Parenting Made Easy ~ 3 Ways To Make Raising Children Fun!

Motherhood for me is deeply fulfilling and rewarding. My heart smiles in warm fuzzy bliss every night before bed when I reflect on the joyful day I had, playing with and raising my cosmic son. At times motherhood can also be challenging, pushing me to go deeper into my heart and mind, healing unconscious patterns and tapping into an endless spring of patience, love, and understanding. Being someone who has done a lot of inner work (breath work, meditation, raw foods, yoga, traveling, journaling, space clearing, emotional upgrades, dancing, power of now, decrees, conscious language, etc), I can attest to the fact that motherhood is one of the most powerful transformational tools available. Ram Dass states, “If you think you’re enlightened go spend a week with your family.” Our children are our biggest mirrors. They bring to our awareness anything inside of us which is less than light and love. Because their emotions are so raw and uncensored they bring up our own buried primitive emotions in a way nothing else can. If we are conscious about it we can transform our deeply buried pain into joy and wholeness. If we resist or unconsciously react we only strengthen our limited patterns. By being a parent we not only have the opportunity to re-parent ourselves, healing negative generational patterns and altering the course of our DNA for eternity, we also learn what truly matters in life. To love, explore, play, grow, laugh and have fun! Having fun is important. It keeps us inspired, alive, and beautiful.

17 1/2 month old David

For the last week or two I have been feeling challenged with my 18 month old son. I find myself annoyed at him frequently. I am resisting his behavior and focusing too much on what others think than looking within and upgrading my own attitude and viewpoint. At times like this, when I realize I am not having fun, I take a deep breath, connect with my core, and ask myself how I can enjoy this moment fully. Today I desire to share with you the answer to my question. The following three principles are what I use to help make motherhood as easy and fun as possible.

1. Eat, Sleep, and Be Merry! Motherhood is most challenging when our children are grumpy, sick, and fussy. Agreed? A large percentage of this behavior can be attributed to hunger, tiredness, and environmental toxins. By feeding your child a whole foods organic diet, helping him/her create healthy sleep habits, and eliminating as many pollutants from your life as possible, you will be surprised at how happy and healthy s/he can be. First, let’s talk about food. My son, David, has never been sick once in his 18 months of life (only a few runny/stuffy noses from teething) and I attribute a large part of this to his healthy pure diet, and the fact that I still breastfeed him, which gives him extra immunity support. There is a lot of information on nutrition today. It is not for me to suggest what is best for you and your child, however, there are a few basic principles everyone should apply if they desire truly healthy children. Avoiding sugary and processed food is a must. Eating a diet rich in organic or homegrown fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lentils, soaked and fermented whole grains, herbs, and superfoods is highly beneficial. If you do choose to consume animal products it is vital to hunt for it yourself or purchase from organic farms you can trust. We purchase our veggies from Paul, one of our friends at the Mckinney Farmers Market who does not use any type of spray on his produce. We purchase our eggs from a Mennonite family who we know treats their animals well. Sadly, even organic produce is sprayed with “approved” pesticides and animals who are raised “organically” are not necessarily raised lovingly. It is important to make sure your child is well hydrated and eating regularly (hunger can mess with your child’s hormones and cause unwanted behavior). Offer him/her fresh spring water, fresh squeezed veggie juices, and herbal teas frequently. Sometimes a child’s moodiness or inability to sleep or concentrate is related to allergies. You can either avoid common foods which produce allergens (wheat, soy, dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, and sulfites) or get your child tested for his/her specific allergies.

