Thursday, August 25, 2016

Expectations while being in the lead

I realized something today when I was asking my daughter to come to me to get her hair brushed:

I did not actually expect my request to be carried out! 

I did not REALLY expect things to work. I kind of expected her to stay where she is. Which is what she did. Ha ha. I am usually asking three or four times, getting a little more irritated with each time, and then she will usually come to me.

I am doing my best to really respect her and her boundaries, while keeping good care of her at the same time (as in brushing hair, brushing teeth, etc. - We tried for a long time to let her do this herself but the results just weren't nearly the same). This can be confusing for me. Is this ok to ask? Is that maybe uncomfortable for her and that's why she does not want to? Hm.

I've understood today that if I want her to do something for me, I need to ask her in a way that I find convincing. If I am not convinced of myself being in the lead, how will she be? (Obviously, I am talking about things that are ok to ask from a 3 y/o!)

My mom was very helpful for me with this insight. So often I see her ask my daughter something (something that is no issue at all, and being with my 3 year old 24/7, I have the advantage of knowing that). Very often my daughter does exactly as my mom asked, and my mom is soooo surprised every time! Ha ha.

As in "Oh ... really? THANKS! I did not think you would actually do it". Ha ha. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Same child, different circumstances

My daughter (three years) helping me to make our own washing powder.
Some people have - directly or indirectly - expressed the idea that my daughter is maybe just easy to handle. A relaxed, sweet girl by nature. And there were times when I wondered about this myself!
Having said that, after three years, I've seen her in lots of different situations. The biggest differences in her behavior occur when she's with my mother (who does not apply the Continuum Concept).
My mom will say to my daughter:
"You are SUCH a diva!"
"You are too strong-willed".
"Little terrorist".
"Well, that's something you've got to learn to get used to".
"Oh oh, little miss don't-touch-me is a bit sensitive today, isn't she?"

My daughter on the other hand will tell my mother things like:
"You are NOT allowed to touch me!"
"You are NOT allowed to look at me!"
"Go away!"
"My brother is OUR baby, you are not allow to touch him. Stop kissing him!"
(Alexsandra Burt said that dd is the voice of nature - ha!)

One day my mother was here to visit, and she went grocery shopping with my daughter (around two and a half back then). When they came back, my mom told me that my daughter had had a major meltdown in one store. She was so loud in her tantrum that people started looking, and that pretty much everyone paid attention to them. My mom had to lift her up and carry her outside while dd was kicking and screaming right and left. When asked what happened before that, my mom said she did not allow dd to take something she wanted to have.
Same situation: Dd and I often go to stores together. She touches whatever looks good to her. She will often ask if we can buy something. Sometimes, when she was younger, she would take colorful products that looked good to her and put them in the basket (that what she sees me doing!). That alone was so sweet ... she would often even "read" the labels. Often it was something that I did not want to buy. I said something like "Oh, thanks dear. We don't need that today. Could you put it back?". Then she put it back. Ha! Sounds too good to be true, right? I think attitude is more important than the actual wording.

Small strawberries in the wild.
Fresh raspberries on one of our hikes.
Picking wild raspberries.
Alexsandra Burt said that foraging for food is one of the most natural things humans can do. Really, the more I think about it, the more I believe grocery shopping with toddler can actually be quite fun. I think assigning them little tasks really helps. Dd pretty much always wants to help me do whatever I do.
Many people have commented on how they've never seen a toddler that relaxed when shopping.
I remember one day when we were at the checkout, where all the candy is. Not that I do mind her eating candy. But she took several packages of something I did not want to buy, mostly because I was sure no one would eat it. She was passionate about this stuff as it looked so beautiful. I told her to put it back. Seriously, I literally heard the people behind me gasping! A nice elderly couple behind us smiled and said "Oh, good luck ...". And then guess what: Dd put it all back. The elderly couple commented on how this was the last thing they had expected.
For a while, I let dd pick one "chocolate lady bug" in our organic store every time we went. After a few weeks, she wanted to keep buying them, but stopped eating them. I don't particularly enjoy those myself, so I did not want to buy them just to let them go to waste. It was a bit of a change for dd, but each time she wanted one, I said if she really wants to eat one, we can come back later and get one (which I would have done if she had ever asked about getting one - she never did). That sounded ok to her and we went to the check out, paid for our groceries, and left.
On the way to the check out, I pretty much always tell her that anything in a glass is my job, but she can put the entire rest on the counter. For a long time, I let her hand over the money at the check out. Once or twice, she thought it was fun to drop the bill on the floor and I had to pick it up. I discontinued giving her the money. Not as a punishment, but to show her again how it's done, in a calm and relaxed fashion. Alexsandra confirmed that this is probably the best way to handle it (I was a bit worried back then because it had happened in the first place. Somehow I thought things like these should not occur at all. Haha. Turns out they do!) We took up our habit of her paying after a while and everything was fine.

