What Are You Eating?

This post starts off with a little bit of history on myself. It’s still raw, emotional and private but somewhat necessary for the topic in this blog post. It also explains the main idea behind this blog, who and what it is about.
I had a period in my life where I was extremely unhealthy. These were in my teens years, when I was becoming more independent with food choices and was able to purchase and cook my own food. When I moved out of home as a teenager it of course got worse. I knew nothing about nutrition nor did I care about my health. I smoked a pack a day, never exercised, didn’t sleep, ate vegetables maybe twice a week and ate junk food upon junk food every single day. I suffered from anxiety and depression so severely that I was hospitalized many times over many years. I was diagnosed with every mental illness under the sun over about 10 years. This was not all down to nutrition in my case, it was also to do with being on medication that was supposed to be the answer, but in fact was half the cause  – but my story is far too big to really get into now. Perhaps one day I’ll go there (for now you should check out this doco).
A long story short, after coming off the poison (I mean, medication) I slowly cleaned up my health. I started to eat better, cut out soft drink (at one point it was 2 litres a day), quit smoking and not only did I physically improve my health but mentally I was great. I felt alive! Having been told I would never last off medication and would eventually relapse, I looked more and more into how to support myself with nutrition. The theory that mental illneses (and autism etc) can be because of lack of vitamins, minerals and general poor nutrition was a new one but made complete sense after what I’d been through personally. 
Since having a baby I’ve had a lot of questions and comments regarding the way we raise our daughter. I’ve been told I over react to what she eats and am causing her more harm than good by “denying” her of packaged process shit.
Olivia is 16 months old now and as a newborn she had “reflux” and after much investigation we discovered dairy was causing her the upset and therefore she became 100% dairy free, as did I, because I breastfed her. This is where I took a bigger dive into my healthy lifestyle. Having a baby has been wonderful for me in more ways than one!
Now my whole family tries to avoid dairy, gluten and refined sugar and we definitely stay away from colourings, preservatives, additives and all the fake stuff listed on packet food that I can’t even pronounce (a sure sign we shouldn’t be consuming it). We eat meat once a week, if not less often. We try to eat raw, and cram as many vegetables in as possible. We use superfoods on a daily basis. I make almost everything from scratch. Of course we have dairy, gluten, sugar etc on occasion. We can’t avoid it everywhere we go. Birthday parties, relatives that just don’t understand, shopping centers, it’s-a-long-car-trip food  etc. People ask “but what do you eat?” Simple answer… whole foods. 
So, what has prompted me to write this blog post? Well I read THIS ARTICLE this morning which was interesting but not surprising. It’s about the studies. by US experts, into chemicals (fluoride, pesticides etc) causing brain development disorders in infants and young children (heck, even adults) like ADHD, dyslexia and autism.
There was also recently this TED talk I watched this week about how a mother completely eliminated her daughter’s autism symptoms through diet (don’t get me started on how free glutamate is the base of all vaccines, which is furthermore food for thought [no pun intended] and again a whole new discussion). 

These days for me it is a no-brainer. But for so many others it’s a joke to them. They think it’s paranoia, or a fad, or just plain bullshit. I find the people who say that are uneducated, uninterested and scared. Don’t feel guilty, don’t be scared, because it’s never too late to change.
My point of this post is this:
We really need to think about what we are feeding our children. I feel so strongly about this since becoming a mother. I’m writing this post to raise your awareness. I can even vouch for it’s truth myself. Share the links in this post, or share the link to this blog post. Do your own research into it, educate yourselves. Become informed and aware. Make changes. Feed your family what you all deserve. Take care of your health. Without it, you are not here.