14 month old David enjoying raw superfood cookies made out of hemp seeds, coconut, lucuma, mesquite, and honey

The concentration of synthetic hormones, pesticides, heavy metals, and food additives in conventional food is truly outrageous! Children are particularly vulnerable to these toxins because their brains and bodies are still immature. Certain food additives reduce levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, resulting in hyperactive behavior in sensitive children. Many parents have attributed autism to heavy metals which disrupt bodily function. I recently watched a documentary called Homo Toxicus, which talks about the affect chemicals have on our bodies. In the Arctic, where they consume large amounts of raw fish (contaminated with mercury) there is an epidemic of ear infections in babies and deafness among Inuit youth. So much so that teachers must wear microphones so their class can hear them. Aboriginal families living beside chemical factories in Sarnia, Ontario, are suffering from infertility, miscarriages and a dramatic decline in male offspring. Farmers exposed to atrazine, 2,4-D and dinoseb, which are common pesticides used on crops, show high risk of infertility. Sperm count is low among many and some are unable to produce male children. Male frogs and fish around these agricultural sites don’t fully develop into males. They behave as females and can even be impregnated to produce male offspring. Bisphenol A (BPA), found in plastics, is easily absorbed in our bodies, mimicking our hormones and causing thyroid irregularities (especially in pregnant women), neurological changes affecting memory and mood, and earlier onset of puberty. These plastics can be found in water bottles, liners of tin cans, plastic dental fillings, polycarbonate camera bodies, thermal receipts (such as those printed at the gas pump or ATM), plastic toys (another good reason David doesn’t play with toys unless he is around people who own them), etc. Our entire planet is contaminated with thousands of chemicals and toxins. There is no where we can go which is 100% pure and protected. The best we can do to ease this burden on our children is feed them healthy food and pure water and live in a clean and green way.

15 1/2 month old David picking and eating juniper berries

Consuming a healthy diet and reducing toxic exposure will go a long way in helping children enjoy deep restful sleep. It’s also important to create a peaceful daily rhythm, give them plenty of sun, fresh air, and exercise, and soothe, nurse, or read them to sleep so their dreams are peaceful and serene. Contrary to popular opinion, the “cry it out” method does not create healthy sleep habits. I know several people who have insomnia who were left to cry it out as children. I am not saying this is necessarily related, I am only saying that it obviously doesn’t create long lasting results. It is a heartless technique created by “logical” men and not by woman’s intuition.

Sleeping blissfully next to mama

2. Wide Open Spaces: Children need space and freedom to explore, to get dirty, to connect with mother earth, to touch, taste, hear, smell, see, and think without someone constantly over their shoulder telling them what they can and can’t do. A young child’s brain system structures concepts from his/her direct sensory interaction with material things and the workings of the world. Parents who keep their children in confined spaces and restricted from physically interacting with their environment stunt their growth and go against their natural instincts. This creates inner conflict in the child’s emotional body. On the one hand he/she desires to keep the bond with his/her parents and on the other hand he/she has a strong inner drive to find out what this world is about. I love this powerful quote from Magical Child, by Joseph Pearce, “The parents (of the magical child) do not subject the child to situations in which arbitrary boundaries block his/her biological thrust toward exploration. They do not take the eighteen-month-old into a public restaurant for a few leisurely hours, because they know that s/he cannot interact with such a world for long. They know that s/he has no logical machinery for grasping the subtleties of a blocked situation, that s/he has only intent driving him/her. They know that situations blocking intent produce anxiety, so they do not tempt him/her with situations offering frustration. They are responsible for their child, and they recognize that his/her physical setting is as vital as the quality of his/her food.”

13 1/2 month old David exploring our land

Recently we visited some of our friends for a fun community event. They own a lot of things which are off limits for David to touch. Instead of enjoying my friends I spent the whole time following David around, telling him not to touch this or that. Obviously he did not like this treatment and within an hour or two he was being fussy, restless, and defiant. Realizing David required some fresh air and freedom, we left their home and went to the nearest park. When we got out of our car and placed David on the grass barefoot, he looked around, smiled at us and started clapping! In essence he was thanking us for understanding what he truly needed. When I think of how important it is for children to explore their world in a very physical way, I relax about him eating unripe blueberries off our bushes, picking up dried horse poop on our walks, playing with bugs that could potentially sting or bite him, and pretending to clean our toilet with the toilet brush. Who cares?!! He is learning through experience and that is what matters most :)

We are very fortunate to live on 17 acres of land with a big fenced-in yard which is completely safe for David to freely roam around. Many days I lay on my hammock and watch him play with bugs, pick up rocks, quietly contemplate nature, and make up games using sticks, flower pots, and water. This is ideal. Second best would be having a small yard which you transform into an interesting forest garden play area. Third best would be to enjoy long daily visits to an awesome park.

