Monday, December 31, 2007
sitting at home, having a quiet one.
somehow the most significant year of our life so far doesn't need a big night out to mark it's end.
i watched darkness fall on 2007 from danika's bedroom as she fell asleep in my arms. i never new Life could be so deeply satisfying.
God Bless for 2008
Love charlotte x
Friday, December 07, 2007
our parenting style is slowly unfolding, and it has an uncanny nack of revealing what we truly value. our hidden assumptions slowly come into the light. our fundamental beliefs about Christ, the bible and Truth are slowly exposed.
before Danika was born we were invited to do a parenting course.... "we did it and our kids are so compliant and well mannered."
'compliant'? 'well mannered'? slight cringe noticed somewhere inside myself. there's nothing wrong with those two things per say, they're just not exactly the two adjectives i would use to advertise a parenting course.
i guess when i imagine what i want for dani's life those two are not that high up on the list... they are on the list, but just not that high up.
so what words would i pick to advertise a parenting course??? courage? passion? empathy?
i can feel my perception of Christ influencing this. The Christ of our imaginations are always all of our favourite qualities rolled into one, one man, one symbol.
i imagine jesus to be this brave dare devil, who is absolutely gorgeous and kind and loving but didn't give a rats arse if he offended the snobs. i imagine him to be completely fearless whilst still being emotionally vulnerable. he looks me in the eye and invites me into all sorts of adventures, not one of the least being birthing a child.
jesus - compliant? are you kidding me?
my distaste for compliance is one of the reasons i am (at the moment) unable to let dani cry when she wants a cuddle (even if it's 2am). the baby psychology books i've been reading reckon when a baby consistently expresses a need (physical, emotional or spiritual, and i think they are all the same thing to a baby anyway) and it is ignored, they cope by slowly deadening they acknowledgement of that need. they learn not to listen to their own bodies when they are hungry, or their own heart when they want love. maybe it's the 4 in me (enneagram), but having an internal moral compass and listening to my own heart is one of the most important things in the world.
and the new research (and lots of the old) is saying that babies who are responded to quickly, in the end cry less and are more content.
maybe the psychology books and the research is wrong and maybe i am actually creating a demanding little spoilt brat, but heck, i'll still love her even if no one else does, and at least i'll know i've done my best.
use your mind
Friday, November 23, 2007
i just put dani down for her afternoon nap with no nappy on! i popped her on the potty and she did a tea spoon sized wee (obviously wasn't busting) and then i laid her down in her cot, bare bummed. It's a nice warm day so she doesn't need any blankets. i've left her door open so i can hear her if she stirs. the theory is that babies don't wee in their sleep, but as they wake. this theory has proved true because i often whip dani's nappy off as soon as she wakes up and she's dry, but will then do a big wee on the potty within about 5 seconds.
we'll see how we go :)
i love being a mum
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
according to this book i've been reading 'our babies, ourselves' (by m f small) 90% of children sleep with at least one other adult, over 8% of babies sleep with other children and less than 2% of babies in the world tonight will sleep in a room alone.
less than 2%!! and it's not just the poor families that can only afford a one room house. so it's clearly not the common consensus that babies should sleep alone. and from a quick google search there seems to be a wealth of new research showing that it's actually not good for babies to sleep alone.
i look back at the early settlers and their crazy logic and i say 'bringing foxes to australia!! what were you thinking??!!'
i wonder if our grandkids will look back and say to us 'forcing babies to sleep alone!! what were you thinking??!!'
and the average age for weaning? my little bubble of 'common sense' would tell me 12 months is plenty, but the global 'common sense' turns out to be around 4 years.
so where do we get our crazy common sense ideas from anyway? fill me in if you find out.
Friday, November 09, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
i have this longing in my heart that constantly resurfaces. i can not shake it and i can not put it to sleep. i want the oppression in Burma to end. i want the child sex slave industry in asia to collapse. i want the slaughter in africa to stop. i want the abuse of aboriginal children to finish. i want rich humans to stop plundering our environment. i want the kingdom of God to come on earth as it is in heaven.
could it be that we can create either heaven or hell on earth by the way we treat our children?
Grille argues that child rearing practices have affected societies and international affairs throughout history including the rise of Hitler and Stalin. He walks through history and shows how common parenting practices are an incredibly accurate indicator of what that society will become.