Really, by now I have realized on several occasions that how we treat children can lead to very different outcomes. I hope that makes sense.

Monday, May 2, 2016

My big CC girl and another CC baby

Going outside to buy some groceries.
My big girl has grown so much! She will be three this summer. It's hard to believe. She is still a JOY to be around. Now that she will not be two years old for much longer, I guess I can officially say that we skipped the terrible twos! I did not fully believe it when I started on this journey, but the Continuum Concept really does seem to work very well for us in this regard.

In the woods.

Now it could be a coincidence and she could just be a sweet girl by nature. BUT when she's with my mother (who treats her in a more "conventional" way), she can be very different. In fact, she did throw one major tantrum in a store once and my mother said that literally everyone stopped and looked at them, because she was so loud. My mother carried her outside and by the time they were home, they had both calmed down.
"A voice of nature", as Alexsandra Burt put it! You treat dd in a disrespectful way and she will show you how it's not okay.

Having lunch in the sun in early spring.

And ... we've had another CC baby

He was born in late Winter and has added more love, joy and giggles to our family. I love him! He does cry and fuss more than the Yequana babies did, but hey. I am doing my very best to keep all of us in our Continuum rhythm. 

I'll leave it at that for now. 

Enjoy the month of May!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Summer update & the sweet twos!

Picking berries is still one of dd's favorite activities.

Almost all ripe berries were gone when we left!

Wow, it's been a while!
My only excuse is that I had an awful lot of paperwork to do and no time to blog.

So far, this summer has had some very hot and many rainy days. Nevertheless, I am getting better at going outside with dd when it's raining heavily. It really does help to have appropriate clothing for all seasons. Actually, it was fun and refreshing to go outside with dd in the pouring rain the other day! We didn't stay outside very long (maybe 90mins?) but came back energized and happy.

Checking out a hole in a huge stone at a local park.
Dd turned two this summer. We have officially entered the stage of the "terrible twos" where apparently tantrums and mayhems can strike at any moment. Actually, nothing has happened and so far, there has been nothing terrible about the terrible twos. She is still sweet and rarely ever fusses. I'm extremely grateful for that and it makes parenting her joyful and easy. I do see that dd is strong-willed and can tell how she develops her little strategies to get something. I love that and we almost always find a way to meet both our needs and wants.

I have no one else to take care of dd so I have to take her with me when I have an official appointment. So far it always went well. I often bring a book or something for her to play with just in case, but often the doctor's office (or where ever we have to go) are enough to keep her interested in her new surroundings for a while.

Taking a break to have some water.
Going outside is still our main and favorite activity. It makes for a relaxed mom and a relaxed child! There is SO much to explore. It hardly ever gets boring. There are always people she likes to chat with. The other day, a man handed dd his dog's leash so she could walk the dog for a while. She had tons of fun and even the dog seemed to enjoy walking with her.

Sometimes we did go to playgrounds this summer and dd still loves the baby swing. She needs help to get inside, though. I like watching her walking up to one of the mothers, asking them in her baby babble if she could use the swing, and always ending up getting help! I let her explore these social situations freely, and enjoy seeing her interact with others. I DO see the looks of "where is this little girl's mother?" and then raise my hand to waive, as if saying "No worries, I'm right here".

Picking more berries.

I find dd to be so much more independent now. She will easily go to the zoo with hubby for several hours, or go to a playground with my mother when she comes to visit. 

Playing in the heat at a local water playground with grandmother sitting nearby.

As dd gets older, she always finds new things to explore and do by herself. It's still a new learning experience for me, every time. Every time I have to make an effort to trust her again, although it does get easier with time knowing that it has always worked out so far.

Climbing! Ah! I really had to hold my breath in order to keep calm and let her explore the window sill.

How has your summer been so far?

Wishing you lots of happy days filled with joyful activities.
Remember to keep it task-oriented instead of child-centered!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

EC gathering and spring is coming

So much has happened recently, and so little time to blog.
I wish I would write more.

