Mamatography Week 47: In and Out

Time is just not on my side these days. With two children to look after and everything else that’s on my plate, my time online is fairly limited, and when I finally get round to it, I’m normally too tired to do much more than I have to.

321/366 – A smile a minute

My mother spent almost a week in hospital after paliative surgery, and we visited daily. Aviya took a fancy to the sick bucket which we put on her as a hat. Fun times. The things you do to amuse yourself in hospital. 322/366 – Horsey, horsey, don’t you stop

We went to a street festival in Mt Lawley, Perth with my dad. It was sweltering hot, so the energy levels were a little low, but Ameli went on a horse ride, which she loved! 323/366 – Perth City Open Top Bus Tour

We decided to grab a touristy day while we can, so my gran, sister and the girls and I went on an Open Top Bus tour of Perth city. Ironically, with all our up and down to the hospital and getting lost repeatedly without GPS we’ve seen most of the areas the tour showed us, but at least they gave us more information that you get on the map! The first picture is Perth from Kings Park, the second are locks that lovers and sweethearts have fastened outside the Bell Tower (I’d love to know how many of those relationships are still going!) Bottom left the girls are ‘chatting’ to each other, and right is Aviya, fast asleep and unfussed by the tour!

324/366 – Coffee Time
A girl after her mama’s heart, Ameli loves ‘coffee’ – babychinnos are the best since they don’t contain any caffeine, but she feels like she’s having coffee too!

326/366 – Christmas Decorations

It’s Christmas time, but sweltering in the heat, it  doesn’t feel like it. I always missed summer Christmases my first few years in England. Then I spent a Christmas in South Africa two years ago and it just didn’t feel like Christmas! I missed the cold, the dark, the pretty lights, the mulled wine. I miss those again this year. It’s just too hot to get into the spirit of things! But we’re trying with some home made decorations!

Are you thinking of joining us next year? Or perhaps you did this year and want to try again! Keep an eye out for the anouncements for Mamatography 2013!

Mamatography Week 46: The Brighter Side Of Life

To say my girls are the highlight of my days right now would be an understatement. It’s hard being a (temporary)single parent, but I couldn’t imagine not having the light they bring to my life daily.

314/366 – Cohunu Koala Park

We needed a day ‘off’ to regroup in our little family unit, so the girls and I went to Cohunu Park near Armadale, Perth, where we they got to stroke Koala bears. You know how kids sometimes come up with such funny things? Well, today Ameli was on a roll!

“Don’t be scared, Kanga. I’m your friend” – cue melting Mama!

The Kwagga at the bottom, she says, “Look Mama! He ate too much!” So funny.

315/366 – Playpark Girlies

There’s something so awesome about seeing your babies playing together. I’m in love with them.

316/366 – Mama’s Girl

I do not remember where we were or what we were doing or who I was waiting for that we were sitting in the car but I love this photo. She’s so beautiful.

317/366 – Handmade Birthday

It’s Oupa’s birthday – my dad – and we’re on a budget, so we bought a potplant (my dad loves plants!) and some stickers, and Ameli decorated the pot. We also made cupcakes for his office, which we took in. As she walked into the office, unrehearsed she said, “Happy Birthday Oupa.” It was really sweet. Some of my parents friends came round for a light finger supper and all in all, it was a great day!

319/366 –  Playgroup 

We’ve been so blessed since we arrived in Perth to have a local Attachment Parenting playgroup not very far from us. Every Wednesday we go to this new group and slowly but surely we’re getting to know people and making friends. This is an awesome thing. Having a group of like-minded people around makes everything else so very much easier, even if it is just for 90 minutes a week.

Also, look at that pose – Aviya’s crawling like an old pro. It’s amazing how quickly my little baby is growing.

Letter To An 8 Month Old – Dear Aviya

My dearest Squidgeling,

You are eight months old and a continued source of awesomeness and joy.

When your sister was a baby I used to think she filled my quota of awe, amazement and wonderment. I worried that when you came along, it would all be old news. It turns out, however, that you are so different, and have such different personalities, even now, that you show me entirely new sides that I’ve never seen before. You remind me of some previous amazements that I’d forgotten, and you take me to new places of thrill and excitement every day.  (more…)

Mamatography: Week 45 – Quietly Busy

A bit of a mix and match this week. I’m so busy all the time, and exhausted whenever I sit down from more than a minute at a time, but what have I been busy with? Heaven only knows!