15 1/2 month old David playing on our land, wild and free!

3. R.E.S.P.E.C.T: Respecting your child means viewing and treating him/her as a sovereign being, sent to this planet already equipped with a blueprint for how to fulfill his/her divine mission. It means using clear communication with him/her and allowing him/her to make as many of his/her own decisions as possible. Picture this… You have in your arms a beautiful newborn baby boy. He is absolutely perfect! Well, except for the fact that he wants to be held 24/7 and nurse all day and night. He also requests to be rocked to sleep for all his naps and before bed. He even prefers for you to sleep with him at night because he doesn’t sleep as well when you are not close to him. When he starts crawling he gets into everything, touching and putting anything he finds in his mouth. He doesn’t like you to dress him and actually prefers to be stark naked and diaper free. As he grows older he wants to be tossed in the air, twirled, pushed on the swing, and taken on walks one hundred times a day. He tells you no and hates being in the car seat. Instead of eating a good solid meal he snacks throughout the day. He is stubborn and desires to do everything himself, from putting his clothes on to helping you around the house. This makes getting things done take 10 times longer. He talks incessantly and asks a thousand questions a day. As he grows older all he desires to do is play, play, play. He hates going to school and asks you to read him a story for an hour before bed. When he becomes a teenager he becomes obsessed with playing his guitar and “hanging out” with his friends. He rebels against school and authority figures because he just cant understand how the things he is being taught will apply to his future.

How do you feel about your perfect child now? Is he still perfect or in need of serious discipline, shaping, and correcting? In western cultures, especially, the common thing to do with a child like this is to train him, show him who the authority figure is, ignore his desires, and teach him that life is full of disapointments and he can’t always get what he wants. They do this because they feel it is “best for him,” but in fact, every single thing I mentioned above, every behavior and desire this child had is vital to his optimal physical, emotional, and intellectual growth.

Am I still perfect Mommy?

Some advanced societies actually view their children as a type of deity. Jesus said, “Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). We as adults have in many ways forgotten our connection to life and the divine. Children can see through our lies and social niceties. They live life in a non-judgmental and joyful way, following their heart and intuition. We would be wise to allow our children to influence us more than we influence them. I have so much more I could write on this subject, but since this post is already super long, I will just say that good things come to us when we take into consideration our children’s feelings. For example, when my son was 11 months old he HATED being in his car seat and going on car rides. He would scream inconsolably most of the way to and from our destinations. I finally stopped resisting his behavior and took a deep look into what my son was experiencing. He had just taken his first steps 2 months earlier and was really perfecting his walking skills. With his new found freedom and range of motion, being strapped in the car seat was the last place he desired to be. Bryan and I decided to go on a 2 week car strike. We didn’t take him anywhere and allowed him free play inside our car every day. This was the very first time I went grocery shopping on my own! After our car strike we slowly started going places again. To our delight and surprise, he was calm and content in the car seat! Those two weeks saved us months of torture!

14 1/2 month old David calmly enjoying hackberries in his car seat

When it comes to raising children, a step back may be a step forward. Studies show holding your newborn all day and sleeping with him/her at night makes him/her more independent in the future. Allowing children to engage in rough and tumble play actually develops higher brain functions and the ability to handle strong emotions when older. And giving them more choices as a teenager enables them to be more confident and make better choices when they are adults. When we honor what our children ask from us, we not only make our life easier because we are not resisting or fighting against their will, we are also giving them what they truly need to become the intelligent, happy, and amazing people they are meant to be.

P.S. To learn more advanced parenting techniques click here for books and information on how to raise a super being.

Baby It’s Cold Outside ~ Rewild Your Child

Alright, so it’s not really cold outside. Spring is basically here in Texas. Elm and redbud trees are budding, the ground is covered with filaree, dandelion, henbit and periwinkle flowers, and our peach, pear, apricot trees and blueberry bushes are blossoming!! We have been doing a massive amount of seed planting lately, preparing for our paradise garden. Hence the absence of a post last week. Although this winter has been mild, we still had a few cold days and below freezing nights. We used this unique opportunity to rewild ourselves and rewild our child.

