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family life, Festivals, parenting

Advent is round the corner

The Autumn festivals are drawing to a close with a crescendo towards Advent and Christmas.

Advent is a beautiful festival of inward growth as we wait for the birth of Christ.

The four weeks before Christmas, can give us a lot of food for thought.

It can remind us that everything on Earth is needed for the survival of its entirety – rocks & soil, plants, animals and humans. Each week of Advent, we celebrate and honour one of our partners in the survival of our planet. Starting with rocks and soil and ending of course with the birth of Jesus and therefore humans.

Rather than eating an incredible amount of food, I personally go on a small fast in preparation to receive the light back after the darkness of winter.

Light is an important theme! We celebrate the birth of Christ, bringer of light, we celebrate this in the centre of Winter when the light is at its shortest. So, every lantern, every fairy light is a remembrance that light will come back. That nothing lasts forever on Earth. We are in a continuous cycle of growth and re growth of death and birth as we let go of things and bring in new things in our lives.

Advent can be made magical for our young children and bless them with lots of possibilities of love and kindness to spread and grow in their own hearts and souls.

You can read some more about Advent in the following posts, Advent, The first week of Advent, The second week of Advent, The third week of Advent, The last week of Advent.

What are you planning this year for Advent? Not sure? Feel free to download my FREE Advent and Christmas e-book for more help!

Uncategorized

Martinmas

The feast of Saint Martin on the 11 November, is a lovely feast not just of kindness but of remembrance that we will always get back to the light even in the darkest hours.

Martinmas, as referred by Waldorf Education, is the Lantern Festival. Parents and children, will do a lantern which on the evening of 11/11, they will light and do a small procession while singing songs. They usually also read the story of St Martin, take some food and drink together as a community and lastly do what is called a coat drive. They give out coats to the homeless. I love that idea but unfortunately, not sure how to go about that here in our side of the world. So instead, what we do is, we start getting food from now till 13 December and give it to the food bank or local parish priest to distribute.

Sometimes, the simplest things, give us the greatest joy and the biggest meaning.

family life, Festivals, parenting, seasons

Some Autumn Ideas

While the temperature is still on the high numbers over here, the subtle changes on our little island of the changing season can definitely be felt.

You can read more about how we welcome Autumn in these posts here and here.

Next week Malta celebrates Independence and of course the Autumn Equinox. Then there is Michaelmas and well, Autumn is FULL of festivals that brings joy to our hearts.

Independence here in intertwined too heavily with politics so the reality is that Independence Day is not quite celebrated much (unless you hail from certain political factions). It was felt though, that to instill pride in our country we should celebrate this milestone. So we do just that at home! We decorate the house with many a flag, we eat traditional food like timpana and lampuki (local dolphin fish). For breakfast I usually prepare red and white foods to reflect our flag colours and I tell them the story of history that got us independence.

Autumn Equinox is celebrated by watching the sun rising. We also sing, tell stories and do crafts. Lastly we renew our pledge to help our Mother Earth.

These two festivities are like the start up of many others that bring hope and courage in the waning light that is brought by Winter.

As a parent who teaches and parents in the Waldorf way, the festivals are important because they teach valuable lessons to our children. They not only remind us to work with the seasons, be aware of them and honour the changing Earth. It also reminds us to take stock of what we have done thus far, be courageous to change the things which are not helping us or not in alignment with our hopes and wishes and ultimately helps the soul grow!

raw reality

6 months of terror

It’ s been nearly 6 months since the world went upside down

Life became difficult in many different ways.

Our high ambitions, our unmet needs, our worldly possessions, our greed

Got highlighted without end for these past 6 months

Making us cowards of ourselves and what we would like to trust.

We have judged each other relentlessly just to not feel the pain

We have hurt each other just to forget the suffering in our body and mind.

It is a year full of growth for those who want to really care

Full of meeting our past, our present and our future at the same time.

Feeling fully into everything, needing air, getting none, like a drowning cat.

We look forward to a breather, which seems truly out of sight.

Knowing really that acceptance is the way forward in this light.

Accept the change that Earth timely provided us, accepting fear of the unknown

Accept life is ever changing and we should also change – evolve, grow.

Letting these unsettling times help us greet a possible new world.

It is hard and it mostly feels lonely on this journey without end.

Going in cycles and in spirals, on and on without seemingly an end.

But like a Phoenix we will rise and feel stronger than before

All the hard stuff that we deal with, makes us shine with love forever more.

breastfeeding, encouragement, parenting

High Lipase in Breast Milk

There is a lot of misconception about high lipase in breast milk.