Letters to Liv #1

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Your Pa takes many beautiful photos of you, and you LOVE the camera.
Dear Olivia,
It’s now the new year – 2014. I officially can’t say “I had a baby last year”. That kinda makes me sad!
You’ll be TWO this year (okay, that’s 10 months away…). Time is flying and you are growing so quick. The last year of your life has been mind blowing. Watching you learn and grow is such a blessing. The feeling of pride in my heart is so over whelming when you work out a new puzzle or realize that you pressed that button and it did something. Cause and effect. You are very clever for your age, I believe. I love watching you do the simplest of tasks. Lately you’ve been climbing on the couch and sitting all slouched, playing with your legs absent-mindedly while you watch whatever I’ve left the TV on. 
Yes, you watch TV. Bad parenting, I know 😉 I’m selective about what you watch though. 
Educational shows: Yes. 
Grand Theft Auto 5: No.
Your Dad learnt that lesson pretty quick. Violent video games are to played when you’re in bed!
You mainly watch shows for dancing and singing and animal recognition. You love The Wiggles and Giggle and Hoot. You dance non stop to The Wiggles. You have some amazing moves, and it’s all natural, baby! You also like the theme for Charlie and Lola but your obsession with Peppa Pig was short lived. You really like the animals in Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies.
Speaking of animals you are still obsessed with cats. You love Meeka and the poor thing has put up with a lot from you. You’ve tipped water on her, ripped chunks of hair out, and twisted her tail. You share her cat biscuits with her and you smack your lips, mimicking me when I call for her. You love to offer her all your food as you walk around the backyard – watermelon, strawberries, egg, and drinks. Sadly Penny hasn’t been the same since the bushfires and you never get to play with her any more.
You are such a hilarious kid. You’re unlike any baby I’ve ever met or heard of. You make me laugh so much every day. You sing and dance and have no shame! When we go shopping you talk to at least 3 people every time! You’re rarely shy. I love that about you as I have always been the opposite. You do things to make everyone laugh and you’re just a year old! You make yourself laugh too which is a great trait kid, don’t lose it!
Last year we didn’t really celebrate Christmas. On one hand I felt like a failed parent for that. You poor child, missing out on Christmas! But we just didn’t have the finances or the heart for it this year. It’s been a hectic year, lots going on Liv… one day you’ll understand that Christmas is sometimes just at the bottom of your priority list. Luckily you are young enough to not care. You didn’t even know it was Christmas. You did enjoy ripping paper off the presents that you got. The year before last you were only 12 weeks old on Christmas day so didn’t care about presents, only the wrapping paper. This time you were able to rip that paper off and ooh and ahh over the gift inside. Then you’d walk away and get over it!
This year your Daddy and I gave you a big wooden toy cube that has different activities on it. You also got a shirt for summer and 2 wooden puzzles. One has fruit on it that have been halved and you stick them together with velcro and pretend to cut them with a wooden knife. You recognize all the fruits (watermelon, banana, strawberry and pear). We also got you a new charm for your bracelet or whatever you decide to do with them when you’re older. It’s a promise we made for every Christmas – a new charm with a story behind it. This time it was a pussy cat. You’re just so obsessed!
You might care to know that I (your mumma) had a pussy cat charm on my bracelet when I was a teenager. 
I promise this year will be a magnificent Christmas. I just don’t want it to be all about presents though.
You have also been a pain in Mumma’s bottom over the last year. You’ve hurt my back and neck so badly that I take way too much pain relief and have to get pain relief treatments all the time. You need to feed to sleep still, while I’m standing and swaying. It’s not ideal but I know it’s not forever. You don’t realize that you’re almost 11 kilos! One day I will miss it, so for now I try to cherish having you fall asleep in my arms and snuggle me all night.
I feel so complete with you in my life. I know Daddy feels the same. For this year, I’d like you to start eating more foods. More variety and more often. I worry you’re going to vanish into thin air when you have days where all you will eat is 4 strawberries. I also want you to sleep better for your sake (okay and mine). I want you to feel refreshed and awake when you get up! I also want you to KEEP YOUR DAY NAP this year. Oh Lord, please!
Everything else will fall into place. I will let you be your own little person. You’ll develop your personality more and more. You’ll experience new emotions and situations. There will be plenty of tears, plenty of tantrums I’m sure. But you can bet your teddy bear there’ll also be plenty of love, hugs, laughter and kisses (something else you love to do – kiss people!). You are so dearly loved and I can’t wait to live 2014 with you by my side, little one.
Much love,
Mumma xx

*I could write so much more in this letter, but it would go on for hundreds of pages.