Many of you may remember from this post that we keep our son naked most of the time. Even in the winter he is happily running around in his birthday suit. Although we do put more clothing on him when it is cold outside, and especially when he expresses a desire to be warm, I would estimate he has been naked about 80% of the time this winter. Because we didn’t over dress him and because we allowed him to experience the elements uncensored, he is now completely comfortable playing outside naked in 40 to 50 degree weather! I think this is amazing because he didn’t start out this way. The first time a cold front came through David ran inside as fast as he could! I know there are babies who can withstand much colder temperatures though, even playing naked in the snow! Who knows, maybe David (and I) will get there some day too. :)

David playing outside naked in 50 degree weather

Don’t get me wrong! I am in no way a subscriber to the eagle dad method, where you force your child to run in the snow for his “own good.” I feel children (and adults) should only do what they are ready and willing to do. This is the only way true learning takes place. For example, in The Continuum Concept, Jean Liedloff explains how the Yequana people, from birth, train their babies and toddlers to navigate dangerous waters, all the while respecting their children’s will and comfort. “The yequana take advantage of the babies predisposition to this sort of performance and, keeping his rules and respecting his go ahead signals, dip him into more and more challenging waters. A daily bath is routine from birth, but every infant is also dipped into fast rivers; first only his feet, then his legs, then his entire body. The water goes from swift to swifter and on to plunging rapids and falls, and the time of exposure lengthens too, as the baby’s response reveals growing confidence. Before he can walk or even think, a Yequana baby is well on his way toward expertise on judging the force, direction, and depth of water by sight. His people are among the finest white-water canoeists in the world.” I also read somewhere a while back that in South America, mothers will prepare their babies for consuming their normal spicy cuisine by adding just a tiny amount of spice to their baby food, increasing it little by little until the child is ready for the kind of intense spiciness the adults can handle.

How we “trained” David to handle cold weather was first to keep him naked inside where we kept our home warm. Then we would leave our front door open when we went outside, allowing David to stay inside or follow us at will. At first he would choose to stay inside and watch us through the window as we played or hung laundry up on our clothes line. Little by little, because of his desire to be with us, he would step one foot out the door, then another. Soon he was hanging out on our front porch. And eventually playing barefoot and bare bottomed in our yard. In the beginning we witnessed him squeezing his muscles and grunting a lot. We realized he was learning how to warm himself up from the inside. Sometimes we would carry him outside for short bursts of time, like when we would take our compost out or check our mail. He was naked, but also snuggled next to us in our arms or in a sling and never seemed to mind. Last year, during his first winter, it was colder, and that is when we began to prepare him to handle cold weather. I would keep him naked or only lightly clothed next to me in the moby wrap. My body temperature would warm him up and keep his temperature regulated without over heating.

Me and David outside during his first winter. Here he is wearing a hat and light shirt and no pants

So why in the world do I do this? What is so special about being cold hardy? You may be wondering. Well, first of all, there is a reason nature provides us with cold weather. She is an intelligent one you know. Exposure to the cold, if done right, has the ability to strengthen our immune system, keep our skin and hair young and healthy, improve circulation, relieve depression, and increase fertility (come to think of it, David was conceived in the winter ;) ). As mammals, our bodies have the ability to regulate their own temperatures, but only if we allow them to. In 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive, Cody Lundin explains that “repeated exposure to cold increases the amount of mitochondria within your cell!… The more mitochondria you have, the more heat can be produced.” In essence, activating our self regulating potential is important if you desire to be self sufficient and sovereign. Plus, it is excellent for our health! And you know I am all for that!

P.S. To learn more advanced parenting techniques click here for books and information on how to raise a super being.

Ecstatic Parenting ~ My Interview With Courtney Clay ~ Part Two

Here is part two of our interview with Courtney Clay on Ecstatic Parenting. We are going to cover some awesome topics today such as discipline, schooling, unassisted birth, and health care! If you have yet to read part one click here first. Enjoy!