Grille outlines six different parenting modes (from worst to best). The first 4 are highly abusive and would be illegal in modern Australia. The Growing Kids God's way stuff is quite clearly number 5 (the socialising mode). But everything he is saying about the sixth mode (the helpful mode) is resonating as deeply true.
it would blow you away some of the stuff that was considered normal in other parenting mode eras. like tighlty swaddling babies 24 hours a day until they're 9 months old and stuffing their mouths with rags soaked in flour and water to stop them crying. i will never trust 'common sense' again because these practices (and many others far worse) were considered common sense in many societies for hundreds of years.
Was talking with Grandma last night about babies. She grew up in a children's home herself. She hated it. "I love how you lot love and cuddle your babies," she said, "it's much better". better than what? i didn't want to ask.
can't wait for daddy ellery to read this and hear his perspective.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
my mate wondered if blogs were about feeding ego's... like 'oh.. i wonder how many comments i got today'. maybe, but i don't think so. i'd rather feed my ego by being good a surfing or being really green or having loads of friends. those things are cool. being good at writing is a bit nerdy.
so i think i can safely say that i don't really mind too much how many people read this stuff. (which is probably a good thing because on the cyberspace map this site is not really a Sydney intersection, more of a Meliden culdesac... yes exactly, you don't even know where that is.) but i do love it when close mates do read it and mention it to me later... especially if it's about spiritually stuff. i guess it's nice to know that people care, or are at least willing to engage with me in soul wonderings.
and i suppose in the back of my head i hope that in 20 years time this blog will still be floating around for me to come back to and read, and remember where we were. who knows, dani might even read it one day?
our friends in Burma literally risk their lives to write their blogs.
Friday, September 14, 2007
yesterday she spent the day surrounded by her daughter's family.
i love her so much.
she has the most infectious chuckle.
we having a party for her 86th birthday on sunday. it's her second birthday party in her life. her first one was her 80th.
think i'll go make her a cake.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
about to step into one of those weird momentous occasion that I know will be with me for the rest of my life. in a few minutes i’ll be leaving to pick up my Grandma from the airport. if a journalist was writing an article of this there is so many different angles she could take...
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Spent last week bushwalking on the Bibbulmun Track from Inlet River Rd to Walpole on the south coast. Overnighted in three of the track huts; Woolbales, Long Point & Mt Clare. Highlights included wading through flooded track sections (sometimes up to knee deep); running from the rain at long point and climbing Mt Clare through the tingle & karri forest. It was an awesome walk with my two compadres. Watching the landscape change from jarrah forest to coastal dunes back to forest again was fascinating and the plenty of wet sections as well as river/creek crossings kept the walk interesting.
I've definitely whetted my appetite for walking in the region. We skirted the Nuyts Wilderness Area which i think will definitely be worth an exploratory hike sometime in the not too distant future...
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Ever wondered what all the mum’s who can’t afford nappies do to keep themselves and their babies clean?
Before Danika was born Case and I were trying to work out which way to go – cloth or disposable? Both seem quite bad for the environment, both seemed either inconvenient or expensive and I never really felt comfortable with the idea of strapping waste to our beautiful baby girl’s bottom.
Then we stumbled across the concept of ‘Elimination Communication’ or ‘Infant Potty Training’.
Basically when ever we think Danika needs to go to the loo we simply hold her over the potty, and when ever she pees we say ‘psssssss’. Over time she is learning than when ever we hold her in that position and say ‘psssssss’ it is time to pee.
How does it work –
The theory is that whilst babies can’t hold on if they need to go, they can release before they’re busting, so the trick is to catch it before it comes out in a non-controlled way (ie. In their nappy or on you!)
For pees the best cue so far seems to be timing. Straight after a feed is guaranteed (with Danika). And then 5 mins later, them 10 mins later then it gets a bit hazy. Sometimes if she’s playing on the mat all happy then does a little grizzle I think she might be telling me she needs to pee, but it’s early days and I’m not certain yet.
For poos, I reckon the smell of her fluffs changes just before she needs to go (they smell more like sweet baby poo) and if I put her on the potty to do a wee and she tightens her hammies it’s a good indicator that she needs a bit longer. Also for the last 2 weeks she’s done one poo everyday at about 11.30.
Generally wees take about 10 seconds and poos take about 10 minutes.
So we’re not completely nappy free yet. She still wears them to bed and when we go out.
Some people have asked if it’s a hassle… not really. Time I spend holding her over the potty is time I would otherwise be spending burping her or talking to her and both of these we do while she’s on the potty anyway. I suppose if the phone rings or I want to sweep the floor or something then it’s a bit of a hassle.
