Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Giving Great Gifts is GREEN

SO! I thought I had it all sussed for this Christmas, it was going to be the greenest one yet!

Well it was, but I was still sickened by the waste created by the holiday!

The positive green actions we achieved:
  • The majority of Butterfly's toys were hidden in gift boxes or set up for her to find, ready to play with, on Christmas morning!
  • Her presents were green... wooden toys, upcycled containers for her kitchen, we supported WAHM's also (buying wooden toys online = less plastic packaging)
  • Didn't buy any new decorations, we made do with the ones we had
  • Used the crockery and cutlery on the day, instead of disposable shtuff
  • We only turned the Christmas tree lights on for an hour before Butterfly went to bed for her to enjoy

  • Wrapped gifts for the grandparents in Butterfly's drawings (scribbles?)

  • Made my own bonbons using upcycled materials

BUT I have learnt the following lessons...

  • The relatives LOVE to wrap presents (and to be honest B loves to tear them open!) so next year I am going to suggest newspaper. YES newspaper. They can present the gifts in a sack or gift bag (which they usually do anyway, we sent Grandma home with her giftbag for next year), and she can still have fun opening. I mean, it was OBSCENE this year! BOTH sets of grandparents and BOTH aunties rocked up with sacks full of wrapped gifts. She opened from 6.30am until 2.30pm!

  • Only put out about a third of the nibblies you think you will need. If you pour the whole bag of chips, the whole bag of choc coated peanuts and the whole bag of cherries on the table, most will be uneaten and by the end of the stinking hot day, uneatable. AND thrown away. Best to err on the more frugal side, you can always top up if you need to.
  • HALVE the amount of salads you made last year. I ate salad, pasta salad and potato bake for 3 days straight and still threw away half of it!
  • Be honest with people about what you allow your children to play with. I was lucky this year, the wooden toy issue had sunk in! There is no point in letting the grandparents buy plastic rubbish that you then have the dilemma of either throwing away OR giving to charity... knowing the toys are potentially toxic to another child.
And remember...

  • its always great to buy gifts that encourage green living... Organic body care (organic ANYTHING!), Eco Toothbrushes, Wild Soapnuts, Modern Cloth Nappies, Handmade gifts, a plant?

  • Giving great gifts is green. Buying something that will be used or treasured is sooo much better than getting something that might end up in landfill unused. I LOVE gift certificates, everyone does! I also love donations to charities in my name.
  • REGIFT. This is a touchy issue, but I think its eco friendly! If someone buys you something you won't use, but know someone who will, why not pass it on? In the past I have had a cupboard full of beauty products that I never EVER used, and threw out after a few years collecting dust. Selling on ebay is another option. Can be considered rude, but so is putting no thought into a gift IMO.

  • Gift packs are a great idea, but they usually come with a LOT of unnecessary packaging. Why not make your own?

So whats GREEN about dressing your cat up in your child's new dress? Nothing. But its fricken HILARIOUS!!

----> Buttefly wouldn't let me try it on HER

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and have some ideas on how to make your next one GREENER!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy Anniversary Angel Pie!

It has been one whole year since Butterfly started waking hourly during the night. ONE YEAR.

Now, before she was 6 months old, she would only wake once per night. Then, one week before Christmas last year, everything changed...

We used to be on TH routines (VOMIT), so she always went to bed awake, and would cry for me for a few minutes before falling asleep. I used to try and justify this (as TH does in her book) by saying it was just a "whinge", an attention cry, not an emotional cry. Looking back now it breaks my heart to think that every night my beautiful daughter went to sleep begging me to stay with her, to hold her, make her feel secure. And I ignored it. I hope you realise how incredibly difficult it is to admit all of this to you, and how much my heart aches for the time we lost listening to that stupid book! I am getting very emotional writing this...

At 6 months old, that "whinge" turned into an emotional cry... screaming, sobbing, basically it escalated to a point that I, brainwashed as I was, couldn't ignore it. So I began breastfeeding Jocelyn to sleep. And she began waking on the hour, every hour, for more boobies. MAJUH sleep deprivation! So I searched for an answer, and all I kept coming across was the "Cry it Out" method. The alternatives to listening to the crying were, "Go outside so you don't hear it"! I mean, where the FECK was I looking to have come up with advice like that?

So we tried it, I mean I've blogged about this before... so yes, we tried it. Yes, it "worked" (ie she stopped night waking), but it didn't sit right. So I only lasted a few nights before buying and reading "The Continuum Concept" by Jean Leidloff... I'd heard Sausage Mama raving about it and thought it might have an answer. It did.

I learnt a LOT. A baby craving a parent close, settling them to sleep peacefully was not a selfish, naughty WANT. It is a NEED. Having someone calm them at night when they wake up in the dark is a NEED. Sleeping with a parent during the night is the most natural and soothing thing for a child (not to mention I got SO much more sleep!) The Continuum Concept gave me the confidence to parent instinctually, to give my daughter what she needed. And what she needed was ME. I felt like such an ASS for ever following a baby trainers advice, but hey, I was a new Mum and the book seemed to have all the answers.

