Tag Archives: parenthood

Live Inspired

Standard

I love to be inspired.

There is nothing better than that moment where it feels like something has lit a fire deep inside my belly. Where I feel compelled to write it down, to draw, to create. That feeling as the years go on has become a little more elusive, but it’s still there. I was sitting in a gorgeous little cafe in Perth with my baby girl fast asleep on my lap, flicking through an awesome new local Perth zine DotDotDash – when I felt it. It was a combination of time and place, a combination of things I loved in my pre-baby life… things that I have missed in the life I live now, mixed with my present loves. A green brain-food smoothy, organic produce, an inspirational cafe in what used to be a pretty uninspiring area, soft textured couches, my very own beautiful, sleeping child and the freedom to breathe… and there it was. Inspiration comes in a thousand forms, it pushes you to do many different things. I love it. It’s an incredible feeling, my pulse quickens, my whole body is alight and ready – creativity is there, ready and just aching to be used up.

When I felt it, I was reminded of all the times that inspiration has hit. I remembered the things I was striving for before wanderlust called and I became lost in a foreign land. I remembered the things I have always been passionate about, long before I became passionate about co-sleeping, babywearing, cloth nappies and my beautiful daughter. I remembered what used to drive me, the things that pushed me to be better, to grow faster, to create more. And I loved the way it made me feel.

Sometimes being a mama you lose a little part of who you were before. It’s a beautiful thing to love your child more than you could possibly love yourself, more than you could possibly love anything else in the world. But there comes a time, to be the best mama you can be, that you have to regain a little part of yourself for yourself. Finding the time to celebrate what makes you, you. Finding the time to allow yourself to be inspired, to make change, to grab those things that you love with both hands. I don’t know how to do this, but this moment of inspiration – it’s reminded me to try harder to find a bit more of myself in every day.

When you think you don’t have enough time to be inspired, if you think you don’t have enough time to make the change you want for yourself. Try to remember… you have exactly the same amount of hours in a day as Mother Theresa, Helen Keller, Harvey Milk, and Ghandi had. You are amazing. Have a little faith in yourself and let yourself be incredible. You are human and made of the same stuff that the worlds most inspirational people were made of. You can do anything.

What inspires you?

Advertisements

Sometimes traveling really is JUST about the destination.

Standard

I’ve always said that traveling is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. And most of the time, this is absolutely true. But this time, this time our traveling really is all about the destination, and we have arrived. Finally.

The journey is (in my experience) often better, more exciting, more enveloping, more thrilling, more educational than the final destination itself. I guess now I think about it, maybe the arrival was the best part – but the journey itself was what has helped us to grow. It wasn’t the most pleasant of experiences. But we survived it. Bo smiled through it and I put one foot in front of another. Exhausted, overwhelmed and completely depleted – we arrived.

It wasn’t easy, but the reward is totally worth it. When I saw the littlest cousins in the backseat chatting to each other from their car seats, when I floated Bo in the bath, when I ate a plate of cheeses followed by a big glass of milk… When I sat with my my sisters and their children in a cafe, when I shared dinner with my brother, when I chatted with my mum… I knew every minute was worth it.

We are back, we are rested and we are ready for a whole new adventure.

xox

 

The longest day [ever] and sleeping around…

Standard

We knew it was going to be a long day.  But we had no idea of just how long it would end up. We left the village at 2am.

We piled into the car, strapping Bo into an old simple little car capsule, dreaming of hours of sleep on the road. Dreaming was right! Bo decided that she didn’t want to sleep. For the next five hours I talked to her, read to her, tried to soothe her, tried to help her sleep. A few times I took her out of the capsule and nursed her or just held her close as we drove (not ideal, I know) and she would instantly fall asleep. I would then put her back in the capsule and she would wake within minutes.

