This scene begins at the arts and craft shop which we shall refer to as the Hob.
Toddler: mummy can I have the bunny rabbit hat?
Mother: hmmm, let me see how …
Toddler: it’s pink mummy, I like pink. Pink is my favourite colour.
Examining the said hat for worthiness of purchase, mother concedes the purchase.
Mother: I know love, well I guess you can have it, it’s not expensive.
Toddler: Thank you mummy, can I hold it?
Walking round the shop with toddler, said hat and baby pram. Mother and crew approach an aisle filled with an array of crafts material designed to keep mother and child busy.
Toddler: mummy can I have these stickers?
Mummy: no love, you have some at home already.
Toddler: but it has lots of pink.
Mother: silently wishes for a wand to obliterate the colour pink. “Does it?”
Toddler: Yes mummy.
Mother: hmmm, how about this colouring kit? Look it has pink and purple!
Toddler: I don’t like that one, I want the sticker mummy.
Mother: I can’t get the sticker you won’t do much with it, come on chose one of these, I promise it will be fun.
Toddler accepts the offer because her favourite colours are there.
This scene ends on a positive note as mother and crew leave the shop after having spotted another sticker for half the price of the previously spotted one. Toddler is also very happy as people compliment her on her new bunny hat.
Act one scene two:
This scene takes place in a new shop, we shall refer to this shop as Ten-x.
Toddler: mummy can I have the pink top
Mummy: let me see…. hmmm it’s nice love but it’s not your size.
Toddler strolls away towards another rack.
Toddler: mummy! squealing with excitement. Mummy come, come and see this one.
Mother approaches toddler with a wary smile, knowing it would be another pink item.
Toddler: it’s a flutter shine top and it’s PINK!!
Mother smiles, looks at the price tag.
Mummy: sweetheart we can’t get this today, mummy will get it later for you when it’s on sales.
Toddler: no mummy I want this one, let’s buy it now.
And thus, the bright warlord known to you and I as the colour pink sets the stage for a good meltdown. Riding on its noble pony Flutter shine, pink sets to war, tuning up the toddler’s emotions, making the mothers effort to soothe or correct the toddler futile. Toddler cries till they leave the shop, mother works hard to stay cool and collected while wiping nasal gulp intermittently. Baby wakes up stirring up with confused eyes at his big sister. Passers-by send pitying looks at the half wailing, half distressed crew of three.
Mother and crew approach the bus stop
Toddler: mummy I have finished crying now.
Mummy: totally surprised by toddlers calm declaration, pauses mid-stride. She is surprised by the following:
the realisation, that perhaps on some level the toddler was aware that they were crying for the wrong reasons.
her ability to stay calm and watch the vibrant display by the pink warrior and her noble steed .
her ability and that of the toddler to push the sudden disaster into the recess of their mind, going on to enjoy a nice day in the sun.
Moral of the story: sometimes a good cry is all we need to rid our hearts and minds of life’s disappoint. Even when we know that our desires aren’t realistic, it’s still okay to mourn the loss of that dream/ that expectation/that hope. However, it’s not okay to live in the land of lost dreams.
Act two, scene one
Mother and toddler walk past said top in the shop again.
Toddler: mummy see! It’s the flutter shine top
Mother, slightly apprehensive.
Toddler: you’ll buy it for me later.
Walks on. Mother breathes out slowly.
Mother prays for the toddler, that her hopes and dreams in life never suffer death. That she will never regret the act of delayed gratification. That toddler will never doubt her love for her.
There are fresh flowers sitting on the table, not really my favourite kinds but they will have to do for now.
Will I ever get them picked from the garden again?
The boxes are stacked to the roofs, I really don’t know where to start. I can’t find the strength to go forward right now. Everything just feels surreal.
The mantle is bare just like my arms.
Should I put the pictures up?
Are ghosts ever a good part of the present?
The flowers are actually lovely, they smell divine but I miss tiny hands handing them to me.
Written for Friday fictioneers a writing challenge hosted by Rochelle. The picture was provided by the lovely Dale Rogerson, the task is to write a 100 words story inspired by it. Thanks Rochelle for hosting the challenge. Thank you for stopping by… do click on the link to read other stories.
“Sorry hun, but George has a cold, so no playing outside today.”
“Where’s your mum?”
“I don’t know. She went to get some milk ages ago.” mumbling the last bit he turned to leave.
“Do you want to come in and help me make some ginger biscuits for Richard?”
Like the glow of an LCD bulb his little face brightened up”Can I?”
“Sure love, come on in.”
Lines had no business crossing little faces at least that’s what I think, life, however has other ideas.
With a mother who could drink his weight in a night and a dad who only cared to show up at conception, it was a surprise Richard knew his please and thank you’s.
But who was she to judge lines still found it’s way to her little one’s face, life was a persistent artist, all one can do is try to make them bright and colourful lines.
“Do you like ginger biscuits Richard?”