So I started breastfeeding to sleep, cosleeping, and attending to Joss lovingly every time she woke. YEP, it was hourly, and YEP, I was sleep deprived! But HAPPY and at PEACE. And I knew I was doing the right thing.

That is what has gotten me through this past year. The knowledge that I am doing what is best for my beautiful little girl. If someone had've told me that the hourly waking was going to last a week, I would have cried. I never imagined that a year later, she would still be waking during the night! Having said that, it has slowly improved over time. Now she wakes twice or three times a night on a good night, hourly if she is sick or teethy. We just deal with it as it comes.

Sleep deprivation sucks ass, but I have found some ways to deal with it...
  • Sleep when Butterfly sleeps (ie nap during the day)

  • COSLEEP! Sometimes I barely wake up, just roll over and offer the boob, and go back to sleep. Getting up and going into the nursery was the real killer. We have Butterfly's cot (with one side removed) against our bed, so essentially we sleep on the same surface but have our own space. Research safe cosleeping before doing it.

  • Surround yourself with positive people. I hang out with AP friends who never once pushed the CIO method on me, just supported me through the rough times. Having CIO thrust upon you on your worst days isn't healthy.

Life hasn't been easy this past year, I have had horrible days, horrible nights and times where I felt like I couldn't keep going. Don't be under the illusion that it is easy. I have always said that if I get to the end of my tether I will read Elizabeth Pantley's "No Cry Sleep Solution"... but I don't know what that book is like because I've never reached breaking point.
Now, not every babe who is breastfed to sleep will wake hourly. Actually, before we went on "routines" Butterfly would sleep 4 hours straight (as a newborn!). Most of my friends' babes haven't gone through this (the ones who BF to sleep I mean).
But if your child IS like Butterfly, take heart. It won't be forever. It does improve and it does get easier. I'm at the point where I FEEL less tired than when she would only wake once a night! Its such a great investment, Butterfly is a wonderfully happy, smart and confident child! She isn't the overtired monster I was led to believe she would be, if she wasn't forced into a "one size fits all" routine *Blows huge raspberry to Ms Hall*

I am happy. I wasn't always. I didn't realise how depressed I was until I put down that book, the clouds cleared, and I started to enjoy the intimate time during the night I spend meeting Butterfly's needs. Its my job as a mother and I relish it!

I look forward to having another baby. If he or she is a night waker like Butterfly? BRING IT ON! I can't wait to be a mother all over again! To those who think I won't be able to handle Butterfly when I have another, well, I will show them... I don't care what anyone says, how they parent their own kids, I have found my happiness and no one can take that away from me.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

I'm NOT crazy!

I am NOT crazy! Just because I...

...have an escape plan in case of a zombie attack

...will not swim in a pool alone because of the risk of being eaten by a shark

...have a system of eating my dinner: brocolli and cauliflower, then corn, then mash and meat.

...like the smell of textbooks

...think one of the most delicious things to dip your hot chips in is a chocolate milkshake

...occasionally bite my fingernails so bad that there is no fingernail left. I do this at least once a year. At the moment I have *looks at fingers* two mutilated fingernails, and two recovering. Yes it hurts.

...have a phobia of telephones. I don't usually ring people. Text messages are my FRIEND!

...have over 20 pet snakes. At least now they live in the shed, we used to share our bedroom with 3 amorous carpet snakes, who would rattle the glass on their cage trying to reach each other during breeding season. (PS snake sex is incredibly boring. They align their parts and then lie there. Lazy buggers!)

...still love watching kid shows. Thanks for the excuse to keep the habit, Butterfly!

...was extremely excited the other night when Russell Brand mentioned that he was friends with David Walliams during a show. I thought, "That's one step closer to the ultimate threesome!"

.... .... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

... sorry, got lost daydreaming about a threesome...

...LOVES spaghetti bolognese, but HATES reheated spaghetti bolognese

...have to touch the knobs to the stove to make sure they are turned off, if I am going away from the house for more than 12 hours. I have never recovered from getting half way to the Sunshine Coast and thinking I'd left the iron on...

...hate jewellery. Yes I'm a traitor to my sex, but I just don't get it. Expensive, dangly, annoying. I don't even have my ears peirced.

...seriously almost let my husband give me a hair cut the other night. Thats how little I care about how my hair looks. I would have, only Butterfly didn't go to bed early enough.

...often worry that there are cameras in my house and people are watching everything I'm doing. Snuggling with husband can only be done in the dark. ONLY!

...wishes Harry Potter was real, and I was a witch, and 14 years old, and went to Hogwarts! I want to know what Butterbeer tastes like! Anyone with me on that one?