It should take us no longer than 10 hours to get to Jakarta. It took us closer to 14 hours – we did in car feeds, play time, and even a few bumper-to-bumper nappy changes. We only just made it to the clinic (with five minutes to spare) before it shut so we could get the medical completed for our mans Australian migration  visa. we had planned to do some shopping, spend some time together, maybe get some frozen yogurt… things you dream of when you live in a village. But we had run out of time. We then spent a few hours in the car  on the way to the airport.

I was exhausted by the time we got in the line for our ticket. I was beyond exhausted. Bo had slept for maybe three hours all day long. I had slept maybe one and a half since the day before. A kept telling her it would be over soon. We would be on the plane and she could curl up in my arms and sleep soundly and undisturbed. I was wrong.

After a long line for check-in in the sweaty Jakarta airport, another long line in customs and immigration and then a two hour delay. Our flight was cancelled due to a tornado over the ocean. We then stood in another long line to get back through immigration, more stamps in our passport, then a long line to find out what was happening with refunds/reissuing of tickets. I was frazzled. I would like to thank the little man from the middle east, the love7l gentle Indonesian woman with her three year old baby and the three Lebanese Aussie guys – they helped me push trolleys, collect baggage, find passports, find sanity… they gave me comfort and helped me relax when all I wanted to do was cry. They said the next flight would be sunday night. but then they said that it might not be until Tuesday. Bo. was in her sling, watching the world. Quiet as can be. I was a train wreck.

My lovely husband turned the car around and drove the three hours he had gotten away from the airport – back to the airport. Just to help us figure otu what we were going to do. We tried to get a room at the transit hotel. It was full. So we got into a strange car, with a security guard and a driver… who promised to take us to a near by stand by hotel. My husband started the 10 hour journey home… again.

We drove through the back alleys behind the airport to a dingy little hotel. I was just glad they took us to a hotel at all. I got in locked the door. stripped Bo of her sweaty clothes and cuddled her up in bed, trying to help her relax. It was nearly 3am. We slept. I got up early to try and figure out flights. I was fried. I tried to find a solution. I was going to go to the airport with Bo and try to get on a flight standby… and get out of here… but   then I got a call from my mum. We had been rescued.

Since 11am this morning Bo and I have been holed up in a lush hotel room, on a big comfy bed. We have both slept. Bo had a five hour nap. And tomorrow morning at 3am we will leave for the airport.

Right now Bo is rolling around on the mattress next to me. A tropical storm is thundering outside and we are both warm and clean and comfortable. I realised today just how blessed I am to have a baby who is so adaptable. She was awake for seven hours without a nap yesterday and still she was quiet and smiling and chatting. She was happy to play on a blanket on the floor. She waited in lines without getting upset. She was patient even when I know she must have been hungry. She just stayed strapped to my body, calm and quiet, her big eyes looking up at me. She is a wanderers wandering daughter… and this is a pretty good start for my already-seasoned traveler… in the past 24 hours she’s slept on the floor of an airport, in my arms, in a dodgy Indonesian hotel and in one of Jakarta’s most comfortable hotels… She’s done it all.

xox Hopefully next time we will have finally arrived and be in the arms of family.

Worlds away…

Standard

It was a very quiet start to our week here in the village. With the man out making longboarding surf videos with an Aussie crew… Bo and I have been left much to our own devices since the beginning of last weekend. Bo’s been going through the  notorious – I’m[almost]-four-months-old -and-everything-is-more-interesting-than-eating [and sleeping, apparently] stage… which was driving me a little batty until I took a deep breath and reminded myself we aren’t on any schedule, just relax – the kid is clearly not starving. We’ve had long days of nothingness that have been filled with baby-babbled stories, naps [not nearly as many as we could be having mind you] – and some new favourite blogs – which in the isolation of this week have done a good job of keeping me sane. That and home made sticky sugar cake and the last of my western tea stash (it’s ok – we can restock this weekend!).

