Wednesday, June 4, 2008

From mainstream to chrunchyville

When I fell pregnant I found myself in a new and exciting, scary and always surprising or even shocking world which had been hidden from me before that sperm met that egg.
I thought i knew everything, a lot of parents - to - be do. Well i guess that's just the way it goes. You start off by knowing it all but as soon as your little baby is born your mind seems to go blank and all those theories get blown out of the window. You slowly find yourself on your way to a whole new lifestyle, never mind a parenting style. I was pretty mainstream when I started out. The one thing I knew I would do was breastfeed and not give up easily. Now my son is 15 months old and we're still going strong! But a lot of other things I have changed my mind about. The main culprits for making me change my mind are Jean Liedloff, John Holt, Alfie Kohn, and a few others too. Like these websites: The natural child project and Mothering - natural family living.

So now I find myself in a place I never thought i would be at the age of 23. I am engaged to a beautiful, loving, caring and affectionate man who is as close to perfect as you can get ;o)
I have a gorgeous little son who is rapidly growing up and I'm scared of that! I want him to be my little baby for ever! ;o)
I have a house and I'm growing my own vegetables. We want to get some chickens and hopefully move to somewhere more countryish soon.
I am on my journey to Unschooling my child and my life.
We live consensually or at least we try to.

I guess I've come a long way since listening to the likes of Supernanny about routine, rewards and punishments and their outlook on how to "get a child to respect you".

My friends have now, I think, come to accept that I'm not "normal", that I am on some sort of a "mission" maybe? Which makes me laugh. In a way I suppose I am. Whenever something comes up i try to explain to them why I do things the way I do. And if I wouldn't think whatever I am doing is right... well I wouldn't do it then, would I.

This can lead to awkward situations though. All the mums from our post natal group still meet up once a week on a thursday for a coffee and for our kids to "play together". Now I know I seem to be very relaxed, probably actually lax in their eyes. Like I don't care. But that isn't true.
We met at my friends house a couple of weeks ago and as the weather was lovely we were outside in the garden most of the time. I took Williams shoes off because i feel barefoot is best for baby feet. So off he goes, exploring, learning, being inquisitive.
My friends garden is divided into sections, a muddy section with flowers, a grassy section and a pebbled section. William wandered off to the pebbles (oooohhh stones!!!!!!!!!!) and started to walk on them. I thought to myself that will be an experience for him, feeling the stones underneath his feet, the shapes and unevenness of it all. Well.... while he was quite happy walking on the pebbles another friend who was there with her daughter (hollding her hands - and she had shoes on) said to William "Oh, be careful! You'll hurt yourself" (errr.... how exactly???) so i just called out "no, he's fine. He'll come off it if he doesn't like it" Then I got the "LOOKS" as if to say.... don't you care???
We are inside playing on one of those water - colour mats and William goes off towards the kitchen and garden door.
Now I'm thinking he's either going outside (where the worst thing he could do to himself is eat mud) or he is in the kitchen wher he can't do anything either. Well... my friend has got a child the same age as William and you would think that she would have safety locks on any cupboards with "dangerous" or non-child-things in them.
Once again though I am made to look as if I don't care. I didn't get up straight away to "rescue" william from the dangers of the garden or kitchen. I gave him a head start and came after him after a couple of minutes. Thing is, none of us had noticed that he had gotten into a (unlocked) kitchen cupboard and was holding a plate in his hand. I just went over to him and said "Can I have that please, thank you" but before I could reach him - it was a heavy plate - he had dropped it. Luckily it only chipped the edge but there were those looks again "She doesnt care WHAT he does! And she's not even telling him off for smashing a plate!!!"

These are all very nice people, don't get me wrong but they just don't understand where I am coming from. It gets so frustrating! Thank god for people like Julie and Ann who DO understand and who I will get to meat some day in real life!

Oh... and here's another blog about a journey from mainstream to crunchyville


Schuyler said...

Okay, okay, I haven't read any further than the first line, but I love the image of "falling" pregnant. It is such a lovely image. It reminds me of the Laura Anderson song where she talks/sings/chants about walking as falling and catching yourself over and over again. I like the idea of pregnancy being a fall with a wonderful catching, an amazing catching, a breathtaking catching.

Now I'll go read what else you wrote.

Schuyler said...

Did I say Laura Anderson? I meant Laurie Anderson and now it nags at me.

Petra said...

you are my first comment! yay!
but the weird thing is, a couple of nights ago I dreamt of you. I don't even know you but i dreamt of you, this really strange, but great dream about us meeting... hmmm...
anyways, great to know someone is actually reading my blog! ;o)

Schuyler said...

You live near me, right? We are just south of Norwich. It will be easy to meet. Let me just shake off the jetlag thing...

journeytocrunchville said...

Oh boy can I relate to where you are coming from! I feel so blessed to have found a group of real life moms who parent very similarly to the way that I do. While I'm not telling you to abandon your current friends, there is amazing comfort in finding like minded mommies. I'd suggest looking for them through your local L a Leche League or through a local AP group, homeschooling group, etc.

I still have not read Alfie Kohn (sp?) yet and I need to.

Anyway, it was fun to read the blog of another mama making the same travels. I'd liken it to a snowball effect. You make one little discovery/change and then that precipitates the next, which precipitates the next and so on and so forth. I am due with our next little one in a few weeks and we will be practicing Elimination Communication with this little on and I never would have imagined that a few years ago.

Schuyler said...

I realized as I was lying in bed last night, this morning, that my assumption of where you lived was probably false. There is a Petra on the Norfolk lists and I made a leap. Going through e-mails this morning I discovered that you and she are different people. Sorry about that.

Petra said...

No worries, i actually live in east yorkshire, beverley, near hull. it would be nice to meet, although might be a bit tricky... although in my dream i stayed near you at a b'n'b i think (its all a bit faded now... although i can still see your bedroom clearly,... which was outside!?!?!? lol!)
but maybe mike and i will take a trip to that area some day and ill definitely let you know! i would love to see that un - life in action! (william is still only 16 mths so the differences to other kids his age isnt really noticable yet.)but from reading your blog i always get excited about the things to come.