10 Jun Come here now!
“COME HERE NOW!!!” and everyone turned and looked as I cringed in amazement. Here is a toddler, no more than 3 years old, running into a parking lot and the mother, standing at the side of the road, pointing down angrily at her feet yelling “Come here now!” after a few yells, the toddler eventually stopped in a daze as the car was patiently waiting for the toddler to go back to it’s Mother. All I could think, was wow – that is how I call my dog! Maybe I need a bit more compassion when I speak to my dog #hmmmm
Maybe I should’ve said something to the Mother, at the same time, I am a bit over trying to convert those who aren’t ready. Yet, some compassion perhaps, I know what I would’ve said and I will get to that in a moment.
As I continued to watch, the Mother then proceeded to yell at the toddler. I was gobsmacked. Maybe because I have another point of view.
How is it that toddler will ever learn that the road is dangerous when he didn’t even know what he did wrong? All he will remember, if at all due to trauma blocking, is being yelled at and mum is angry now.
What I ACTUALLY saw?? Is that a Mother was very scared of losing her child and instead of being conscious of her fear, became angry in a fit of rage and commanded the child to obey her (which never works). What could’ve happened in a conscious world?? Is that the Mother would’ve ran out on the road after her toddler, scooped him up before the car came and on the other side of the road, knelt down to his level and said, “Far out honey, I was so scared of losing you, honey, didn’t you see that car coming (pointing to the car)? It would’ve hit you and you would’ve been in hospital and possibly died. (gives him a big hug) OMG I am so worried I was so scared of losing you (crying). Honey, promise me you won’t run out on the road again and be more mindful and mummy will be more aware of protecting you baby, come here (gives him a big hug).” Because what was really going on? Was her anger at herself for not indeed watching him and almost losing her child. Instead turned it on her child and made him being ‘bad’ for being a god damn kid! Pointing her fingers at him and all…. and we all know how many fingers are pointed back at her in that moment.
Now, nobody’s perfect… I am just pointing out what would happen in a world full of conscious parenting. Because we all know that no body learns when they are being yelled at and the brain functions step into trauma shut down mode. Yet, we all know that we don’t actually know when children begin understanding – babies, begin understanding. And most of society treats children like they don’t understand – so they respond in kind. Yet, speak to one like you know they understand you and watch their entire demeanour change, let alone their respect for you because you ‘get’ them…
I was asked about foods and what I did with Adaya and what I do do now…. Right now? I let her do what she wants with foods… but it wasn’t always like that.
I breastfed Adaya for 2.5 years and always cooked the best foods for her. I followed Nourishing Traditions (Sally Fallon) type foods and still today make bone broths from scratch and use it as the basis for all our dishes. I soak all grains, make all broths, ferment foods etc.. and whilst people see this and make it so much work, it has just become habit for me and is easy, because I’ve learnt how to make it so. Soak rice in the morning when in the kitchen making breakfast and it’s ready for dinner etc. Make it work for you. Make it habit. CHOOSE for it to be easy and it will be.
Back then, alot of lamb stews were made from scratch, even when travelling (don’t know how I did it!)…. alot of raw foods and rarely pastas or anything like that. If it was, it would’ve been the rice pasta, but it was like the traditional ‘normal’ pastas you buy. I guess you could say paleo and raw style combined, but it wasn’t strict, it was just how we ate. Alot of platters, in fact almost meal was a selection of foods that she could graze on and choose what she wanted. I always remember when I took her back to my families home in Perth and we had the traditional family dinner with chips and the like and she literally didn’t know what those foods were (she would’ve been about 2.5 years) and wanted a carrot instead. My grandmother couldn’t believe it. But it was normal for us.