So here we are, and here we have been, just the two of us… sometimes it feels as if we are worlds away from everyone who I’ve ever known. Sometimes it feels like it’s just the three of us in this big wide world. Whilst almost all my mama friends are curled up on the couch during nap times with “Mr Grey” and his trilogy of smut (my how word travels fast the world over!) we have been laying under the fan and reading Possum Magic and Where the Wild Things Are for the 50 thousandth time this month (because nap time here is a just a lovely dream and smut would never make it in the post).

Tonight we will do the 10 hour drive to Jakarta, followed by a long day of visa-related tasks in the city, then a midnight flight back to Australia. Bo and I are heading home for a little breath of air, some family cuddles and a whole lot of cheese, bread and a rice-vacation.

We area a little behind on our posts here at Inked in Colour – sometimes village life, bad internet connections and the salty call of the sea get in the way a bit. Thank you again to all of you for your support, votes, love and wonderful comments this week. It’s always so very appreciated.

We have really enjoyed the wonderful feedback that has come through from TBB – it’s been a real surprise how many votes we have had. If you have just discovered us, love us, or have loved us for a long time… we’d love it if you’d vote for us again.

Sweet she rocks, sweet she rolls.

Standard

I never thought I could get excited by rolling. That is until of course my 3.5 month-no-longer newborn baby rolled, all by herself. She has been trying for weeks… but as of Monday afternoon she can successfully roll from back to front. It then took me four days to have my camera in hand at the same that she felt like doing it.

As you can see, we got there in the end.

xox

 

 

To inherit the earth, is our gift to them.

Standard

Bo’s birthright: it’s in her blood.

Living in the village has taught me many, many things over the past few years. I have learned to let go where I used to hold on, and I’ve learned to hold on or hold back at times where it’s no longer appropriate to let go. I’ve learned how to eat with one hand (even deboning a fish or unshelling a prawn), how to barbeque fish over hot coals and how to shower with a bucket. I’ve learned a language, a culture and an identity I didn’t know I had in me. I’ve learned how to appreciate faith, even if I don’t have a particular faith of my own.

I’ve learned a true appreciation for the luck of my birth rights, the luck that was handed to me just because I was born when and where I was. I grew up middle class. I grew up with clothes on my back and food in the fridge. There were hard years, where perhaps I was too aware of financial stress and bills piling up… but there were also many easy years where i was allowed to just be a child. I was lucky to be given the opportunity to have government support whilst i studied at university and the freedom to study what I wanted, where I wanted, when I wanted. These privileges weren’t earned. I didn’t do anything to receive them. They were inherited. They are privileges I am so honoured to be able to pass on to my daughter, and privileges I know my husband wishes he had had.

I’ve always been aware of recycling, in Australia we are very well educated when it comes to garbage disposal etc. Our government programs that actually DO the disposal haven’t quite caught up to our education, but that’s a whole different story. When I first moved to the village I was shocked that there is no garbage disposal system here. There is no dump. There are no trucks that come to collect your household waste. Waste get dumped into a hole in the front (or back) yard and gets unceremoniously burnt off when the hole gets too full. Good or bad, it’s the system here. And as I got used to the many cultural differences I have over time come to accept our rubbish hole.

The blessing of the rubbish hole is the new thinking it brings. It makes me consciously THINK about what goes into our household bin… knowing that I will have to live with seeing it in the hole for the next few months until it is burnt or covered with fallen palm fronds. We create very little household waste now. With food scraps going over the fence to the chickens, dogs, water buffalo and other wild (and not so wild) animals that pass by and using cloth nappies (who wants to live next to a pile of dirty nappies?) we are greatly reducing our impact on the local environment we are a step in the right direction.

The problem is the plastic. What can be done with all the plastic? Everything comes in a plastic bag, or two… when I go to the market (which post-Bo is not very often if at all) I try to take a canvas bag with me to avoid plastic, though some sellers are pretty insistent that their goods come wrapped in plastic. We donate our unwanted plastic bags to my mother in law who uses them at her house and in her food stall to sell her wares… is there another great use for unwanted plastic?