Miscellaneous

The smallest things can brighten up my day. Today it was seeing 3 flowers on a plant in the backyard that was pretty burnt from the bush fire (I thought it was well and truly dead). Earlier this week it was receiving this thank you card. Regardless of the message of the card, how are those colours and cute illustrations not going to make you smile? And why is the art of sending thank you cards pretty much dead? Or sending any cards. Or sending snail mail in general..? Maybe you have someone to thank… send them a thank you card!

Parenting kindly isn’t always easy. The other day I found myself having a moment of clarity. A moment where afterwards I said “fuck I’m proud of myself”. Long story short, the babes was over-tired but struggling to
“let go” (my term) and slip into sweet baby dreams. She was fussing in my arms, biting my nipple and generally being hard to handle, despite me knowing she really needed sleep. She ended up almost hysterical, screaming and crying and flailing around, hitting me (probably not on purpose ;)).
I wanted to yell and shout back at her and cry my own tears. I wanted to shake her by the shoulders and scream “What the fuck do you want?!” But I took a breath, crouched down to her level and asked myself what kind of parent do you want to be right now? I reminded myself the quote I’ve used a lot in my 14 months of parenting: she isn’t giving you a hard time, she is having a hard time. She needed me. She walked into my open arms for a cuddle and the sniffles and tears dried up and not long later she did drift off to sleep, with sweet warm mumma milk going into her little belly. It reminded me that she picks up on my mood and my state of mind so much. As soon as I took a second to breathe and talk to myself, she responded too. How do parents just let them cry it out…? 😦
I’ve been feeling so over whelmed lately with the generosity of the community and organizations, helping those affected by the bush fires. We’ve received help from St Vinnies and the Salvos and now we have a group of strangers trying to find items for us to replace what we lost in the fire. They asked for pictures and
Yet I still feel unworthy of help and guilty almost. I sit here wanting to help those who lost their homes around me. I feel like they are the victims, not me. And then I remember that shit, yes, we did lost possessions too in the fire. 
It’s made me grateful for where I live. This community is like no other. It’s a shame a disaster like this has had to happen to bring us all together, but it’s the silver lining, in my eyes. The community has a sense of pride about it… no one is coming forward for help or handouts. Amazing yet ridiculous. 
There’s now a Christmas party being thrown by us local residents for us local residents. And then word got out about it and suddenly it was decided that no one down here (house still standing or not) should have to think about Christmas and all the drama that goes with party planning, presents, budgeting etc. So now people from all over the state are donating to our party. We’ve got the girl guide hall sorted as the venue and people are sending gifts for kids, teenagers, adults and the elderly. Everything from food, a DJ, tables, and Santa Claus is being donated to our party! It’s insane and again, over whelming. 
Big corporations (like Foodbank for example) are doing their bit for us and it’s just bloody amazing.
Before the fire, there were not even 1000 people in my town, and with only 4 or 5 streets in the suburb, we’re pretty exclusive down here… so it’s going to be a beautiful party and a good chance for us all to mingle and have some FUN after such a horrible and hard time.
Have you seen these Fairy Doors? They are fucking adorable. I wish Olivia was older, sometimes. I would buy these even if I didn’t have a child. I love the magical mystical idea of them… the tiny golden key is only able to be used by the tiny fairies for their tiny door. You can buy accessories and even themed doors for Christmas. They come in an assortment of colours and did I mention they are teeny tiny?! I’m selling them over at my homewares/gift store here. I think I’ll get one for Olivia and keep it for next Christmas… she’ll be 2 then and hopefully understand the idea!
Everything seems so out of whack lately, myself included. I’ve lost my momentum. Daily routine is gone… you’re lucky if I remember to cook the babe some lunch! I seem to be in a daze every day. I find Olivia looking bored. A 13 month old bored??? Energy levels are at an all time low.
My neck and back are giving me serious grief. Hubby is forcing me to see a chiro or masseuse or whoever will help me. He must be sick of my whinging, hah!
This year has been a shitty one. Truly. And the past 3 months in particular seem to have been the worst of it. One thing after another keeps happening or going wrong. I’m starting to feel traumatized! 
It seems like a lot of folks are copping the shake from the universe. It doesn’t just seem to be me. I read a bit about this Saturn Returning thing which apparently doesn’t apply to me because I’m only 25. Right. So I don’t know what I can blame my life being upside down on, but gosh I’m ready for some normality again. Maybe it’s because I have not one, not two, but THREE mirrors opposite my front door. I just found out this is a big no-no in Feng Shui! So um, I think they’ll look good in the hallway, hah! Onto it.

