A decision, once made, is rarely made for good where I am concerned. If you have no tolerance for dithering and self-doubt, skip this post! Things sometimes get so ridiculously tangled up in my head...
At least a year ago I came to the conclusion that beginning to keep kosher was the right thing to do, for me. The rest of the family aren't (the children so far as I control what I buy but not so far as what other people feed them). The other day, I started having cravings for pork, and did I stick to my principles? Did I heck. I justified the decision to buy a sausage sandwich, in spite of all my reasons for keeping kosher in the first place. I had a stomach ache for the rest of the day - perhaps psychosomatic, but self-inflicted either way. Stupid.
EC worked so well for us, one way or another, with other babies. Sometimes by instinct, sometimes by timing, sometimes by clear signals from our babies. And yet here I am, feeling an utter failure on that score. Talia wears nappies. Almost full time. I sometimes catch a signal and do something about it, but far more often I swear she has just peed on me without even stirring - and far more often I go from activity to activity and realise I haven't even changed her nappy all morning. So much for the smug self-congratulatory things I said as a new parent about never leaving my child in a wet nappy!
Actually, maybe I should just try to stop processing and questioning so damn much, because since I started writing this I have taken her to the toilet twice successfully. What is it with me? Seriously?
And these are the "easy" things - the things that at least I still have clear ideals in my head and can work at, gently, not beating myself up with them, but learning and moving forwards... There is a goal. I DO believe that humans are meant for a kosher diet (specifically, that "unclean" meats and fish are not fit for consumption). I DO believe that EC is possible and desirable where and when it's working, and that it can and will work more often for us as time goes on - even if it's only ever part time.
Some things I fight and fight and still can't fix. Talia crying while I put out some other domestic fire... Squabbles between siblings. NORMAL everyday stuff. Oh how I undervalued those long boring quiet domestic days when Jenna was small. She cried a lot more, I KNOW that, but certainly I was more free to be there with her while she did so.
I find myself calling, "I'm coming baby, I'm sorry, I know, I'm COMING." She doesn't understand, but it makes me feel slightly better.
Attachment Parenting is not failing me - and I'm not failing at it. All a written-down set of ideals can give me is the reassurance I sought - is it OK to follow my heart and Be Present with my baby? Answer: sure, go right ahead. There is evidence to support your hearts yearning to be there for this little person.
And I'm not failing. Just the ideal right here right now in the real world looks different to how it looked when I had more hands (or fewer people and things which those hands had to attend to) and different to how I thought it might...
Other ideals are more loosely held. I still believe that plastic isn't a great thing to have around, and yet and yet... Is it an increase in maturity to "give in" and take my children's stated desires into account when buying? How can they understand all the ins and outs of why we do what we do to make an informed choice about buying - yet how can I judge their choices "poor" when they make those choices joyfully and instinctively.
I don't want plastic toys. But they aren't my toys. I go back and forth, back and forth.
The children have some plastic toys now.
This world is just so... pervasive. *want to go live in a cave with only wholesome things around us*
Only partly kidding.
Jenna is using worksheets again. I feel the wrongness of them, it niggles at me. These are cheap junk-food; not the wholesome filling educational experiences I want to provide to her. How far do I choose what to offer, how far do I go with what is *here* and *now* and working - or at least not hurting? (Morgan asks for worksheets: I still give her my sneaky-mama substitutes of form drawing and mandala colouring and mazes!)
That word, "no". Oh heaven help me, my Waldorf heart tugs against my Radical Unschooling head.
Does anyone have any idea what I'm wittering on about?
OK, this is it: sometimes I have no idea what I'm doing. Sometimes my ideals prove themselves to be faulty in the outworking. Sometimes the ideals are fine and real life is just not like that. Sometimes I am not able. And sometimes I don't even have the first idea where to start puzzling, testing, tasting what is good, what is right for us, what is true and wholesome.
So I come back, again, and again, to love.
Love is always right. Kindness, truth, joy, peace, patience, self-control, gentleness: these I can trust.
When I ask myself, "is this kind?" Wow. I get the answers I am looking for more often than not - and the times I don't, maybe, just maybe, I'm just asking the wrong questions and stressing about things that are really minor matters of personal preference.
Love is always right.