The main advantages are;
· It’s fun! In a way only a mother could understand. I love the way we communicate to one another at such a kinaesthetic level.
· It’s much cleaner for her. Even after poos one little wipe and she’s clean.
· Less nappies. The cloth nappies I use in the day are easy to wash because they usually only have one little pee in them (that Danika did while she was in bed) and we only use disposables when we go out (heaps cheaper). I haven’t washed a pooie bottom or nappy for over six weeks (except this morning when I dropped a clean nappy in a dirty potty!)
· Sometimes I turn the heater on more because it’s easier to have her bare bottomed.
· I have to clean out the potty (but I’d much rather clean a dirty potty than a dirty bottom!)
· Sometimes other mothers give me strange looks.
So it’s so far so good at this stage. I’m not sure what will happen when she learns to crawl. As she’s getting older she does seem to be going longer between pees so I’m hoping it’s only going to get easier, but who knows. I expect that early toilet training will be a natural consequence of what we're doing but it's not really about toilet training any more than breast feeding is about weaning.
I’ve read on the internet that some western parents who use this method don’t use any nappies right from the start, but we’re not quite there yet. I’ve heard that some non-western mothers think teaching a baby to use his clothes as a toilet is disgusting and weird.
It’s funny how in the west a baby using a potty is such a novel idea that the method even has it’s own name… “Elimination Communication”. But for over half the babies in the world this is just how they go to the toilet.
Friday, June 29, 2007
According to what I’ve been reading Danika doesn’t know she’s separate from the rest of the universe yet, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know what it means to be separate from God. But then listen to Einstein’s thoughts on adults…
”A human being is a part of a whole, called by us 'universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Maybe this is what Christ meant when he said ‘childlike faith’.
Imagine a life without words…
You wouldn’t be able to give and receive instructions.
You wouldn’t be able to talk on the phone or use a computer.
You wouldn’t be able to articulate the specific bits and pieces of your partner that you like of dislike.
You wouldn’t be able to know that Jesus died and rose again.
You wouldn’t be able to label yourself as male or female.
You wouldn’t be able to label anything.
Words use to seem so important… until I met Danika. She has shown me that words really aren’t that important at all. She has no words, but yet she has everything… including the very presence of God. Because without words she can not take herself out of the present moment, and it is of course only within the very present moment that we can be with God.
“What language do you laugh in what language do you cry in what language do you dance in make romance in what language do you make love in or pray to the above in what language are your fears? What language are your tears?” Michael Franti
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Friday, May 04, 2007
‘woke up to the sound of beautiful rain. Beautiful rain inside me… awake! Waters are sort of breaking, clock check – 4.15am
Try to go back to sleep… waiting for the next contraction – have three but can’t sleep – happy, excited, waiting. 5am get up.
Casey gets up… goes back to sleep.
5.35 he gets up again, comes out dressed… excited too… peaceful happy.
He vacuums the rug while I hold the pool.
He blows up the pool.
He deflates the pool.
The pool has a puncture – small.
Casey patches puncture.
Pool now sits beside me – wilted, like an old blue capsicum.
Now what… wait. So much waiting!!
6.17 sky turns from black to navy.
Watched ANZAC service on TV. I am so glad we are in
Went to beach… ummm fresh air. Take away brekkie.
Powerderfinger playing on TV ANZAC service. Go aussie!
Casey takes Jarra to park.
Called Jill about 10am.
She came round to check baby heart rate. All good. She leaves her little machine so we can keep checking it though out the day.
12am Krissy and Jenna come around to pick up their shoes. I go to Ocean Reef Marina with them to walk up and down the big steps – lets get these contractions cranking. It works. The first contraction hits as I’m saying good-bye to them – 1pm.
2pm (handwriting getting messy)
Starting to zone out when they hit their peak – but that bit only last for a few seconds. Seem to be coming every few minutes.’
That’s where my journal entry for the 25th April finishes… I’ll fill you in on the rest.
Jill (the midwife) came round about 3pm. Tam (the doula) came round not long after.
The only position I wanted to be in was on my knees leaning forward. By about 5pm I my back was getting really sore and I felt like I couldn’t hold this position much longer so we fill up the pool. Arrrrrrr…. I sink in… sooo good.