As she got older and started spending weekends with her Dad from toddler age, he would start feeding her ‘normal’ foods…I gave up trying to control what she ate with him. (I’ve learnt to let go of alot of controls with many things, but it did start with the foods)
Eventually around 3-4-5 years old, it would be trips to maccas and icecreams and the like with him and I would be the ‘bad mum’ because I never had any of that ‘bad’ stuff at my home. And I wasn’t enjoying that. And so, I began to let her eat whatever she wanted. When we would go shopping I would let her choose. And she bought alot of foods that she had at her Dad’s house and still today this is true. Cordials, coco pops (yeah, not the healthy ones), icecream and more… you know, all the stuff us ‘health nuts’ cringe at. I still don’t enjoy it and I cringe at some of the things she eats and wants and has, but I let her. Today and for some time, I just tell her, this has gluten in it so your poo might get stuck or this has lots of sugar in it so your moods might change and you might be angry later etc etc… and she still chooses to eat them… and I let her…
And you know what? I’ve learnt to let it go… for a number of reasons…
- I didn’t want to be the ‘bad mum’ who has only healthy food at her house
- I realised it was a deep cut in connection to Her experiencing all life has to offer as a child and limiting her choices
- I realised – ultimately, is it really up to me what she eats? Do you control what your girl friend eats? Your mum? Hmmm, no didn’t think so.
- The surprising thing you might find? Is that she self-regulates. Some days she will only eat lollies. And although I deeply cringe at this, other days, she eats only fruit and only wants a bag of carrots for dinner. Literally. She knows what makes her tummy feel upset and naturally knows what her body needs.
- I don’t force her to finish all her dinner. That comes from our own growing up days, when they were brought up the great depression where food and $$ was lack and scarcity and had to finish all your food on your plate before you get dessert AND to get approval and love from your parents. #fuckthat I can love my daughter no matter how much or little food she eats. What is my stuff to own is whether I feel she is wasting her food, or I am worried about her choices in food and how much she has eaten and whether she is getting enough nutrition. That’s my concern, not hers. And when I can offer her platters and selections of food, then she get’s to choose. As she is older now, I have given up cooking what I want and expecting her to eat it. THAT is when I get upset because ‘I’ve cooked all this food and put all this time and effort into it and you won’t eat it.’ = that’s my stuff. So now, I have learnt to ask and cook what she wants and if I want a different meal, then I do so.
- I realised it was a connection to her Dad. And THAT was big in itself. When I realised this – this was when I had the big internal shift. It wasn’t even about the food itself. It was about the feelings of being with her Dad. THAT was when I think I had the biggest shifts that spurred onto me letting go of so many other things I realised I was trying to control.
- She is growing up. And is a human being. She isn’t a baby anymore that needs to be breastfed. She is old enough to make her own decisions. I feel that because I did offer her very clean healthy food very young, she naturally knows what makes her body feel good.
- When I was a teenager, I remember being a my friends house, whose family I deeply admired. I always remember this moment in time when my girlfriend was eating and apple and I rarely ate apples when I was a teenager, if at all! Something must’ve been said, but all I remember her Mum saying, was that she let her kids eat whatever they wanted when they were younger, lollies and all and now they rarely touch lollies and me, as a teenager? Lollies were EVERYDAY for me. So many lollies. I remember it like it was yesterday. I guess my girlfriend naturally knew what made her feel good too.
- Her Dad rings me randomly out of the blue (not so much anymore but early on he did alot), just to say – all she is eating is punnets of strawberries and bags of carrots, she doesn’t want icecream. He was amazed. But I smiled in deep proudness (is that a word!?), that even when not with me – she still knows what makes her body feel good. And she does it, no matter where she is or who she is around.
- I realised that ultimately what makes food good and bad? Is how we think and feel about it. Yes, I prefer eating healthy, because it makes me feel good. But if I think a food is bad, it makes it ten times worse to eat. Because those thoughts and energy have gone into that food. Even when I serve foods to Adaya I don’t like her eating, I still say my prayer over it, the one we say at meal times, “We bless this food with love, and thank it for giving it’s life to nourish us. Namaste.” If there is animal on the plate, we thank the animal individually for giving it’s life to nourish us as well.
As for snacks all day long… there is a two fold thing here…
Now, as I said before – when she eats lollies all day long? I definitely cringe. And the days she does that? (it isn’t often mind you and not like as exaggerated as it might sound, but it is there) – it is when I have been so busy and not had present connection time with her.