Courtney, our honored guest

RG: What are your views on discipline or training?

CC: I view my relationship with my son as a partnership. The key, for me, in maintaining harmony in our relationship is clear communication, and seeing him as my ally. I try my best to understand him, and his reasons for doing what he does… not just so I can know, but also (and especially!) so I can help him consciously understand his reasons! I try my best to determine the cause of his actions, rather than scolding (or praising) the visible effects of that invisible cause. For example, if he is acting out in some way, I will see if I can determine what he wants to communicate to me, and shift my focus to what that might be, rather than being resistant/offended/righteous about a certain behavior and letting it distract my focus from what’s really going on with him. I might not figure it out right away, but just being open to finding out shifts my energy into more peacefulness and compassion. I still communicate to him about the behavior itself (why I don’t like it, and what I will do if he does it again… like remove the thing involved, take him somewhere else, etc), but I try not dwell on it.

So often, acting out is related to tiredness, hunger, pain, boredom (lack of the stimulation of the learning opportunities someone requires at that time), or loneliness… remember that this is true for children AND adults!! If I have a feeling about why he is acting out, I will ask him about it, to assist him in becoming aware of his own feelings and motivations, so he learns to understand himself. Then our communication turns into a mutual seeking of understanding. My son is still a toddler, and since becoming a toddler, I have noticed that often, the strength and “bigness” of his emotions scares him! Often, when he has an emotional outburst, he will immediately ask to nurse… like he lost control and scared himself, and needs comfort! So my number one priority in those situations is to help him understand himself, and for ME to be calm and compassionate so he can see that I’M not scared or provoked by his outburst, so he doesn’t have to be, either. Not to say that I always feel calm or compassionate in those situations… that is certainly not always the case! But that is another opportunity for deepening our connection. When I am able to come to a calmer place, I also share with him what I was/am feeling (having it be about me, not blaming my feelings on him), so he can see that I, also, navigate through really big emotions… so it’s another connection point between us. Love, understanding, communication… that’s what it’s all about!

Courtney spinning Cedar

RG: What are your views on child education?

CC: I believe that all humans are born already equipped with a deep, all-consuming, biological drive to understand and develop proficiency in the place in which they find themselves, and this drive begins in full force at the moment or birth (or the moment of conception, really). Babies and young children practice unrelentingly, and eventually master, basic physical movement and methods of communication with those around them. As toddlers, they unrelentingly imitate those around them, feeling deeply that the way those around them are acting, and the things they are doing, indicate the most important things about this place they were born into — therefore, the things they MUST explore thoroughly for themselves. If they are prevented from following this drive, they throw fits, because this drive to become proficient is SO strong. If they are told that they should be doing something other than what they feel deeply driven to do (which is what school curriculums do), it will not make sense to them, because they are already equipped with a mechanism within that shows them exactly what they REALLY need to be doing to develop proficiency as quickly as possible. There is a method of childhood “education” that supports this view of human nature, called child-led learning, self-directed learning, or unschooling. An accurate way to perceive unschooling is learning by living, rather than school’s effects of separating everyday life from “things you will need to know, someday, for some reason, although most of us still aren’t sure why”. Public schools SEEM to teach about so many subjects… yet, how many of us learned the most basic things about life in school? How many of us learned in school about optimal nourishment, food preparation, how to grow food for ourselves, tree and rock climbing, thermoregulation (body temperature regulation, which is essential for survival outside of the climate-controlled boxes we live in), how to purify water for drinking, how to make basic things like clothing or simple furniture… and those are just basic things every human should know (and used to know, in the not-too-distant past), to keep ourselves healthy and comfortable in any situation. These are the skills that used to be passed down in families… practical skills. The main purpose of modern schooling seems to be all about learning how to follow orders, conform to a schedule, and learn skills that will make us useful as another cog in the wheel of an unsustainable societal structure (so we can “get a job”).