I’m facing Casey most of the time. He’s sitting in a fit ball leaning forward looking at me. He’s so strong and reassuring. I know he has great faith in me. (Verse One of poem.) The contraction are strong but I am amazed at how they completely disappear so I can rest. I also manage to find a moment of stillness in between each breath even when the contractions are happening.
As the contractions get stronger I start to feel overwhelmed (Verse Two). I turn to Tam and realise that she has given birth to four children. I am so impressed that women all over the world can do this. This is probably the most uncomfortable part of the labour for me. Jill asks if I want an internal but I decline… what if I’m only 3cm dilated? I can only deal with the very present moment.
Finally the pushing stage. Once I got the hang of it this stage was actually quite good. Incredibly intense and painful but there was actually so many feelings happening all at once, that it was easy to ignore the pain. And I soon figured out that the harder I pushed the more Danika’s head seemed to numb everything. And there was that – I could now feel her head!
Large parts of my brain definitely shut down (and are only just slowly coming back to me). I remember the midwife asking me to move forward in the pool so she could see better, but I had no idea what she meant. I remember thinking that I hoped she didn’t think I was being rude ignoring her, but I just couldn’t compute the instruction.
The midwife thought she could see black hair… a little bit more of it poked out with every contraction. Casey could see her. I planned on gently ‘breathing’ her out at this stage so I wouldn’t tear, but that hurt too much so I just pushed with all my might… and out she popped!
Casey caught her and she opened her eyes underwater. Her cord was wrapped like a scarf under her arms and around the back of her neck, not dangerous but it made passing her to me a little awkward. I was on the biggest high of my life. She had a feed whilst on my chest and then Casey cut the cord.
Danika Moana Anne Ellery was born at 9.55pm weighing 3.9kg (8 lbs 10 oz).
Overall the birth a positive and absolutely incredible experience.
i think i'm ready to try and put words to the most incredible experience of my life so far... the birth of Danika.
the first post is kind of a recount of the birth experience from my perspective, the second post is a recount from how the rest of the world would have seen it.
River flows over me
Calm, warm and strong
I rest in my lover’s arms
Strong and still
Strong and still
I look up from the river, across the grass and into the trees
The lion is waiting, calmly watching from afar
Its giant paws tread softly on the grass
I kneel in the river. I look up. The lion is distant.
The lion and eye make I contact. My soul quakes.
I crawl towards him.
Right arm forward, left knee forward.
He mirrors me.
Left paw forward, right paw forward.
I stop. He stops.
With trepidation I move again.
Left arm forward, right knee.
Right paw, left paw.
He mirrors me.
The distance is closing.
Desperately I wish to turn away, but am captivated be his gaze.
I am drawn forward. My body crawls on without my permission. God be with me.
I imagine the talons in those paws, the teeth in that mouth. I shudder.
But when I look all I see is deep golden eyes.
The distance is closing.
And still the lion mirrors my every move forward.
Ten metres. The grass is soft beneath us.
Seven metres. I am terrified. God, give me courage.
Four metres. Stop, I plead, but my body ignores me. God give me strength.
Two metres. Stop, I beg. My head drops and I crumble in tears. But my body crawls on, inch by inch. I am helpless. I am lost. God…
I close my eyes and go to another place.
God meets me.
In his beautiful hands he carries a burning rod of fierce courage.
‘God I need courage’ I ignore what he carries. I can not handle it.
Without speaking he reminds me that courage and fierceness are one the same. One the same.
Half a metre. I am petrified.
‘God I need courage!’ I scream at him.
Nose to nose
I close my eyes in silent fear. God’s hand moves towards me, my fear is only matched by desperation. I plead for what he holds. He reaches into my soul.
I wince and curl in pain as I feel the light of courage, first in the depths of my body then through my every single cell. Fierce strength pulsates through my veins.
I gulp and eyes wide open. I stare eye ball to eye ball at the lion and I realise… that.. the lion is me.
The lion is me.
The strength, the power, the energy, the intensity of which I was so afraid, is me. It is my body, it is my soul, it is my emotion.
The lion walks onward. Giant paws on soft grass. Fierce courage pulsating through it’s veins. The lion is not afraid. Each contraction brings only new depth to it’s growl.
I come back to my lover.
I am human again, but somehow altered
I look in his eyes and laugh at the pain to show him I’m OK.
His love and God’s love is all around me, is all I know.
I cannot speak but with my eyes I smile, “You have got to be kidding me!” Who on earth came up with this plan?!
I say it to him and I say it to my saviour as if they are one the same.
As if they are one.