I gave my first talk on The Continuum Concept (TCC) at an EC gathering two days ago.
Welcome to anyone who has joined this blog after we met there, I'm glad to have you!

I loved it and could have talked so much longer. I believe more people than normal showed up, which shows the interest in TCC. I was very happy to share a bit of what I have learned so far. All the little and big things that make our life easier, more joyful and more harmonious.

I have to say, it is indeed a smooth ride most of the time. And when it's not, really, I don't worry about it but take it as a gentle reminder to get back in my continuum rhythm.

Spring is coming and we spent a lot of time outside in nature.

Wow, thinking back I remember how hard that was for me at first. I didn't really know any good spots to go to in the city. It was winter. Dd was still crawling and I didn't want to put her down for fear of her becoming soaking wet within a few minutes.

It's all so much easier these days.

In fact, hubby often tries to do me a favor by taking dd to the zoo for some hours. I really dislike being inside so much on those days (then again, I don't really go out by myself either).

Alexsandra often tells me that nature is our home. It really is! I feel so good when I'm in nature, like I can finally be myself.

Seriously, it's hard to worry about something when you're there. 

When the weather forecast looks good, I take dd outside for as long as we can. We walk, we collect stones, we take little sticks from the road and throw them back into the woods. There are always dogs she can play with for a while. We take a lot of breaks, have a snack and some water.

Today we spent pretty much at home though. Hubby has come down with a fever and sleeps in the living room, and I go and check in on him every hour. Dd and I still had an active and lovely day. We prepared food and then shared it, we cleaned our apartment a bit, we built something with toys. We went grocery shopping several times, and inspired by the music in one grocery store, we had a little 80ies revival party back home.

She's sleeping in the ring sling as I'm typing this blogpost.

I always find it so much easier to be in my continuum rhythm outside though. So really, if you want to get started with TCC, go outside.

If you have to stay inside, sing and dance. Have a party! Chances are your child will love it.

Good luck and if you like, let me know how it goes.

One of my favorite spots in beautiful Neanderthal.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Modeling behavior & a few insights

- We had another CC gathering on Wednesday which was really nice.

- Dd has started using her potty on her own now. She was naked one morning, and suddenly told me "pee pee", got up, went to the bathroom, sat down on her potty and peed into it.
This is pretty much how I modeled it to her. I say "Oh, I have to pee", go to the bathroom and use the toilet.
I have little attachment to when exactly she goes without diapers all the time. I feel neither like pushing nor delaying this. I assume she will use the potty more and more often with time.

- Reminded myself of something that Alexsandra Burt shared with me: Don't try to make the child happy - try to meet the child's needs in the best way you can.
I find it important that other people are not too attached to my happiness. In fact, someone you can share deep sadness with is very valuable! It's nice to be allowed to feel not-so-great sometimes, without anyone trying to fix it.

- Forgot to mention that dd did cut herself a while ago. She was eating sweet corn from a can and must have cut herself with the lid. She still hasn't cut herself with a knife, even though she sometimes uses one as a spoon. It's quite hard for me to watch sometimes but she seems to be ok.

- One day hubby and I were talking with each other and dd started to wander around. She came accross a fluff ball in the corner of our bedroom. She went to the kitchen, got herself a hand broom, came back and cleaned it up. I am more and more convinced of simply modeling how things are done in our culture. We said "oh, thank you", but otherwise did not make it a big deal to preserve her inner motivation - I want to avoid making dd dependent on our praise. 

- Oftentimes giving dd a few seconds to do something makes a major difference. I often remind myself to take things slow and not just rush through everything.

- Not really CC related, but: Dd is totally into blueberries at the moment. Blueberries make for blue poop - I feel like I am diapering a smurf!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Trusting the child's abilities

A few pics of dd's little adventures at home - these were a few times I had the time to get my camera ready.

She often amazes me with the oddest positions, and (almost) always without hurting herself.

climbing up a ladder, 18 months old

Still, I have no idea how she managed to stand on the edge of her potty for so long, or sit on the edge of a wooden box, without falling. From every angle it looked physically impossible to me, but hey. The worst thing that could have happened was falling, so I just let her experiment. She was fine the whole time though and seemed to enjoy herself.

balancing on the edge of her potty at 17 months

Sitting on a wooden box, 13 months old