I have never been to school (besides 4 years of community college, where I studied only exactly what I wanted to learn). When I was young, my parents decided to keep me out of school, since neither of them perceived much benefit from their own schooling experience, and felt there was something much more ideal they could do for their children. For most of my childhood, my sisters, my friends and I were immersed in imaginative, creative play, with a wide variety of “practical life skills” woven into our play. I learned to read at a young age, because I had early interest in reading. My two younger sisters’ interest in reading came much later (when they were 9-10), but when they got into it, they skipped all the “children’s books” and went right for grown-up books like The Bible and A Wrinkle In Time (each of which were one of my sisters’ “first books”!). They have both been avid readers ever since.

Learning and observing all the time

As a child and teenager, I learned from living… I still learn from living, and I always will. The best thing my parents assisted me in learning was how to learn. If one understands how to learn, how to access the information and resources they require to follow their interests on a subject, anything is possible! The way my parents “taught” me how to learn, was when expressed interest in something, my parents involved me in finding out resources and answers, so I observed them doing that. I have taught myself so many things. It was usually a combination of personal experimentation and seeking help from those with extensive experience who were willing to help me. I never had schoolteachers, but I have had so many inspiring, memorable teachers in my life. I also learned a lot from the environment I grew up in… my parents ran their own home business during my childhood, so I learned how to be an entrepreneur. I have owned 3 of my own successful businesses so far. My sister now makes her living as a highly sought-after music teacher (piano & violin) in California. My other sister is an accomplished ballerina and a talented graphic designer.

From an unschooling perspective, “school-age” begins at birth. With my son, since the day he was born, I have paid attention to his cues about what he is most ready for and interested in exploring, and I help facilitate his learning. Obviously, sometimes, there are things he is interested in that he is not ready for (like playing with sharp knives). But learning that he is not ready for something (and the reason for it) is part of learning about it! I try to ensure that if I do prevent him from doing something he wants to do, I have a really good reason for it, and I communicate that reason, and then do the best I can to give him a similar option that works (like using a duller knife to practice cutting vegetables himself).

Self-directed learning (unschooling) just makes sense, when human nature is deeply considered. Babies naturally have an internal motivation to learn to sit up, crawl, walk, run, talk, and have conversations. We don’t have to convince them that they need to learn those things… it is obvious. The best thing we can do is support them and encourage their efforts, and help them out when they ask for it. Along that train of thought, would it not be the same for more “advanced” skills like reading, writing, calculating numbers, learning about computers, how to repair things and make things, etc? Of course it is!! Children/teenagers/adults, just like babies, naturally have a keen observation of the world around them that tells them exactly what they need to know at all times. If a child identifies a good reason in his environment that makes him really want to know how to read, he will be motivated by an unstoppable force, with single-pointed focus… and when that motivation is present, I have seen (and experienced myself, as a child/teenager/adult) children learn a subject 10-20+ times faster than a child who is told they should learn something by someone else, yet they themselves do not fully understand the practical and meaningful application in their own life of learning that thing. There is no separation between learning and life. Learning IS life.

Cedar learning how to make food by watching/helping Courtney

RG: You had an unassisted home birth. Will you talk about this a little and share what effect you think this had on Cedar?

CC: Yes! You can read the full story of my pregnancy and birth on my blog, here:

Giving birth to my first child, in my home, with only my husband and my mom present, was definitely the most intense experience of my life so far! He was born 28 hours after my first gentle contractions began. My husband caught him, and I heard the voice and looked into the eyes of my perfect little creation. I was ecstatic beyond words, I felt triumphant beyond comprehension, and caught a momentary glimpse of the vastness of my power. I have been very different since then.

All throughout my pregnancy, I felt deeply called to give birth in the most sacred, intimate way possible… for me, that was about being in my comfortable sacred space, surrounded only by my husband and my mother. I knew it had the potential to be a profoundly spiritual experience, if I could create the conditions that would nurture and support that state in coming forth. I did, and it was crazy intense.

I think the effect it had on Cedar was one of empowerment and triumph… we did it together, the only two people who could have done it for us! I breathed into it, dove into the all-consuming intensity, even when I really thought I couldn’t do it. As my son was born, my perception of myself was reborn.