Cranky Pants: On!

Peaches Geldof (left) and Katie Hopkins.


What the actual fuck is wrong with Katie Hopkins? 

If you haven’t heard about the Katie VS Peaches video, watch this Youtube video.

I knew where the video was going just by the sour look on Katie’s face the whole time Peaches Geldof was talking. For 24 years old, Peaches comes across as a well-rounded and mature woman. Much more so than the over-tanned Katie next to her who is 14 years older! I follow Peaches on Instagram and she is always getting put down for the way she parents. She has numerous snaps of her using a forward facing baby carrier (a big no-no in regards to the development of a baby’s hips) and is always blasted for it. But then the poor girl had to be in front of paparazzi when her boy pretty much fell out of the pram as it tipped over in a pothole, and she was blasted for that too (and shame on Katie for mentioning it!) so she can’t win.

I agree with Peaches  – it’s sad that this “style” of parenting even has to have a name. I’d rather call it “instinctual parenting” if we must label it. I for one found everything I do with Olivia to be 100% instinctual. Doesn’t that mean something? Do people realize the western countries are really the odd ones out in all this? AP “guidelines” aren’t new, and they certainly aren’t a fad. 

But this video… phew!

The comments that pissed me off were ones like “When you walk into Costa, you can virtually smell the breast milk on them”, meaning the parents who practice AP.  For the record, Katie, there are women who breastfeed their babies and DON’T practice attachment parenting but that’s really not the point, is it. In this current day, we need to be encouraging breastfeeding more than ever, and not saying remarks like that which are sure to discourage new breastfeeding mothers. 

Or how about the dolly comment? Co-sleepers haven’t grown out of playing with dollies apparently! She’s got to be a joke, right? This lady…!

And the golden one she blurted out a few times “attachment parents are crap parents”. Well that’s just an insult and really got me angry! I was open-mouthed at the laptop at 7am, wanting to bitch-smack the shit out of her through the screen.

I’m proud of the way I parent. We co-sleep, breast feed, baby wear (when she lets me), and I respond to my babies cries. I’ve bonded beautifully with my daughter, and truly believe all of the AP things I do will only benefit her as she grows and develops. It won’t “spoil” her or make her too “clingy” or “dependent”. In fact, research has shown that being there for my child now actually helps a child feel safer and therefore more independent as they grow older. 

I’ve copped a lot of flack for the way I parent, from strangers, friends and sadly even my own family. But I’m really confident with the way my husband and I have chosen to parent Olivia. We feel secure in our choices and actions and we’re also lucky enough to be surrounded by a community where AP is a popular way of parenting. We have a lot of support, and I choose to surround myself with these parents, rather than the friends and family who are judgmental of us.

I’m going to say what I believe it comes down to: Katie Hopkins is so aggressively fired up about this topic because SHE FEELS GUILTY  for the way she has parented/is parenting her 6 children (3 of which are her own, 3 are step children). She obviously doesn’t feel 100% secure and comfortable with how she’s raised her kids. Do you agree?

Now have a laugh at the numerous websites taking the piss out of Katie Hopkins, such as this one.

Becoming Adult

You know what’s scaring the crap out of me?
This one:

She’s growing up so quickly. It seems she has gone through a massive developmental milestone in the last couple of weeks. She seems so much more… adult like. She understands more (I’ve been waiting to communicate for so long!) and has picked up new skills that I don’t even know where she learnt them from Her personality shines through more and more with each Wonder Week. I love watching her learn and explore, play and grow. It’s a shame we don’t have memories of this age.

