"Once your consciousness has been raised, it cannot be lowered"

My parenting journey, our home educating family and some other stuff here and there....

Saturday, 6 December 2008

'kay so I don't have much to say right now but I have to put something here to move that Caganer's bottom down my page!! I tried to make the picture smaller to no avail. That'll teach me for being juvenile. I feel like I've been caught passing a note by the teacher

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Magnus Caganers Explorer

I was just thinking about Christmas and had a little chuckle when I remembered about the "Christmas crapper". We lived in Barcelona for a while (waaaaaay before the kids) and were much amused by this little figure the Catalans take great pleasure in hiding in their Nativity scenes. So I thought I'd put one here, though it's not very well hidden! It's a bit infantile I know, but it still makes me giggle ;)

Anyway, I found it doubly funny when I searched to remind myself of the proper name: Caganer . I have no idea why but Esme has been using this for Magnus for the last few months! Magnus Caganers Explorer. Bonkers.....

Sunday, 30 November 2008


Gosh look how long it is since I've written here!....how time flies. I've been missing writing here but I've been struggling to channel my energy in lots of different directions! 

Been finding Motherhood gruelling of late, I never seem to have "enough" to meet everyone's needs. I am struggling to find the balance at the moment, I don't want anyone to miss out but sooner or later we are going to hit a real problem when I conk out from exhaustion....

Anyhow, all's more or less well in our world. EC has been going well. Magnus has learned to hang on for quite a while for a wee, and is being very communicative about it, in different ways than before. If he's on my hip he'll squeeze me with his legs and jiggle around. He also makes it quite clear if he doesn't want to go and will arch up his back. You have to be careful though, as this also means a poo is on it's way when he's needing to go. And BOY does my little guy produce some whopping poos. Not that suprising since he ate breakfast solidly for about an hour this morning! 

My theory that all babies hang on is growing firmer in my mind. I've seen friends babies who do a poo in each nappy, or small poos frequently throughout the day. I'm sure if they had chance to "get it all out" in one go they would do. Having seen some of the offerings Mags has done lately I can understand why a child wouldn't want to "let go" of all that into their pants. Poor wee things.

That said, I have missed more poos in the last month or so than I ever did with Esme. I think this is largely due to lack of attention: in the mornings I have been responding to Esme's urgent demands for pancakes (spoilt little brat she is at the moment...) and have missed Magnus' signals. Each time I feel a sense of dismay. I also missed a poo due to a soapbox rant one morning: I was so enraged by stories of inept breastfeeding support in the LLL magazine that I wasn't tuned in. Anyway, I have still only ever missed the very first bits of his enormous turds, and I can still count these occasions on one hand. All in all at nearly 9 months old Magnus is a lucky, clean bottomed boy. (He's going to hate me for this isn't he?!!)

Night times have been pretty good too- sleep periods lengthened considerably when I put M down on a sheepskin. I think he had been feeling chilly and waking up more. Now I know he will pee each time he wakes. We have had quite a few dry nights, which is nice. This is quite tiring though and on some (very cold) nights I have been too lazy to sit up and pee him. This backfires as he doesn't sleep well with a cold soggy cloth nappy on him so really I should just haul myself up each time. Not that easy when it's snug under the duvet and it's the 3rd time he's woken up that night....ah for an unbroken night's sleep.....

Apart from missing poos and sleep, I am missing my friends a lot ;( 
We've all been blighted by illness for a while so hoping for a healthy month ahead so we can do lots of cosy crafting and seasonal bonding together. 

Friday, 26 September 2008

Bye bye sweet baby poo

The last couple of weeks have seen big changes in Magnus. He's now blowing raspberries, gurgling away, sighing, yelping, sitting up, rolling, sort of getting onto all fours, commando crawling and eating! Pretty much all these things seemed to start happening at the last full moon. Bonkers.