In response to the writing challenge flash fiction for aspiring writers hosted by Priceless Joy click on the link to visit the blog. The photograph is from the lovely Jessica Haines (interesting photo can’t wait to see all the stories it inspires) and the challenge is to write a 100 – 150 words (+/- 25 words) story inspired by it. Do click on the link for other stories.
Failure to launch is a funny movie; Matthew McConaughey plays the lead role of a thirty-five-year-old bachelor who still lives at home with his parents and has no plans of moving out. On the surface the story seems rather straightforward, he’s simply grown cold feet to the idea of living by himself. His friends Ace and Demo are no help either as they both live with their parents at home or so it seems on the surface. Present society frowns a lot at such activities, i.e the idea of a grown adult still ‘living off his parents’. It is seen as the movie is aptly titled a ‘failure of the individual to launch’, a failure of his/her parents to nudge them in the right direction. To snip the apron strings.
We are a very independent generation, we want to spread our wings as far as possible, we want to mount the highest peaks without any aid. Parents are coerced to encourage their offspring to stand on their own two feet as soon as possible literally and figuratively. Teachers, health workers, doctors are encouraged to ask children questions that encourage independence, questions which often lead to a certain desired answer. Parents are encouraged to have sleep routines, codes of behavior and learning objectives for each child. It’s no wonder extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping are frowned upon by a lot of people.
Being independent isn’t the absence of weakness or a presence of stable strength. Being independent is having the ability to shoulder the level of responsibility appropriate for an individual’s mental and physical state per time. Individuals often aren’t aware of what they can handle which is why life steps in to throw challenges at us. For children, parents are often the tools used to point out these milestones, however, learning or surmounting these milestones must be done by the child with or without the assistance of the parent. How does this relate to extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping?
Let’s go back to the movie, Tripp (the character played by Matthew McConaughey) lives at home with his parents as a result of his fiancees’ death. He sought solace in the one place he knew he would find it, a move born out of a need. Living at home with his parents was not a problem of any sort at first. Going by his mother’s account, his presence pushed the fear of facing an empty nest with her husband into the distance future. However, at some point his presence did become a strain for them not a bad unbearable strain, rather a strain they could do without if it could be managed in a loving way that left everyone feeling happy. Sadly, in real life we have limited options either to let the process run its cause or we rudely interrupt or we intervene in the most gentle manner we can, ready to soothe ruffled feathers through the process.
This is the same with the case of extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping, no one except mother and child should decide when the process has run its due cause. It is not about nutrition as breast milk regardless of age maintains its nutritional value. It is not about independence as no child is self-sufficient at the age in question. Taking into consideration the definition of independence given in the previous paragraph one might be tempted to conclude that extended breastfeeding might hinder a child’s growth. This ideology, however, would be considered unfounded by several studies which have associated high levels of independence in children who experience constant loving and appropriate physical contact with their care givers/ parents.
There are no universal rules or manuals about parenting that fits every situation and life divide. Being independent is very important, a vital component for a balanced adult but we must be careful to help our little ones attain that height without feeling smothered or abandoned. As with everything in the life of your child, you only learn what they need or don’t need by paying attention to them and to your intuition. There is no shame in extended breastfeeding or in stopping at any point, there is, however, a sense of betrayal when your needs or your child’s need are buried under society’s acceptance or any other obligation. Don’t aggressively start the nudge for independence (fashion,mental, diet, health) or ignore the cues of independence either.
Parenting is the toughest job in the world, but your children will teach you the skills you need provided you don’t juxtapose your desires over them or interpret their needs subjective to your feelings.
She was dying to remember, he was living to forget.
A boy placed in her arms all cute and button nosed, a mother holding him a little too tight to her bossom.
A wee baba totally dependent on her for everything, a mother critical of every choice.
There had never been a time when life meant so much to her, there had never been room to add anything more to his life.
She was dying to remember, he was living to forget.
Days when he depended on her, less by choice, more from fright.
A bond of trust forever fractured.
Written for Friday fictioneers a writing challenge hosted by Rochelle. The picture was provided by Adam Ickes, the task is to write a 100 words story inspired by it. Thanks Rochelle for hosting the challenge. Thank you for stopping by… do click on the link to read other stories.
I didn’t start my breastfeeding journey with a head full of knowledge or a mind set on a particular aim. I dived in on a whim and a prayer. I went to several antenatal classes, but it was more from the angle of a newly pregnant mum many miles away from home trying to get a holistic glimpse on parenthood. I don’t think I thought of how the baby would be fed until I went to those classes. The choice to breastfeed for me started as a trial decision, if it works well if it doesn’t … two months into it and I wanted to quit, but thanks to the support I got from my sister, and Bambis, I carried on.