You know, the days we stress out and are so busy running around and make not very conscious choices around foods and might find yourself binge eating or drinking or something else – because you are stressed – or have feelings and need to cry? Know those days? Yeah well – you know what? This may come as a surprise to you – but kids have these stressful days too!
It shouldn’t be a surprise… you might think they just play all day and have no stresses, but if you read my other blog on “The concept of letting my child do what she wants when she wants seems radically outrageous.” it might help you to understand too…..
Babies are stressed out the moment they enter life here on Earth.. new sounds to adjust to, new smells, new lights, new voices, letting the physical body breathe on it’s own, temperature let alone, trying to be understood if you are hungry, just wet your nappy or just need to be held by your caregivers… and then all the new people meeting you, going shopping and all those sounds, let alone just being outside in wind and getting used to things. Then growing up and trying to understand language, people, words, trying to talk as your brain grows and comprehends and not…. so much stress there alone!
So having all this going on, creates feelings and stress – just like we get as adults and is coping mechanisms….. or some adults turn to drugs/alcohol or otherwise… to stop feeling the feelings we are….
As children.. it is no different…
So if you are finding that they are eating and eating and eating and eating but don’t really finish what they have and want something else, or it is a whining type wanting a particular food and then they don’t really eat it and want something else… it usually isn’t the food. They have feelings. They need to cry.
Tears release the stress hormone cortisol and just like going to the toilet or burping or sweating – tears have a definite purpose and mechanism and serve a very important function in the body. To release the stress hormone cortisol. And there is nothing more powerful and healing than someone listening to you when you are upset. Not trying to fix you, not offering you another biscuit or a different type of biscuit because that one is broken, or not dangling your car keys in front of your face to make you goo and gaa and happy again, not telling you there is a birdy out the window to distract you. No. NONE OF THAT.
But simply listening. And saying things like, ‘Oh honey, you’re feeling upset, I’m here, it’s okay to be upset, mums here.’
And the loving limit…
‘Oh honey, you can’t have another biscuit right now, you can have another one tomorrow.’ And hold that space there.
Because I tell you. It isn’t even about the biscuit. It is all the stress of the days and the weeks leading up to that moment in time. Especially if they are picky, fussy and just wanting everything and not eating it properly. It is no different to an adult trying to distract and destress from the day….
So when you are wondering if your child is really hungry or whether they have feelings to get out, check in with what has been happening in the family the past few days, weeks even, because any changes to routine or otherwise create stress and if they haven’t had a chance to release it, I guarantee they will feel better by just being listened too. “What is going on honey, how are you feeling? Are you feeling upset?”
This isn’t about leaving your child alone to cry in their room by themselves… or telling them they are bad for feeling this way (imagine you had a stressful day and your partner told you to deal with it and stop feeling that way and your bad for feeling like that and snap out of it) this is about compassionately listening…most of society isn’t comfortable with feelings full stop, let alone tears… I guess that is why addictions are high… it covers feelings…
I know when Adaya is craving an extraordinarily amount of lollies/sugar or what I would consider ‘bad’ food, that when I look at what’s been going on for us in the past week and well before that? Lots of busyness, lots of stresses, lots of big changes and I haven’t had time to ‘be present’ with her. It goes hand in hand. It is her way of coping until I can be present mum with her again.
And when I am present with her and tears eventually come out, she not only eats good food without any forcing from my end again, she naturally wants to help around the house, naturally wants to eat at the dinner table, naturally wants to help do the dishes. I never force her to do anything. It is having the emotional understanding of what is going on and supporting her in this, is how you get your kids to co-operate and ‘be good kids’ is what makes the conscious parenting choices my way of life. Not because it makes her a good kid, but because it feels right and I see her flourish from it. And that is all we ever want for our kids isn’t it?
Love, Hannah xxx
P.S. Lightfilled Yoga Online is now open! YAY!! Crown Chakra baby! Working those neural pathways, opening to new ideas, new paradigms, new ways of being, letting support IN, instead of being closed, trying to do it all yourself, closing down to receiving – we are opening you up to receiving in all ways babe – you coming? http://realityawareness.com/lightfilledyoga/