He was sucking away on the odd bit of pepper, cucumber, steamed carrot etc... but not really getting anything, for a few weeks. Then on said full moon day he demolished an entire banana. With very little mess ;/ Since then he has enthusiastically put away just about everything I've offered him, the one exception being fig! The sad realisation that my baby is getting big fast is dawning ever more rapidly on me. Baby led weaning is great fun though, how come I never knew about this with Esme?!

The big downside to eating "proper" food is that I have to say goodbye to the yummy buttermilky-popcorny breastmilky poos he's been doing and hello to.....well, you can imagine. That's probably waaaaaaaaaay too much information for most people but I'm not at all squeamish, else I wouldn't be so happy to chat about EC'n. Thankfully we are still 100% clean and pretty much dry too so the change of input doesn't seem to have affected output!

I found the potty-bowl I thought I left in the pub. It was in the car, full of stale urine. Which is preferable to in the Peel Arms full of stale urine, in my opinion ;) I hope Granny didn't get around to asking them for it! I've just ordered a portable dog bowl to use as a potty so we'll see how that works when it arrives from Australia.

I've also taken the plunge and ordered a nice babywearing fleece. Contrary to DH's opinion a warm jacket is an essential item for the UK in Autumn/Winter and not a frivolous purchase at all ;) The merino wool elephant hood I plan to buy for Magnus could possibly come into that category.... However, I've saved a packet this week by turning a £5 IKEA tablecloth into a new wrap! So I can cross the Didymos off the most wanted list for now, and, more importantly wash my beautiful Lana wrap (that has become a stinky rag of late)

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

I've lost the pot.....

I've been having a very successful time with ECing Magnus lately, including quite a few 100% dry and clean days. I don't remember having this with Esme 'til she was much older, he is only just six months old.

I've been feeling pretty upbeat about pottying and my confidence must be rubbing off on him: I've been doing it out and about (on Levenshulme High St waiting for the bus, in public loos, Whitworth Art Gallery!...) and even managed to keep him totally dry throughout the day on Saturday at a family wedding where he was passed about the relatives like a happy little parcel ;) Often when he's not close I lose my sense of when he wants to go but he was holding on for ages and telling me very clearly.

I''ve found my ideal travel potty, in the form of a small IKEA mixing bowl with a lid, part of a set I already owned and hadn't thought to adopt for this purpose. Unfortunately, I seem to have misplaced it. After re-tracing my steps, the last place I can think of using it is the Peel Arms in Padfield, where we had pub grub on Sunday before we went to Padfield Plum Festival. Magnus weed in it, impressing his family and raising the eyebrows of a couple of baffled looking locals. I put the bowl (lid on) under the "banquette" thing.... and forgot it. ]

If the pub people have found it they must wonder what sort of strange "not-local" folks have been visiting for their festival. Who on earth would leave a small bowl of urine under a bench in the pub?!! Granny wonders if she should try to retrieve it but how would one go about asking for this back?

As I mention confidence above, I would like to say how easy it is for this to be sapped by others' negative vibes. With EC (and most other things parenting related) I am usually pretty thick skinned. But the same local lady who sneered at Magnus weeing in his bowl in the Peel Arms was staring at me as I santa-tossed him over my shoulder to wrap him on: I had a real wobble, nearly dropped him and couldn't do it. A total physical/mental block on babywearing. Perhaps she was a witch! Or maybe I just felt her thoughts: "how dangerous....." ;(
Must work on strengthening my protective bubble when up in the windy wilds of the peaks!

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

There are no shortcuts in Bushcraft

The wise words of Ray Mears also ring true with nighttime EC, as I found to my dismay the other night. 

Night time is perhaps the easiest and most difficult time to EC for me. A (concentrated!) pee is pretty much guaranteed after hours of sleep. If Magnus does wet his nappy he's difficult to settle properly and he stirs more, so it makes sense to catch it instead of doing a nappy change. I then get him back a deep sleep as soon as possible. To facilitate this I have a bucket by the bed and I just sit up and sit Magnus on it (sometimes whilst nursing to keep him nice and quiet) in the dark. It's a faff getting the nappy back on but we manage ok. 

