces of the day my son was born, can it really be 5 years ago? My little boy is really growing up - though don't tell him that. He has decided he will not be getting any older than 5 and a quarter, so we'll just have to hope he changes his mind at some point during the coming year.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Wanting to get active again

So, I find the wheel of life is turning and once again I am wanting to focus more on my spirituality, and share it more with my children now they are old enough to understand. I would love to find a person or two in the local area that I can share my Pagan path with and maybe do the odd eclectic ritual even! Preferably in family-friendly gatherings with children involved.

The trouble is (and all you Pagans out there will really know what I mean here), how to find people who *aren't mad*? I'm very wary of getting involved with any of the big groups, having gone down that route rather less than successfully. The PF don't really have any moots, groups or gathering close by (and I've been to their London Open Rituals lots of times in the past and not really been that impressed) and I'm not getting involved with CoA again. I am too scared to put a note in my local new age shop because that will definitely draw out the nutters.

My faith is not ceremonial, not Wicca, not 'new agey'. My faith is very practical, very down to earth, mainly based in the kitchen and the garden, but I'm feeling the need for some 'outward display' for want of any other term, partly in order to instruct my children in this, the faith of their family.

It would also be great to be able to meditate with other people, whether this be in a shared 'working', or just as individuals practising together.

I'm a bit stumped and hoping that if I put this idea out there in the universe, some link will be made and a sane friend of a friend maybe will become known to me.

Those of you who are Pagan and practise with a group, how did you find your group? I repeat, I'm not Wiccan and I'm not looking for initiation or a coven, just a few like-minded people. I don't particularly wish to teach or be taught, just a kind of sharing as we each wander our own path.

Any ideas?

Monday, 1 March 2010

Thoughts on violent play

I hadn't really had to think about violent play until recently. My children (boy and girl) both get very physical and I generally leave them to it unless they're breaking the furniture or really doing my head in. I'm really passionate about free play for children and they need that safety valve. But recently we had a problem with violent play that went too far at our home ed group and so I've been researching into what could go wrong, and found these words in Sue Palmer's 21st Century Boys: How Modern Life Can Drive Them off the Rails and How to Get Them Back on Track: "Critical to this was that the 'gun, fashioned by himself, was his own imaginative construction and could thus become whatever he wanted. A shop-bought toy gun doesn't have that same transformational power. In the words of the major British researcher in this field, Penny Holland, when a child is given a manufactured replica toy, 'the toy determines the play, not the child'. So the problem is not little boys running around shouting 'bang, bang, you're dead' but a society that commercialises every aspect of children's lives."

She goes on to say that this commercialisation means that children are "trapped in a manufacured adult fantasy".

And this is the nub of the matter, I feel. I'm finding Palmer's book very interesting, at least as practical and useful as her earlier Toxic Childhood: How The Modern World Is Damaging Our Children And What We Can Do About It which I reviewed a long while back. However, the trouble is, what do you do if you bring your boys (and girls!) up right, don't give them commercialised toys, don't expose them to marketing and junk play, but then they come into contact with others who have been saturated in this kind of rubbish? My boy isn't so easily influenced thankfully, purely because he doesn't seem to be your stereotypical boy, but in a group setting when the oldest and those looked up to as role models are trapped in the commericalised adult fantasies, it skews the whole group dynamics and means that trusting that free play will be safe and fair cannot be done. Which is a shame.