306/366 – How Do Single Parents Get To Shower?

Are you a single parent? And you practice AP too? I’d like to take this moment to get you to pat yourself on the back. It’s bloody hard work being a single attachment parent. I’m doing okay now, but this first week? With jet lag? And children who refused to sleep at night but slept in the day? Mama Fail. But we’re back on track! I am so grateful to this chart for reminding me of who my child is, and for how best to support her. Oh and to Winnie the Pooh for letting me have a shower in peace!

307/366 – Lunch Time

Breastfeeding in Public

Stopping for a snack after a radiology visit, Aviya got hungry too. She had her milk and my mother took a photo, saying ‘It makes a midwife happy to see’. It gives me a deep and sincere sense of gratitude that my mother is so supportive. It’s made my life and my choices so much easier.

We’ve not really had much time for much by way of touristy stuff while we’ve been here in Perth. We’re not here to travel, sure, but I do still like to get out and about and have a look over the place I’m staying. Here’s Ameli, Aviya and myself on the treetop walk in King’s Park. It was lovely to be tourists, even just for an afternoon!

308/366 – Daddy Skype

I’m so grateful for technology. Without it, Ameli wouldn’t see her daddy daily, we wouldn’t get to chat a number of times a day and family communications wouldn’t be what they are. I’m so grateful in this time of separation that we at least have that.

310/366 – First Foods

I can barely believe that my baby is weaning already. I know she’s eight months old now, so it’s probably about time, but I still can’t believe how the time has gone by. What a beauty she is.

311/366 – Out And About

An early morning stroll, out and about. Ameli and Aviya woke early so I took them to the park. Aviya slept the whole way there – no fair! I was so tired, but hey ho. Mamas run on cuddles and coffee, right? Well, this mama does.

Children in (Volunteering) Service

I have plenty memories of volunteering in various places as a child. There was an animal shelter we’d go to every Saturday and help clean out the cages. There were kids we’d visit in hospitals. Later, in highschool, we used to visit elderly people in an old age home and sing to them, read to them, or just do odd jobs for them. We fundraised for our club or for trips by washing cars or baking and selling cakes. We went to a very rural school in South Africa (Venda, actually) and helped with the building of a new classroom, and painted buildings in our own school. We even worked with street children at one stage. As a school group, we were very active in community and volunteering projects, and at home, my parents encouraged the same.

There were a few places we went, during the course of my childhood, Delmas, Kwasisa Bantu, Petra – all mission stations, mission schools, and outreach programmes – where we were shared in the duties of the community.

My parents were active examples of how to volunteer, always there for other people, always helping people out, caring for others and the reality of other people’s lives. I’m incredibly grateful for these experiences. I truly believe that they’ve shaped who I’ve become, and it’s something I hope to pass on to my own children too because I believe there are valuable lessons to be learned from volunteering:

  • I believe that in volunteering a child learns skills they wouldn’t have necessarily have been exposed to – painting, bricklaying, cleaning, cataloguing library books, are just a few of the ones I was involved in.
  • In volunteering, children are shown that there is more to life than the life they know and that some people have a really hard time of it, have no families, have no food or are left alone and forgotten (like children or old people who have no visitors in hospital)
  • Children learn compassion by seeing other people in less than desirable circumstances – they notice the forgotten, the street children, the homeless. They learn to not be afraid of things they don’t understand.
  • There has been some research that has shown that children who are involved in volunteering have more of an interest in their community – which makes perfect sense, really – we all care more about the things we’re interested in.
  • It gives children a sense of value, and of worth, within the context of their community and environment, teaching them that every act of kindness matters.

“One kernel is felt in a hogshead; one drop of water helps to swell the ocean; a spark of fire helps to give light to the world. None are too small, too feeble, too poor to be of service. Think of this and act.” Hannah More

I would like to think that I am raising my children to be more concerned about the environment than celebrities, more focussed on what they can give than what they receive, and aware of the feelings and realities of life as faced by other people.