Through our journey and afterward I have come to learn a lot more about breastfeeding, its place in society and the importance of normalizing breastfeeding. Normalizing breastfeeding is a major public health campaign; the link between to health of a baby and well-being of the future adult makes it a very important topic. This write up will attempt to summarize my understanding of what it means to normalize breastfeeding:
To normalize breastfeeding is to welcome the different identities, social, and religious lattices that exist inside the folds of motherhood. Each phase of motherhood has a way of highlighting our abilities and shortcomings, however, it doesn’t change who we are;contemplative people or social butterflies, naturist or non-naturist and so forth. Each mother ought to be supported to breastfeed in the manner that suits her, publicly or privately.
To normalize breastfeeding is to acknowledge the effect a mother’s psychological well-being during pregnancy, baby blues and beyond has on breastfeeding. Everybody knows breastfeeding is a physical act; most do not know or acknowledge the emotional demands it places on the mother. The latter makes it twice as hard for a mother who has encountered or is encountering emotional issues to keep up long term breastfeeding. This is very important as we all know that a well-rested/balanced mother leads to a well-rested/balanced baby. (Rees, 2016)
To normalize breastfeeding is to eliminate one of the many divides that can exist in motherhood and parenting as a whole: at some point in history, infant formula was introduced as a status symbol, a commodity afforded only by the working class/wealthy mother. This relegated the breastfeeding mother to the place of an uneducated/common/unemployed mother (Nathoo & Ostry, 2009). The tides are slowly turning, but I fear it brings with it an alternate divide; nature mother vs. synthetic mother, confident mother vs. non-confident mother. These labels do more harm than good for the breastfeeding cause. The choice on how a baby is fed should be made with the optimal well-being of baby as the focus point. This in no way implies that moms wellbeing isn’t important (see point two), but if ever there was a relationship that demanded and tugged at the heartstrings of sacrifice motherhood is at the apex of such. This is a lesson that I am as yet learning.
To normalize breastfeeding is to accept that while the use of infant formula might not be an immoral act, the misuse or marketing of it might be considered unethical. This ranges from the aggressive marketing of formula to mothers in countries with poor sanitary conditions and limited access to clean water, to the distribution of formula samples to new mothers as they leave the hospital in developed countries. This has been proven to derail the breastfeeding journey for most mothers. (Bai, 2013) This point is very important to my breastfeeding journey as the first and the only bottle of formula my daughter had was a free sample from the hospital, thankfully she rejected it, I imagine if she hadn’t and I didn’t have the support network I had in place, I would probably have quit breastfeeding on another bad day.
To normalize breastfeeding is not to sexualize or to desexualize the breasts or nursing mother. Through the decades organizations standing on the back of a patriarchal society have made a sex symbol out of the woman’s breast; a tool for selling cars, luring the opposite sex and bolstering your feminine nature. On the other hand, several artworks, campaign groups, and activists have tried to desexualize the breast; I fear both sides haven’t done the nursing mother much good. She worries about feeding in public, she worries about their sexual appeal (which is changed more by pregnancy and less by breastfeeding), she worries about her own personal image, and for some, she worries about her modesty (see point 1). But at the end of the day, she just wants to feed her child in peace and sincerely she doesn’t care if they are sexual or not, those things are secondary. The breast is both a sexual and nurturing organ, it was designed to carry out both roles, and they are not mutually exclusive.
To normalize breastfeeding is to accept the previous methods of feeding in the past and align with the present research. This is especially important for people in the medical field, it is true that at some point in history formula was branded the perfect solution for feeding an infant (several reasons have being proffered as to how formula came to be so dominant: some attribute it to an increase in mothers joining the workforce making it necessary for a child-minder to have a ready supply of food, it has also being linked to the industrialization of milk production while others believe it was probably due to a need to have children grow up faster after the war, as breast milk was thought to be insufficient for quick growth), however present research refutes that claim. It is important that medical professionals embrace breastfeeding in its entity, as this will enable them to make sound decisions on how best to support a mother without feeling cajoled to say keep trying even when they can see whatever form of feeding isn’t helping mother or baby. The pressure shouldn’t be to promote either formula or breastfeeding, the demand should be to handle each case individually with the best outcome for both mother and baby in view, regardless of how they were fed or how they fed their own children.
To normalize breastfeeding is to acknowledge the true history of breastfeeding and infant substitutes: finally, we must acknowledge that infant substitutes have always existed in the past, however, the ratio of children who needed it as against those who were breastfed either by their mothers or a wet nurse were few. Babies were fed using different instruments and substitutes including terracotta pots, donkey’s milk, pap, and soaked bread (Dailey, 2014). Formula probably became popular as it was the one substitute which could be transported around the world, had more sterilized equipment, and thus had a lower probability of causing food poisoning when compared to others.
To normalize breastfeeding is to start baby on the best diet known to man.
Sorry for the mix-up, scheduled the post wrongly and had to repost it again. Breastfeeding week starts on the 18th of this month, I hope we all join in to celebrate it, if you’re new here (i.e. to livehomeandaway) I hope you find this part of my life as interesting as the rest.