I also think it created an immediate powerful, intimate bond for us as a new family. Cedar, Isaac & I have a closeness, a resonance, that I rarely observe in families I see, especially families who choose more mainstream child-raising methods. I feel so grateful to experience this level of intimacy, harmony, and unspoken knowingness (which often feels very telepathic) within my amazing small family!

Courtney, Isaac, and Cedar sun gazing at White Rock Lake

RG: I know Cedar has rarely been sick in his 2 years of life, but what do you do to help him heal quickly when he does feel less than ideal?

CC: Cedar has had only a few mild “bugs” in his life so far, and they always came at times when we were under some form of stress (often the good kind, excitement-stress!) and around lots of people… like both times we attended the Rethinking Everything conference, where we sleep at a hotel for 5 nights and participate in group activities and sessions for many days, and are around hundreds of people! Both times when we got home, he had a mild cold for a few days… I just saw it as his immune system having been suddenly bombarded with a huge amount of new information, and he was taking some “down time” to integrate all of it! He has never had an ear infection, a fever, or any childhood illnesses (even though he is not vaccinated).

In the instances where he is having some “down time” in this way, I take extra care to ensure his environment is calming and more quiet than usual, and we usually spend a few days by ourselves around our house and outside on our land. I usually will evaluate my own life at this time, to determine if there is any imbalance that is trying to get my attention through Cedar’s condition (which always ends up being the case!). I make sure I am extra available for him (attention and nursing), and that I am nurturing myself plenty, as well. When he was younger and mostly nursing (not eating much food), I would eat extra medicinal mushrooms, vitamin C, and other immune system supporting herbs, and cut back on expansive/stimulating foods, and foods that require lots of digestive energy… then he would benefit through my breastmilk. Now that he’s eating more, I just add more of those things into his food. Mostly I just focus on relaxing more, clearing any unnecessary activities out of my schedule, and being really present with myself and him.

Courtney comforting Cedar

RG: Cedar has never been to a doctor or pediatrician in his life. Please share how you feel about children and medical care.

CC: A decade ago, I took responsibility for my own health. I decided that if I wanted to experience a particular level of health, it was up to me, and I learned that my state of health is directly related to my lifestyle and emotional state. Even when I was a child, my sisters and I rarely saw doctors. We were all born at home. Being my parents’ firstborn back in 1981, they knew very little at that time about the harmful effects of vaccinations, so when they took me in for a routine vaccination when I was just over a year old, I pulled the needle out of my butt. That was the last vaccination I ever had, as that incident caused my parents to rethink the vaccination issue and do some research… so my younger sisters never got any!

In my experience of reality, there has never been a reason to go to a doctor, outside of real emergencies. I didn’t see a doctor or midwife during my whole pregnancy, and haven’t since, either. I know enough about natural foods, herbs, and caring for my body, to at least have an idea of what to do in any situation… and I feel confident with acting on what I know. Even if I don’t know everything I might need to know, I feel confident than my intuition will serve me well, and that I probably already have more of a clue than most doctors.

Most people go see doctors because they don’t know how to care for their own bodies, and/or they don’t trust themselves. I’m not talking about broken legs or uncontrollable bleeding… but minor things like colds, flus and ear infections. Those things are so easy to resolve with awareness, knowledge of how our bodies work, knowledge of natural foods and herbs, confidence in our ability to care for ourselves, patience, faith, and the ability to look honestly at where we are off balance in our life. I empower all of us to claim these qualities as our own!

RG: Are there any additional words of wisdom you would like to share on parenting and nourishing our children?

CC: If you have interest in learning how to use superfoods, wild foods & nutrient-dense raw foods, I will be publishing my first book in September 2012! Recipes for Ecstasy: 55 Delicious & Deeply Nutritious Culinary Creations using Superfoods, Raw Food & Wild Food.

My increase in appetite since giving birth has inspired the creation of an astonishing amount of delicious recipes! Follow my blog to stay tuned:

Also, visit my blog if you are interested in my further musings on subjects related to conscious parenting, and let me know what you think!
~Courtney Clay

Courtney and Cedar on their five acres of land

Good work Courtney! As usual, You ROCK!

P.S. To learn more advanced parenting techniques click here for books and information on how to raise a super being.