And then with the final push, my wrecked, wrinkled and empty body gushes open
And my daughter is born
My daughter is born
Time stands still
For 45 minutes I am overcome with the bliss of feeling her human spirit.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Walked the labyrinth at St Aidan's in Claremont today. A beautiful time of reflection moving through the three stages of Purgation, Illumination and Union. I found it a useful meditation tool particularly as one who is easily distracted. Following the path kept my body occupied which made it easier to clear distractions from my mind. I find it refreshing, experiencing new ways of reflection and contemplation.
Monday, April 16, 2007
so why am i planning on a home water birth again when there's a perfectly good hospital just down the road?
everytime i get asked that question i seem to give a different answer.
let me make a list to unclutter my brain.
- i think the body, mind and spirit are delicately interconnected and the body can't function well unless the mind and spirit are positive and healthy.
- there is less chance of infection for me or baby
- the water will help me move into different position more easily, which will allow me to listen to my body and do what it tells me more easily. the physical position of the mother is supposed to be really influential in how easily the baby can move through the canal.
- i like things being as natural as possibly and want to avoid the cascade of intervention which is so common in hospitals. (eg. lots of foetal monitoring leads to mother laying on her back for ages which leads to 'failure to progress' which leads to her being induced which leads to an epidural which leads to a c-section)
- i also believe that health is not just the absence of something going wrong, health is more about optimum functioning. hospitals seemed to be all about stopping things going wrong rather than actually promotion health.
- the water will help my skin and muscles soften and less likely to tear.
- the temptation of drugs will not be there. why is that important? i'm not exactly sure... i think i fear that drugs will stop me from fully experiencing this incredible event.
- this baby has somehow made me more aware of my connection with God than ever. And my awareness of my connection with God is possibly the most dearest thing to me. I imagine it would be much harder for me to feel connected to God birthing in a hospital than it will be for me to get lost in His arms at home.
- giving birth in a strange room in front of a bunch of strangers sounds really bizarre to me. to me it's really strange that the 'normal' place to birth would be in hospital.
hmmm... that helped me unclutter a bit. and can i add that i am open to zipping down to Joondalup hospital should the need arise, it's just not my first preference.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
unfortunately i have a vivid imaginations and after reading about this i spent the next few weeks imagining what it must be like to be a kid today in the LRA.
imagine a 12 year old kid who has been exposed to the brain washing but the LRA hasn't quite killed his spirit yet and somewhere in his heart he's knows it's wrong. he has seen some of his little buddies severely beaten for not following orders and is deeply afraid this will happen to him. and then one day one of the bosses comes along and tells him he has to commit some horrible offence against someone he knows. The kid is told to pray to the Holy Spirit for courage to be a man and they will be leaving in an hour to go and bring justice in the name of Jesus.
The kid is deeply afraid and goes of to his room to get his gun. He wants to be a man. He wants the admiration and respect the older boys get from being brave. He prays to Jesus to help him follow his orders. He takes out his gun and imagines what the people will look like as he shoots them. His stomach turns. His spirit cringes. He weighs up his options. If he refuses he'll be beaten or killed. If he runs away he'll probably starve in the desert.
one of his boss's comes in and tells him to pick up his gun. the kid doesn't move. the boss moves closer and raises his voice 'Jesus is Lord. Pick up your gun'. the kid is absolutely terrified but follows his heart, 'I hate Jesus' he yells and tries to make a run for it...
this scenario doesn't fit my theology. in fact it exposes some gaping holes in it.
can someone follow Christ without actually knowing it?
can someone hate everything they know about Christianity and still usher in the Kingdom of God?
can someone deny Christ with their words but actually be a true disciple of Him in their life?
how much is it about language and labels?
i know this scenario seems very extreme to us. the 'Jesus' presented to this kid was obviously a perverted version.
are we capable of presenting a perverted 'Jesus' in milder ways?...
God is Good.
God is Love.
maybe following goodness and love is enough?
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
been practising my 'breathing through the pain' techniques. was about to take my dog for a walk with mum on monday. opened the gate and a brick fell from above my head and landed on my foot. mum whisked me off to hospital as my right foot took on strange new forms. doc thinks it's broken but we decided not to get it x-rayed coz of baby.
fortunately we're staying with some mates at the moment, so there's plenty of people running around to make me cups of tea :) i love friends.
it's been good practice at not being in control. especially that moment when it hurts like hell and all you can do is sit there and be. something us westerners don't seem very good at.