The other night I caught a particularly large wee at the time of our dream feed when I go up to bed. Then in the early hours at his next awakening, in a sleepy haze, i decided to put the bucket on the bed for pee time instead of sitting up. How lazy am I??! Well it backfired, oh yes, the enormous, strong wee from earlier drenched my bed, blanket, pillow, the lot ;( 
My daughter woke suddenly proclaiming "IT'S WET!". Bed stripped, 2 more potty trips for us girls and a very full load of washing for the morning. 
Ah well. I won't try to cut that corner again! 

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

For Liz

I am having a blast with wordle here ;)
This one's for you Liz M....


Monday, 25 August 2008

Regularity and receptacles.....

Producing a poo seems to have become an every other day event for Magnus. It's slightly alarming how he doesn't need to go one day, and then every time he's on his bucket the next! Still, it's only a phase...every time they get into a groove it changes!

I am struggling to find a good (travel) receptacle this time. At home he seems to like his bucket but I can't carry that about really, apart from to LLL where nobody cares how indiscreet we are!For Esme the trifle bowl was perfect, but I can't sit him into a bowl enough for his wee to go down, it comes over the top. I bought a travel potty on ebay, but when it arrived it is MASSIVE....way, way too big for his tiny bottom. It would take up my entire bag. I am going to have to keep on letting him pee into a cloth and taking him to the loo whenever I can for now. Thankfully his pees are becoming less frequent as he's older now (nearly 6 months) so weeing is causing fewer interruptions to the flow of our activities. The downside of this being they are stronger so if I get peed on it is a bit more whiffy! Ah the joy....

Sunday, 3 August 2008

No stares at the swimming pool

Today we went to Victoria Baths for the monthly open day. I'd never been before, it was stunning. I can't believe the City Council would tear the place down given half a chance, scandalous.
Esme had a great time running about and looking around. She was remarkably interested in the architecture and she also got to do some lino cut printmaking which she was very pleased with. I enjoyed that too ;)

Magnus slept on my back whilst we were there, when he woke up I took him for a wee in the loos. I'm always a bit wary about being disturbed but a nice old Asian lady who saw me today said "That's brilliant you are potty training him so soon! I wish my daughter-in-law would do that with my grandson, he's 2 and she won't even sit him on a potty, it's terrible...."
How nice to be suprised by positivity!

Friday, 1 August 2008

Some thoughts on EC , at last!

'kay, so I really should start blogging about EC ;)

I don't really know what to write! It's just so much part of what we do with Magnus, that I almost forget it is a freakishly un-normal thing to even think of for most people. I've stopped mentioning it and just get on with it most of the time....bring on the stares! The only time I feel inclined to say anything is if someone suggests he has a pooey nappy, in which case I usually mention that he doesn't do that, and start (or leave) a conversation from there. Most people I have spoken to have been really positive, and amazed that we do this.

I am amazed more people haven't realised this is possible. If we can house train dogs and cats, why would our babies be any different?

When you actually tune in to what babies are saying when they start fussing and crying, it's really quite obvious that they are often telling us they need to go. EC is definitely a case of positive reinforcement, if we respond to signals they get stronger. If they're ignored, baby is eventually going to stop saying something as nobody helps them stay clean, no matter how hard they try to make their need known. My friend, a novice ECer with a 5 month baby, told me that her baby was delighted when she took off the nappy and made a grunty cue noise for a poo: her little face spun round and lit up as she relieved herself! Fabulous!

