Posts filed under ‘quotes’

big shadows

worry gives a small thing a big shadow

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”The nice thing about being a second time Mum is that you know what to expect (from pregnancy through to life with a newborn). And the wisdom that comes with age is that fretting about ifs, buts and maybes doesn’t prepare you any better if those worries become reality. So with less than 6 weeks to go now until baby I’m waddling along in a bubble of ”I’ve got this” Mumma courage”
– Me, Feb 2016

It can be so amusing looking back through journal entries, emails or in this case, unfinished blog drafts. It’s true that caring for baby second time round has been easier and less fraught with worries about little things. What hasn’t been so easy is juggling the needs of two children, as well as my own (practicing self-care is not something I’ve ever really mastered in all honesty). It can feel so messy sometimes when my own emotions are becoming frayed, energy is low and both boys need me at the same time. We get through it of course and with not too many wounds but the Mum guilt around attending to one child at the expense of the other is heavy baggage to carry. And sadly my own tendency to anxiety in such moments sometimes leads to impatient, abrupt juggling rather than the calm, unflappable response I’d prefer. I’m learning in tentative steps to keep my own niggly, lecturing voice in check when I’m feeling tense and snappy (if I’m talking I’m not listening afterall) and reach out instead with a warm, silent embrace. Loving touch and calm connection, with a soft ”I’m right here” is always the better choice for everyone.

17-7-16 - boys in a bucket_cuddle 4BParenting is hard and we bring to it familial conditioning about how things should be done, what is expected of us, how children should behave. It can be hard to tune in to your own intuition and forge your own path. Especially if you feel a sense of judgement from others who observe your way is different to theirs and mistakenly feel criticism of their choices in your opposite view. When hurtful experiences from your own past, triggered by your child’s outburts or mis-behaviour, are thrown into the mix it can be difficult to remain calm or respond tenderly (there is a brilliantly insightful article on Aha Parenting about why we get so angry when our kids act up and how to handle it). Understanding why we overreact sometimes to small things can be really helpful. Being empathic is where healing lies, for ourselves and our wounded past self and for our children.

If I had to give our parenting choices a label ”gentle parenting” would be the closest I guess. I’m not about to write an essay on what ”gentle parenting” encompasses – if you’re interested L R Knost has it covered and has tons of fab resources. She very simply says

”Gentle Parenting is about guiding instead of controlling, connecting instead of punishing, encouraging instead of demanding. It’s about listening, understanding, responding, and communicating”.

Alongside other gentle parenting websites I read like Sarah Ockwell Smith’s and Dr Laura Markham’s Aha Parenting I also love the Hand in Hand parenting approach developed by Patty Wipfler. All four parenting experts have empathy, respect and kindness at the core of their approach but Patty also recognises the need for peer support as parents precisely so those toddler like reactions we all have from time to time have an outlet that is not directed at our children. Patty advocates listening time with a non-judgemental adult to release the frustration and hurt our child’s behaviour may be triggering in us. Developing a listening partnership with another parent also helps develop listening skills for responding to our children’s complaints!
Hand in Hand parenting meme - deep hurts are erased by many cries copy
Children naturally release their hurts through tears so it’s important we respond lovingly and supportively to allow them to release their tension/fear/upset completely. If we shame them with our response (”what are you crying for? You’re ok, don’t be silly. Stop crying right now or we’re going home” ) we risk plugging up their emotional release system. When E gets upset we tell him all feelings are allowed and do not limit his need to cry and rage (safely of course ensuring no-one gets hurt and nothing gets broken). As an adult I find it hard to extend this free expression to myself after years of swallowing down my feelings when I was younger. I wrestle with difficult emotions inwardly and don’t expose big shadows cast by worrying to the light in the way that I should – ‘‘no I’m fine, really {said through gritted teeth}. As a parent if I allow my feelings of impatience or frustration to create a response that is anything less than kind I risk chipping away at my child’s self-esteem and making him feel responsible for my emotions. E hasn’t yet learned to filter out negative comments yet at 5 years old so the way he is spoken to shapes how he sees himself. He believes everything he hears so feels the pain of being told his pictures are rubbish by a classmate or is paralysed by fears about drowning if he goes in water when he cannot swim (both true examples for my lovely sensitive boy). I always want the words he uses to describe himself to be kind and empowering and while I can’t protect him from others negativity I can do my utmost to ensure he always feels supported and championed by us.

E wears his heart on his sleeve and has such love and compassion for his brother and his friends. Slowly he’s learning to check in with himself if someone says something that hurts him. ”I felt sad when they said my pictures were rubbish with such a mean face. But I like my style and I am an artist aren’t I. I’ll just ignore them and keep drawing’.

Love wins.