OK so I am a LITTLE crazy. But like I tell my husband, he knew that when he married me...

Monday, December 13, 2010

The year that was...


Didn't we ALL get suckered into buying one of those "Baby Keepsake" books, to write all their milestones in? What a WASTE OF MONEY! I never had enough time to sit down and answer all the set "questions" in it... there was too much emphasis on what date which tooth came in, and not enough room to write in all the cute things Butterfly did! I was writing a daily diary through pregnancy also, but that became too time consuming once there was a babe in the house.


I made myself a personalised diary using my FAVOURITE Momento software! I use it to keep track of appointments, but also to jot down little things that I don't want to forget. Yes, when a tooth comes in I write it down, but I mainly write short notes about funny things that Butterfly said or did!

Here are some sample entries...
January 20, 2010: Things that are very funny to a 7 month old: "Pointing a remote control at her and saying, Beep Beep!" and "Jumping out from behind a wall with a Bongo drum"
February 10, 2010: Butterfly took one "crawl step" forwards... then two back!"
April 7, 2010: Butterflys current favourite song is "Telephone" by Lady Gaga and Beyonce... when it comes on the radio she stops what she is doing and bounces on her bum!
May 28, 2010: Butterfly can now say "ssss" when she sees the snakes and "owm" when she sees the cats!
June 28, 2010: Butterfly learns to sign, "toilet"
August 19, 2010: Butterfly took a STEP!
August 30, 2010: Butterfly was having some milk, pulled off, blew on my nipple as if to cool it, and kept feeding!
November 4, 2010: Butterfly can now say her own name, she points to herself and says, "Do...ssie" is ADORABLE!
Its really good to try and write down the little things... we think we will remember them but we won't! I know, because if I don't write in my book for a week or so, and try to go back and fill it in later, I can never remember what happened :S (sometimes I resort to backtracking through status updates!)
You don't even have to have a personalised diary to do this, but I like it because its an extra incentive to hold onto it forever...
You can check out momento by clicking here. Its super easy to do, just download the free software, design your own diary, photobook, calendar etc, upload it to the website and then you can order it!
Have fun making some awesome memories for 2011!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wild Child?

So I was thinking, right... Attachment parenting. I LOVE IT!! I have had people insinuate I will be raising an "entitled little shit" or that I am letting my child run wild, ruling the household.

That doesn't bother me, I understand comments like this are from people who don't get it. I truly believe that parenting my daughter peacefully will lead to a more secure, happy and confident child.

If you scoff at that, and believe it won't, thats OK. Parenting isn't just about the outcome, its about the journey... and personally, I am LOVING mine!

I love breastfeeding... cosleeping... babywearing... having the freedom to enjoy my child!

OK so I don't wake up every morning farting rainbows. I have bad days, I get angry, I get frustrated. I don't always get it right. But I'm TRYING.

And most of the time, I am happy! WE are happy.

Parenting peacefully, I find, yeilds the best results. Its not about letting your kids do whatever they want and never telling them "no". Its about respectfully guiding them towards positive behaviours. In my experience, 9 times out of 10 Butterfly will choose acceptable activities. Sometimes she doesn't. Like, she always wants to turn the oven on. She knows she isn't allowed, and every time she doesn't she is told "no" and redirected to something she CAN do, but she persists. WHY? Because it gets our attention when we are busy in the kitchen. She'll learn eventually... at 18 months, she can't be perfect all the time! Screaming at her, smacking her, when all she really wants is attention, would only break her little heart.

I am finding people don't truly empathise with their children. The mentality is, "They are my kids and they have to behave how I want them to, when I want them to". They use tactics on them they wouldn't dream of using on their partner. Like, say every time you changed the channel to something your hubby didn't want to watch, he scolded you and smacked your hand. How angering and humiliating would that be? What if you did it a few times in a row, and he told you that he wasn't going to take you out to dinner for your birthday because you are so naughty? Who would want to be married to THAT guy?

No one likes to be told they can't do something they want to do. Toddlers especially. I try to understand my daughter's reaction and give her something she CAN do. If I asked my husband if we could go out to dinner, and he simply said, "No", I'd be pissed. If he said, "We really can't afford it, but we can get takeaway" I'd respect that.

Sometimes my babe isn't happy with an alternative and will cry. She's not trying to be naughty or manipulate me into giving in. She is truly upset that she can't do/have what she wanted. I don't give in, but I will give her a hug to comfort her through it. Yes, 'tis hard when they are kicking their legs and throwing a tanty, I know! Sometimes she wants space. Thats OK too. I've just never felt that matching a child's tantrum with an adult version, with yelling, to work. For me.

This blog isn't about preaching or telling you how to parent. Your journey is your own, and you have to own it. This is just about explaining how I parent and why, to those who don't "get it".

Butterfly and her best friend, Fee. If they are supposed to be "entitled little shits" no one has told them...