Maybe it takes knowing that you have to FACE your garbage every day to truly THINK about what you throw out? Whether you do already or not, it’s certainly worth considering isn’t it? We leave many things for our children. We leave them love and useless belongings. We leave them with lessons and letters and photographs. We leave them with a world that we as adults have helped create. Maybe we can’t change the politics or effect global change in a day (though I’m not saying we can’t in our lifetime… because if we all just STOOD UP we truly could) but one thing we can change is our own actions and how they impact the world around us. And maybe the simplest way to start really is by looking in your bin?

Let’s let these kids inherit the same beautiful earth that we did.

A bad taste in my mouth.

Standard

I came online today after Bo had gone down for her afternoon nap (yes, she is sleeping today – progress!) to write a post about honesty, a post about my internal struggles and to find the courage to speak. Instead of that post, I find myself compelled to write this one.

When I logged on to WordPress I read a recent comment, written by a reader in the dark cloak of last night. I’m used to wonderfully diverse comments from my readers. Some agree, and some disagree with my ideas, and I’m happy, grateful for and open to all kinds of discussion about parenting methodologies, lifestyle choices and both life and babies in general. What I am not happy to indulge in however are personal attacks.

In response to my recent posts about respect, posts in which I try to make sense of my own feelings, choices and responsibilities in this diverse and crazy world – posts where I talk about standing behind one another and our decisions… came a lengthy comment, a short essay, which not only stated quite clearly that this particular reader does not indeed agree with my decisions but went to great length to make judgement on my actions, my relationship and my [selfish] parenting of my daughter. Assumptions were made about my relationship with my husband, my background, my living situation, my daughter and indeed the village in which I live that were not only false but some of which were extremely offensive.

I have not approved the comment as I do not encourage the disrespect of anyone, myself included. But I did feel it necessary to make comment on it, I’m not sure why, I guess because I’m disappointed… disappointed that I was misread, or misunderstood… or perhaps just disappointed that this was waiting to meet me at the end of what has been a pretty difficult week for me personally. Or perhaps because after a conversation with a friend about honesty on blogs, I had prior to reading this comment decided to bear my soul a little more.

Hopefully tomorrow brings a little lightness and colour for all of us.

xox

Moments worth remembering…

Standard

Every day is a series of moments, one after the other, some worth remembering… others completely uneventful. Life with a baby has shown me that sometimes even the tiniest moment in the most uneventful of days is worth capturing, and holding onto for a lifetime.

 

Beautiful moments from a week inked in colour.

What was your most colourful moment this week?

xox

I’m on her team.

Standard

Right from the beginning: Photo by Kate Heaslip Photography

How would you like to go to a brand new place, have some strange giant pick you up, get all up in your space and repeatedly tap your face until you grimace in such a way that it convinces the giant that you’re smiling. The giant will then proceed to bounce you up and down whilst waving your arms around and banging your fists together as if you are clapping until another strange giant comes over and repeats the entire game from the beginning again… Personally, I’d rather not. I’m a big fan of my personal space. Don’t get me wrong, I can be quite affectionate, I love a good cuddle and I like being physically close to people who are important to me. I love meeting new people, but I’m always a little wary at first, just trying to find my feet before I dive right in there. I like my little personal space bubble to be respected, and I am really trying to ensure that Bo has the same respect given to her.

People love babies. There is something really magical about a little person. Their little tiny feet, their chubby hands, those cheeks… they are magnetic, there is absolutely no doubt about it. Long before I ever held my own child I felt drawn to children, the purity, the naivety, the beauty is enchanting. So I completely understand that people want to look at Bo, how could you not? She’s spectacular. I even understand when people want to squeeze those chubby pillow feet sticking out of the sling when we are at the beach. I love that people talk to her when she is in the safety of my arms – it gives her a chance to interact with the world whist still feeling secure and protected. It allows her to transition into this big world gently.