October 9, 2017 at 7:06 pm 3 comments

a most happy Father’s Day

Father's Day presents 2015 4B
Collage - Fathers Day gifts 4B
Of handmade cards and secret, solo, Lego crafting by E
Fathers Day 2015 - E
Lots of smiles and hugs and my every wish fulfilled for E in the relationship he has with his Dad. My best boys.
Father's Day 2015 - E and G close up
‘It is a wise father that knows his own child’ – William Shakespeare
E holding Fathers Day present 4B
And a happy boy who knows his Dad.

(E’s ”About my Daddy’‘ picture inspired by Jen’s post here at Mama Papa Bubba)

July 21, 2015 at 6:00 am 1 comment

becoming a bookworm

‘A house without books is like a room without windows’ – Heinrich Mann
E and Daddy reading 4B
I first read to E when he was still a bump.  At a few months old we began reading bedtime stories after bath time. At 4 months old he’d explore cloth books with a look of absolute wonder on his face. 
College - E reading 4 months old
E has such a love of stories and it warms my heart when he picks up a book during the day and asks to read it with one of us on the sofa.
E and Mummy reading 4B
We’ve amassed quite a collection of children’s books so from time to time E and I play the ”keep it” or ‘‘give it away” sorting game. It’s hard not to feel a pang of nostalgia when he chooses to part with an old favourite (like ‘Each Peach Pear Plum’ at the last sorting) but I love the look of sheer delight on his face when he beams ”keep it, I love that one”.
21-3-15 - E sorting books 4B
21-3-15 - book pile 4B

New favourites since turning 3 are Mr Men books and Bod books – stories familiar to both G and I from our own childhoods several decades ago.
12-7-15 - E reading Bod books
Life long favourites for E continue to be the lyrical rhymes of any and all Dr Seuss books and most especially The Lorax. How delightful it is when he points to a picture and describes what he sees or recites whole pages.

”He was shortish and oldish and brownish and mossy.
And he spoke with a voice that was sharpish and bossy”.

E reading the Lorax 1 4BE reading the Lorax 2 4B
We have a bookworm, hooray!

‘You cannot open a book without learning something’ – Confucius

July 16, 2015 at 11:41 am Leave a comment

be content with what you have

26-3-15 - E with water squirter 4B
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“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to
you”.

– Lao Tzu

May 5, 2015 at 5:26 pm Leave a comment

today was good, today was fun

E full of life
“Today was good.
Today was fun.
Tomorrow is another one.”
Dr Seuss

(phone cameras – capturing those precious moments one fuzzy shot at a time!)

March 27, 2015 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

find the gifts of your shadow

That moment when you open a book and your inner chatter is soothed a little.
life is beautiful”All of your so-called faults,
all the things you don’t like about yourself are your greatest assets. 
They are simply over-amplified. 
The volume has been turned up a bit too much, that’s all. 
Just turn down the volume a little. 

Soon, you – and everyone else – will see your weaknesses as your strengths,
your ‘negatives’ as your ‘positives’.  They will become wonderful tools,
ready to work for you rather than against you. 
All you have to do is learn to call on these personality traits
in amounts that are appropriate to the moment. 
Judge how much of your wonderful qualities are needed,
and don’t give any more than that.” 

(from ”Dark side of the light chasers” by Debbie Ford)
have a postive day
Lovely inscribed pebbles available from HappyEmotions Etsy shop

January 16, 2015 at 10:56 pm 1 comment

recipe for happiness

Peas_Georges
Two handfuls of generosity,
Two heaped cups of patience,
One heartful of love,
One headful of understanding,
and a dash of humour.
Sprinkle with kindness,
add plenty of faith and mix well.
Spread over a period of a lifetime
and serve to everyone you meet.

My own recipe for happiness would have to include eating peas!  They’re ”my favourite and my best” whether cheery or blue.  I still remember my excitement the first time I blogged about growing peas, so delighted was I with the pictures snapped with our new camera.MOSAIC - peas

Searching out these old pea photos from my earliest blogging days is not only nostalgic (especially now we’re allotment-less) but also a little poignant.  I recall taking them so vividly but for all the 332,363 hits on my blog only 18 people have ever seen these.  It’s a strange and curious thing looking at blog stats like that.  By contrast the most popular post, ‘5 ways with… a ton of damsons’ has been viewed 13,100 times!  Who are all these people?   I’m obviously not alone in my love of foraging and preserve making.

Lovely as it is to see people finding my recipe archive years later, I still have a soft spot for those first few posts from the Summer of 2009.  I’m rather surprised that peas haven’t inspired my cooking more really –  512 blog posts later there’s just one pea recipe in the archive (pea and tuna kedgeree).  I guess it proves I just love them on their own too much and now E is here they don’t even make it into boiling water!23-8-14 - Oxo bowl_shelling peas 4B

© ‘recipe for happiness’ from Thought for Today

November 20, 2014 at 8:00 am 2 comments

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