I really feel quite sorry that the majority of babies spend their time in nasty disposable nappies that (don't) rot in landfills or in cold, soggy cloth nappies. I recently visited a day nursery for the first time- Esme had asked to look around there as a few of her friends go and the peer pressure thing is kicking in. I was taken to the baby room where I was told that nappies were "changed at 10am, 12noon and 2pm, more if they were dirty, of course". I couldn't stop myself from almost screaming "He's not coming!". It made me shudder to think of leaving Magnus at all, but UGH to have him sitting in his wee more or less all day ;(

I don't think this is our biologically evolved expectation. It's "convenient" to ignore elimination, and big business would have us think it's impossible to do anything else. I'm really proud that we are proving to our society that there is another way, even if this must seem completely obvious to millions of people around the world.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

It's a mad world

I've been asking myself how people can seem to care so little about things these days.

Lots of little things are really bothering me. Litter, our neighbour's overflowing household dustbins (left in the street for days after the binmen have been), more litter, broken glass, dog poo, people scowling at each other instead of smiling. I saw a bloke cycling along and just hop off his bike, suddenly dropping it (hard) to the floor to go into a shop. Just left it there right in the middle of the pavement for everyone to walk around. Didn't care about his bike or the folks tripping over it one jot....if anyone had said something to him he would probably have seen his arse.

And here I am, religiously picking up the dog turd, being polite to everyone, taking home other people's litter as well as our own. Slavishly rinsing out our plastic bottles and tetrapaks, creating a smelly stinking mess in our alley so I can duly recycle this stuff. Taking my cardboard to the tip, encouraging the fruit flies to well and truly colonise our house by having a compost heap within cat-swinging distance of the back door. Why?

I just couldn't not do/be all these things, as thankless as putting in the extra effort is. It's hard to keep "being the change" I want to see in the world (Thanks Ghandi for giving us this one to cling to).

As I spend more and more time with other, fabulous, like-minded people, I'm becoming more and more staunch about these things I've always had strong feelings about. Vegetarianism..heck I'm seriously considering going vegan. Breastfeeding: always knew it was the best way but I seem to be becoming some sort of evangelist. The environment: don't get me started. This is good, I think. But creating some difficult conflicts in my life and how I manage to live in such an imperfect world. Perhaps those of us who can actually see the sh*t all just have to grit our teeth keep on being that change....?

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Garden of Delights

Ahhhhhhhhh summer! At last...
I have just spent more or less all day gardening and it was lovely. I planted out most of my my plants in anticipation of judging for a competition I've entered...eek! The garden is looking really nice and it was such a buzz getting my hands dirty, digging and sweating in the blazing sun.

My two lovelies have been angels all day. Esme painted and played, helped me to garden, picked up worms and snails and did some swinging. Magnus had a lovely long sleep and has been chilled out looking at the sky and trees in between feeds and sitting on his potty "bucket"! He rolled onto his tummy for the first time tonight. Bless, he had a face and two tiny fists full of grass. Such a sweet pair.

My little garden, and my heart, has been so full of delight today.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Looking forward to using pedal power

Well I've still not written much about EC...but I would much rather get excited about our new bike trailer tonight! We got it brand new on ebay for £58! Just waiting for a special seat from Germany so that Magnus can ride in it safely, I still haven't test ridden with it yet. It's just sitting in our living room asking to be taken out. We overlooked the fact that we have nowhere to store it, and we're going to have to take off the wheels to even get it out of the house! But never mind, what's a bit more clutter eh? I am itching to get pedalling with the kids, and to shed a few pounds just by getting from A to B!

Sunday, 13 July 2008


We've just returned from a lovely short break with GG (Great Granny- on his side) in Suffolk. What an amazing lady, nearly 90 and more with it than most! We managed to get to the seaside and built a great sandcastle on Southwold beach thanks to the presence of the folding army trench-digging spade. I mocked Joel for taking it, but I ate my hat when I saw his performance digging the moat and a channel to the sea. No plastic tat could have made such light work! Joel swam in the North Sea between showers. The kids had a nice time but Esme was definitely affected by being away- she's a creature of habit- so as nice as the break was we were all looking forward to our own beds.