I’ve come here to list some things that stick out about her at the moment:

  • She laughs at the blender, vacuum cleaner and loud noises in general.
  • She likes to fall backwards. It took a few times for her to realize she can’t do it on the floorboards – it’s an activity best reserved for the bed or couch.
  • She walks around with her hand to her ear (sometimes holding an object, even a phone) pretending to be on the phone. If the phone rings, she says “eh” “EH” “EH” “eh” “eh” while touching her ear and makes any conversation with the caller fairly difficult for me.
  • She is still obsessed with popcorn. I pop it at home, add a drizzle of good quality oil and some nutritional/savoury yeast.
  • Her love affair with The Wiggles has begun. She loves that “Do The Propeller” song and “Big Red Car”. 
  • She is completely inconsistent with her naps. Yesterday she did a solid 4 hour block. Today was not even 1 hour. She’s killin’ me.
  • She’s always getting into trouble for biting. She bites everything – the couch, the pillow case, my arm, the remote, herself, her drink bottle, the bean bag, iPhone cables… you name it. And not a typical baby suck and dribble… no this is a damn good bite. Sometimes she even clamps down and then pulls, until the object (god forbid, my nipple) slides through her teeth under extreme duress. I can’t even blame teething.
  • She is damn fast. She started walking at 10 months. These days she runs everywhere. So fast that sometimes I lose her. She’s a sneaky little thing.
  • She thinks farts are funny. As in, her own farts. She’s starting to become more bodily aware. And bodily function aware. The fun begins!
  • She already gets bored inside when it rains. Don’t we all!

Babble Box – A Review

I came across Babble Box on Instagram at first, and followed them up on their website. I fell in love with the idea behind it – once a month your child received a box full of goodies, suitable for him or her and they look forward every month to opening it and the contents are a surprise every month! They can do boxes from 0-4 years and you can choose to have it as a month-to-month set up or a 3, 6 or 12 month subscription.
And the best part about Babble Box? For every box sent each month, they give back by making a donation to a charity such as Bravehearts and Barnardos. Isn’t that lovely?

I think it’d make a great gift especially.  Imagine if you were far away from a little one, perhaps a niece or nephew, or a godchild or even a grandchild. How beautiful would it for them to receive a box every month from you? And you don’t have to worry about it every month, it’s sent out for you. Or perhaps you could order a box in advance as a birthday gift. Heck, it could be your own child that you spend 24 hours a day with and it’s still a cool idea.
So what was in the September box I received? 
Well let’s start with the packaging. Oh my! Pretty darn cute if I do say so. Not to mention it was addressed to O, not to me. I’m sure for kids who can recognize their name, this would be a thrill! O was more into the cute bear logo on the box.
After unwrapping it all and then rescuing the paper from O’s tightly clenched fists that were shoveling it into her mouth (kids are really like puppies sometimes) I found the following items inside my Babble Box. Sorry, O’s Babble Box!
Also included was the tray pictured at the top of this post, along with a toy for O:
She moves way too fast these days to capture a decent
quality pic, sorry!
I thought I’d escaped this toy for awhile… surely 11 months is too young to know how to blow into a toy trumpet? Wrong. Fucksticks. Thankfully, at 11 months her attention span is very short and therefore she only has a couple of blows into it before throwing it over her shoulder and moving on to chewing a DVD (or the lounge, or her bib, or the glass coffee table…).
My favourite item in the box was probably the pig tray. Just because it’s really cute and made from bamboo. O’s favourite item was the trumpet. She goes from being enthralled with it to being petrified of it!
Check out Babble Box and surprise a child in your life.

Jack & Jill Competition Winner!

The competition has ended for the Jack And Jill prize pack. With 12 entries, and extra points for sharing the Instagram photo, a winner was chosen today…

Becc V.
I’ve emailed the winner, and hopefully you enjoy your pack of natural toothpaste and brushes for your little one! 
Thank you for entering the competition, and thank you to Jack And Jill for the giveaway. Check out the full Jack & Jill range on their website.