It all starts with a parent expressing milk and when they go to give it to their baby, after it was frozen, either they offer it to the baby and they refuse it or they might smell it before giving it and smell it metallic/soapy.

This milk has high Lipase – an enzyme that helps break down the fats in milk.

However, a lot of health professionals who are not aware of this, will scare mothers into thinking their stored milk is not good and should not go near the baby!

While yes a lot of babies will refuse to take the milk, it is not necessarily so (and the milk is not spoilt!!) But, whether your child refuses the milk because of its particular taste/smell or not, there is a solution!

Scalding the milk or flash heating it will stop the lipase from breaking the fats, thus keeping the milk ‘normal’. 

The 2019 edition of Best Practice for Expressing, Storing and Handling of Human Milk by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America addresses the smell and taste of stored milk. It is “due to the breakdown of fats during storage and is safe to feed babies.” And “mothers should be informed of the destruction of properties of their milk if they decide to scald”

Flash heating means that you put the milk on the stove till bubbles form at the edge (or milk reached 82 degrees Celsius) and than quickly cool the milk down.  The ‘problem’ with scalding the milk is that of course it destroys some of the important properties found in breast milk. That is anti bacterial and some of the nutrients but as long as baby is not getting heat treated milk only, than that is not a problem at all.

So, if your milk smells or tastes strange, first double check basic hygiene in expressing and storing milk and if that is not the issue than high lipase probably is. Scalding the milk, will resolve the problem of baby refusing stored breast milk.

family life, parenting, raw reality

Done with Parenting

There are days where I am done with parenting.

I do not want to be the adult any more that cares for these children.

So on Saturday I walked out of the house….because I didn’t want to parent….

I was angry and fed up and I left husband and children at home with no idea what I had in mind. All I knew was that I wanted space. I started walking angrily at first, but than meditatively. Thinking what was all this about?

I spent an hour alone before going back home and hubby took up this into his own hands and gave me the morning off while he headed off with the kiddos to the beach.

That morning gave me so much insight on what I need to work on next in my life!

There will be other days for sure where I am done and want this to be over.

Sometimes, I get exhausted holding the space for 3 children.

Sometimes, I actually want to focus on my other work…..my paid work….sometimes I forget that my children are my teachers to my paid work and really wish them far away. Other times, I feel their worth as more than gold and keep them tight drinking in all the knowledge that I am getting from them, knowing that with that knowledge I will help one of you parents.

Sometimes parenting feels easy- yes you do get those odd days, where everything flows perfectly and effortlessly and you have this I got it feeling, I am on top of things. It is a nice feeling isn’t it?

Most times, parenting feels more like struggling with mud..trying to move and getting more stuck in the situation.

It is OK. You are not alone. We all get that.

family life, parenting, raw reality

I am grateful for Corona virus

I am not joking, I am truly grateful to this virus. With the advent of social distancing, school closures and working from home, I have found my blessings overfilling in many ways…

  • I get my children home for 6 months instead of the 3 Summer months only
  • My husband is all the time around, being able to spend more time with him to, despite him working from home full time
  • I am getting quite a few Aha! moments in my parenting journey right now which will in turn help you my clients (double win!)
  • I am finding time to continue a course to better myself and my services
  • We are stress free and while I know that the stressors can’t be changed when things go back to ‘normality’ I can be more compassionate to myself and my family about them
  • I am going through a journey of deep growth which I know wouldn’t have happened if this didn’t come up
  • I appreciate the time I had for my self-care much more
  • I can appreciate our family and friends much more now we can’t meet up
  • I see how blessed we are to have a piece of land where we can run and play
  • I can appreciate technology more

So yeah, I know that in general it is not a nice time BUT keeping my perspective on the positiveness, I can’t show enough gratefulness to COVID-19 for giving me these insights and joys and teachable moments.

How is it going parents? Can you find some gratefulness in this craziness?

discipline, positive discipline, encouragement, parenting

Differentiating between consequence and punishment

Many of us when we think of consequences we think of punishments. Which it should not be the case as both are quite different.

Many might think that a consequence we are giving is not a punishment but simply what a child deserves. Yet there is a fine line between an actual consequence and a punishment.

Let us understand it better through this scenario: your child, an 8 year old broke a vase at home. Your instant reaction is anger and upset and we honestly just wish them to pay for causing this upset and tell them that for that day they cannot watch screen time because they broke the vase. THAT IS NOT A CONSEQUENCE…it is a punishment which ultimately means, you hurt me and I am going to hurt you back as much as possible. There is no learning outcome except that if one hurts me than I should hurt them back (especially if they are younger than me).