The drive back was notable for the constant heavy rain and the distinct lack of calm in our wee car. After a while of hoping our two exhausted screaming children would calm themselves down, we pulled over into a tiny layby somewhere in the middle of the Lincolnshire Fens (surely the most depressing landscape in the UK?). Esme had a poo on the roadside in the torrential rain. Magnus pee-ed from the car door onto the verge but was still a lot less than happy despite a lengthy feed to try and calm him and get him off to sleep. The vacuum from the passing lorries shook us around in our steamed up tin box every 30 seconds or so. A seating rearrangement seemed necessary before we could continue as Esme was still moaning and crying about being in the car. Joel was less than happy to relocate to the back seat with Magnus. I would gladly have given up my driving seat but as the sole driver was forced to continue at the wheel on this hellish mission home. Needless to say we were not a very merry band of travellers and a few harsh words were spoken.

When we eventually managed to leave the layby we had to chuckle at ourselves a bit: it turned out we we'd stopped at a place called........ Bicker! I wouldn't recommend a visit!

Anyway, all's well that ends well and after a few nights back things are settling down again. We made an old lady very happy and the hassle was well worth it.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Happy 3rd Birthday Esme!

Wow, what a lovely day we had today.

3 whole years since Esme came earthside. I can't quite believe it. And this time last year Magnus was a tiny bean inside me. How life changes...

On the spur of the moment, I took Esme to Gymnastics for the first time this morning. She had a brilliant time jumping and climbing and balancing, and cried when it was time to go. I got to go on the trampoline and fulfil a lifelong ambition to jump in a pit full of foam. It was really cool.

Yesterday we decided, last minute, to throw a small party for Esme's birthday. It didn't seem right to do nothing. So, we were blessed with a beautiful sunny day and her little mates came round for tea and cake in our little garden this afternoon. We played pin the trunk on the elephant and pass the parcel. A jolly good time was had by all, thank you so much for coming and celebrating the three years of joy our little angel has brought us... Merci bien.

Friday, 27 June 2008


Thanks to the bra doctor my chest is looking its best! My spirits have soared upwards with my boobs this afternoon! What a difference a decent bra makes, I've lost weight and my posture is so much better! Hurrah!

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Why pottywoman?

Well, I was going to blog about EC (Elimination Communication) as it's something I do with my sweet babes that I get asked about a lot. The potty is a pretty ingetral part of this and, to be honest, it was all I could come up with!

But, as I seem to be writing about my mental state too, I suppose the double meaning comes into play. Am I potty? I do sometimes wonder if I am going slightly mad. Not in the "I'm mad me!" way some (most irritating) people try to be funny, but in the "I am definitely losing the plot, what is going on??" way. I wonder if my musings will help me clarify my confused mental state from time to time. I hope so!...

Thank goodness I am feeling lighter than Monday today ;)

Monday, 23 June 2008

one of those days.....

It may be a little odd to start with no background, explanation of who I am, what I do etc... but I have to start somewhere, and today has been a fairly tough one to get to grips with so I feel more inclined to reflect than to try and make my profile glitter and all that.

I realised tonight that I am struggling along a bit these days because I have never really, truly *had* to do anything before.

Lots of things I've loved doing with my life have fallen by the wayside when I came to a sticky point with them. I am a mediocre pianist, perhaps that's too generous. I speak a little German. Even less Spanish and French. I've done so many jobs I don't care to think about it, most of them quite badly! I really knew how to "do" school, and on the surface I was a high achiever, but i didn't actually learn very much. I've mainly not practised yoga for 10 years.

Whenever I've been challenged I have managed to avoid practice and hard work, and lacked the determination required to push myself to break through the barriers, hence I have no notable accomplishments. Am I lazy? Unmotivated? Afraid of failure?....all of those things and more?

With parenting, I can't just give up. Today for a while I really, really wanted to.

Perhaps that's why I'm having more and more of these days: I'm meeting the sort of obstacles I usually run a mile from. But my children can't be a pair of crochet slippers that only cover one toe.

I really hope that's not too negative for a starting point, it's just where I'm at this evening.