What I don’t love is people tapping her face repeatedly trying to make her smile. I don’t love people leaning in until they are an inch from her face and making loud noises at her. I don’t love people bouncing her up and down and talking loudly at her and treating her like a puppet, especially when it’s nap time and she’s tired. I don’t love people trying to pick her up out of my arms when she is snuggled in close. I certainly don’t love completely strangers trying to take her from me on the beach… whilst culturally all of these things are totally acceptable here in the village, for me however they are not. For my child, they are not. I know people don’t mean any harm… but I also know people don’t always think beyond their own little bubble.

These things don’t only happen here. They happened a lot when we were in Australia too. The only difference is that in Australia I have no qualms about telling people no, picking up my child and giving her what she needs – regardless of how that may make other ADULTS feel. Here I do the same but I’m not quite as linguistically capable of explaining my actions, so I’m afraid at times I probably come across as a real bitch.

Some people may say I coddle her, others may say I’m controlling, some people may think I’m not being respectful of my elders – there are always plenty of critics. I know there are parenting “methodologies” out there that would say I’m spoiling my child, but I don’t believe it for a second. I try to be as respectful of others as possible. But my respect for my child trumps my respect for anyone else… I’m on her team first and if that means the strange woman on the beach and the surrounding crowd think I’m awful for not handing my precious baby over to her, so be it.

One day Bo will be able to tell me how she feels, and she will be able to show me what she’s ok with and what she’s not. One day she won’t need me as her advocate (even though, let’s face it, I always will be) and she will be free to do what she feels ok with, and I will trust her implicitly to do so. For now however, I’ll protect her and build her up and by respecting her as a person I’ll help her to learn how to respect herself, something that so many young women out there have forgotten how to do.

Have you had to manage cultural expectations that have been placed on you as a parent? Have you ever had to challenge them?

The long days of the (slightly maniacal) mother of a catnapper

Standard

We have a serial cat-napper on our hands, and it might be driving me insane. Up until we moved to Indonesia Bo was a relatively good sleeper… or maybe that’s just romanticised hindsight? We had a system down-pat (a total fluke) and it was working for us in a no-routine kind of way. In fact the week before we moved Bo was sleeping 9 hours in a row at night and napping like a champion here, there and everywhere. Now however, we are completely exhausted. By we I obviously mean me, myself and I because Bo is bouncing off the walls in an energizer bunny kind of way.

Bo has decided that napping is unnecessary. And on top of that she must be attached to mama or her father at all times. And dad certainly comes a close second, she adores him. He has mastered getting her to sleep, sometimes it takes 45 minutes of slow dancing with her on the cool tiles of our lounge room (I use that room title very loosely).

She can be in an open-mouthed, floppy headed, intoxicating sleep on either of us. Or so it seems, until the exact moment you decide that your arms are burning, your eyes are bleary and for-the-love-of-god you need to go to the toilet… and then BAM – hello big brown eyes, she’s awake again and looking at you with the sparkle and cheek that I’m sure we will get to know well over the years. Then it’s party time. But in-your-arms party time because god forbid you put her down for a second. She’s not a big crier, but she’s a big shouter, and makes it quite clear that she’s not impressed by howling, grumbling or generally honking in your direction until you pick up her chubby over-tired body and hold her close – then all noises turn into happy honks and giggles and teeny-tiny-happy-wolf howls right into your ear.

From the time we get up in the morning at around 6am (after an increasing amount of middle of the night mama cuddles and feeds), until the time we start putting her down for the night at around 7pm – I spend the entire day trying to get my cat napper to sleep… then trying to keep her asleep. It’s pretty safe to say right now that NOTHING else is getting done right now as operation get-Bo-to-stay-asleep is still in full swing.

And I may be (read: am definitely) going a little loco for it.