Now let us look at the same scenario but instead of no screen time, we wait till we are calm enough and then let them know how upset we are that they broke the vase. As a consequence, they need to pay for the vase to be replaced (or if possible they are to help fix it). You discuss together how this is going to be achieved (by saving pocket money or not giving pocket money for x amount of weeks or by doing small extra works around the house or to neighbours etc). This would be a logical consequence which is relate-able to what happened, respectful to the child, reasonable and helpful. the learning outcomes would be to be respectful, responsible, kind and helpful.

There are also what we call natural consequences. Let us look at this new scenario: Your teen would not wake up despite calling them several times and they miss the bus to school. Your reaction is to get angry and upset but despite the threats and anger you take them to school yourself so as not for them to be late. What are children learning here? They are learning that you do not mean your threats, that you will ALWAYS rescue them and so need not take responsibility for their actions.

Now we can instead let nature take its course. When they miss their bus, you let them know (not in angry tones) that they have to figure out how to get to school and speak with the head themselves to justify their lateness. You also let them know that once home you will hold a talk between you on how this issue is to be resolved (this could involve them using an alarm clock to wake alone, sleeping earlier to wake on time, insisting you will not rescue them when this happens again). Through this approach, we are teaching responsibility, self reliance, kindness and boundaries.

Therefore, before issuing your verdict on something that happens at home stop a moment and think if what you are doing is just inflicting damage or if we are teaching through natural or logical consequences.

What more help with this? Give me a call to schedule your online one hour video call.

discipline, positive discipline, encouragement, family life, parenting

Finding our rhythm

As it has been confirmed that schools will not re open this scholastic year, we are looking at the long term of being home with children, whilst working and keeping house.

It is not easy!

So this week I started by re doing our chore chart…I had slacked with my children’s input on their contribution to our home. Something I had already acknowledged but had decided to postpone till Summer starts. Yet, of course, things have now changed so we are diving in straight away into the new way of keeping house together.

I do not like the word CHORE as it feels something negative. Upon searching for inspiration online I came across: Our Home becomes whole when we work together and hence decided to use it for us.

The chores are split into 5 groups and these are attached with velcro so every week they change and every one gets to do every thing that needs to be done in our house. Mine will rarely change although some of the things like washing clothes will be assigned here and there!

Even young children aged 3 can share in the house work. Of course they need supervision and help and that’s ok, we need to give them training for them to eventually start doing them alone.

Next, I have looked at our rhythm. After much thought I came up with what I feel is a reasonable one and that will work for the whole family. My husband is working from home full time, so this rhythm is mostly for me and the children (although he will partake of it in the evenings and weekends or when I am working during school hours).

The chores listed earlier (unless they are part of the weekly house cleaning) can be done at any time of the day and not at a specified time.

After much pondering I decided to give them an hour of screen time daily and a staggering 3 hours on Sunday (although after today’s try out it will be split in 2 and not 3 hours at a go! ). I came to this decision in a simple way really. I thought of how when I was young I had no screen restrictions but it was balanced with a lot of time outside. So, with 2 hrs of movement a day it is counter balanced beautifully and the children are also happy as it meets their needs/wish of screen time.

The times are just an indication and not set in stone. What interests me is that everyone knows what will happen next. This gives them a sense of security and trust and they can relax further during this time where there is a lot of anxiety around which they can feel.

Tomorrow I will go a bit into more detail about rhythm or you can simply jump in and do the free rhythm e-course available on your own!

discipline, positive discipline, encouragement, family life, parenting

Building up a new Rhythm at home

It has been a week since the world as we know it stopped working.

In this week, the majority of us discovered a lot of new things…..things within our families that might not having been working well but suddenly the solution appeared or things which we thought were working well but upon reflection we are seeing we are better off without them.

In preparation for when our world will start functioning again in a manner we are more familiar with, I invite you to build a new rhythm within your homes. I wrote to you about observing your child earlier this week. This is an ongoing process of course, but with your discoveries so far and what you have also seen in this week as working or not, you can start quietly and slowly build a rhythm that works better and flows better for your family.

When we talk about rhythm, it is not me talking about a routine per se. Rhythm is more flowing not time restricted. It is seeing that everyone’s needs are being met, without putting a strain on the family. It is about bringing together the needs of the family and making a time table that gives comfort and nurturance to the children, yet simplicity and ease of mind to the parents.

It is about taking stock of all our current activities, all our needs, all our have tos, all our commitments and seeing that they can work together well and if not seeing what from them needs to be struck off our rhythm for the greater good of our sanity, our family and our lives.

I invite you to join my FREE rhythm e-course to help you out on this and as always drop me a line if you need further clarifications or help.