I hope that, when the time comes, and they can start reaching out, no matter how child-like the act may be, I hope that it will instill in them a sense of service, and of kindness and of giving back. I don’t believe it’s ever too early to start, and as JC Penney said, ““How can we expect our children to know and experience the joy of giving unless we teach them that the greater pleasure in life lies in the art of giving rather than receiving.”



Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon November 13 with all the carnival links.)

  • Acts of Service: The Great Neighborhood Clean Up — Sarah at Firmly Planted shares how her daughter’s irritation with litter led to eekly cleanups.
  • Running for Charity — Find out how Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction uses her love of running and a great new app to help feed the hungry.
  • 50 Family Friendly Community Service Project Ideas — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares a list of 50 family-friendly community service project ideas that are easy to incorporate to your daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonal rhythmn.
  • Volunteering with a Child — Volunteer work does not need to be put on hold while we raise our children. Jenn of Monkey Butt Junction discusses some creative options for volunteering with a child at Natural Parents Network.
  • Family Service Project: Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina — Erika at Cinco de Mommy volunteers with her children at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, where 29% of the recipients are children.
  • Family Service Learning: Advent Calendar — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school offers her family’s approach to some holiday-related community service by sharing their community focused Advent Calendar. She includes so tips and suggestions for making your own in time for this year’s holidays.
  • How to make street crossing flags as a family service project — Lauren at Hobo Mama offers a tutorial for an easy and relatively kid-friendly project that will engage young pedestrians.
  • Pieces of the Puzzle — Because of an experience Laura from Pug in the Kitchen had as a child, she’s excited to show her children how they can reach out to others and be a blessing.
  • Appalachian Bear Rescue — Erica at ChildOrganics shares how saving pennies, acorns and hickory nuts go a long way in helping rescue orphaned and injured black bears.
  • Volunteering to Burnout and Back — Jorje of Momma Jorje has volunteered to the point of burnout and back again… but how to involve little ones in giving back?
  • How to Help Your Kids Develop Compassion through Service Projects — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares service projects her family has done along with links to lots of resources for service projects you can do with your children.
  • Involving Young Children in Service — Leanna at All Done Monkey, the mother of a toddler, reflects on how to make service a joyful experience for young children.
  • A Letter to My Mama — Dionna at Code Name: Mama has dedicated her life to service, just like her own mama. Today Dionna is thanking her mother for so richly blessing her.
  • 5 Ways to Serve Others When You Have Small Children — It can be tough to volunteer with young children. Jennifer at Our Muddy Boots shares how her family looks for opportunities to serve in every day life.
  • When Giving It Away Is Too Hard for Mommy — Jade at Looking Through Jade Glass But Dimly lets her children choose the charity for the family but struggles when her children’s generosity extends to giving away treasured keepsakes.
  • Community Service Through Everyday Compassion — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children calls us to Community Service Through Everyday Compassion; sometimes it is the small things we can do everyday that make the greater impacts.
  • School Bags and Glad RagsAlt Family are trying to spread a little love this Christmas time by involving the kids in a bit of charity giving.
  • Children in (Volunteering) Service — Luschka at Diary of a First Child reminisces on her own experiences of volunteering as a child, reflects on what she thinks volunteering teaches children and how she hopes voluntary service will impact on her own children.


How To Raise A Child While Disciplining Less

Elisabeth from Manic Mrs Stone posted this (via The Child Whisperer) a couple of days ago, and I have not been able to get it off my mind. My life circumstances are such at the moment that Ameli is in a different country, in a new home, missing her daddy something fierce and surrounded by other people, many with different parenting ideas to my own. This graph came to me at just the right time, and confirmed for me what I know about my child, and about how best to manage her time, encourage her stimulation and in so doing, prevent tantrums and the ‘need’ for discipline.

I know that 9 times out of 10, when she needs to be ‘disciplined’, it’s because I’ve dropped the ball. (For example, she’s done something ‘naughty’ because she was bored because I was chatting away on my phone!)

Anyway, I hope this graph sheds some light for you, or reminds you how to respond to your child’s needs.

On Sale now until May 2014 – an amazing resource for mindful parents. None of these books will tell you how to raise your child, but they will help, inspire and encourage you along the path, giving you new insight and advice: The Essential Parenting Collection. See also Encouraging Words For Kids

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