Ecstatic Parenting ~ My Interview With Courtney Clay ~ Part One

I have a very special treat for you today! I decided to interview one of my best friends, Courtney Clay, on her views on parenting. The way she interacts with her son Cedar is both Radical and Refreshing and very different from the way people in our society normally raise their children. I hope you find her as inspiring and adorable as I do!!

And now, without further adieu, I introduce to you Courtney Clay…

RG: Your son, Cedar, has been slightly advanced to very advanced in almost every milestone so far in his development, from physical coordination to talking. How much of this do you attribute to the way you nourish him?

CC: I feel his nourishment has enhanced and accelerated his development in all areas. A lot of children these days who grow up on processed food have a variety of challenges… the main ones I’ve noticed (common in many young children I have observed) are regular runny noses, colds and ear infections multiple times each year, digestive issues, tooth decay, stunted growth, requiring a lot of sleep (longer naps and more night sleep than Cedar requires to be fully rested), and a general sluggishness, moodiness, and/or rebelliousness… all of which are absent in Cedar. When a child doesn’t have to deal with all those things, they have far more energy to grow, explore, and become proficient in their world. That’s my perception on how my son’s health has affected his development.

Also realize that what our culture views as “developmentally advanced” is only advanced compared to the norm in our culture, where low-grade, chronic sickness IS the norm. In many indigenous cultures, whose diets are nutrient-dense, and who live close to the earth and live in family/community, the development of their children is quite a bit more accelerated than even what our culture views as advanced!

RG: What foods are you currently giving to Cedar (or what are his favorite foods)? And which foods do you feel are the most important for children to consume for optimum development?

CC: The qualities of food I emphasize in Cedar’s (and my own) diet, which I see as my responsibility to provide for him, creatively encourage him to eat, and be an example of enjoying them, are:

1. Nutrient-dense … grown in richly mineralized soil, and varieties that are wild/heirloom/minimally-hybridized.

2. Fresh … for fruits and veggies, this means they were picked as soon as possible before eating; NOT the 1-2 week-old “fresh” produce from the store! (although we do buy organic produce from the store sometimes, for variety’s sake) For nuts/seeds, it means they have been cold-stored to keep the oils from going rancid.

3. Minimally-processed … we do mildly “process” some things, via our blender, food processor, dehydrator, and buying high-quality packaged superfoods… but all of these are a HUGE upgrade to the way “processed foods” and fast foods are processed!

Courtney, Cedar, David and I picking up fresh produce at the Saturday morning farmer’s market

I feel best about him eating the freshest, most nutrient-dense raw foods I can possibly access. His diet currently includes:

  • Wild-harvested local spring water
  • Nutrient-dense fat & protein sources … he really goes for the fatty stuff, as a rapidly growing child should! He loves avocados, macadamia nuts, chia seeds in the form of homemade chia crackers, coconut, fresh pecans from our trees, raw egg yolks, pumpkin seeds, cashews, crunchy chlorella tabs, dulse, nori, and superfood treats I make with lots of hemp seeds and algae.
  • Wild foraged foods … he can identify a dozen or more wild foods on his own, and eats them regularly! His favorites are wood sorrel leaves and flowers, wild arugula flowers, and various wild berries and fruits.
  • Fermented foods … he loves my homemade pickles, kombucha, water kefir, beet kvass, and lacto-fermented sodas.
  • Mineral-rich herbal tea infusions … his favorites are nettle and oatstraw.
  • Mineral-rich fruits … he loves berries, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, and many wild fruits including wild persimmons, juniper berries, hackberries, gum bully berries, wild pears, and dewberries.
  • Fresh veggies … he doesn’t eat many leafy greens at this point, but he loves celery, wild wood sorrel, and enjoys leafy greens or any other veggie as part of the delicious salads we make.

By the way, he is still breastfeeding many times daily (and a couple times during the night) at this point (he is 28 months), which I know adds so much to his health! He also enjoys raiding my supplement cabinet. I only eat food-source and superfood supplements, so he’s welcome to anything we have. He loves to chew up probiotic and enzyme capsules, DHA (golden algae source) capsules, take droppers of marine phytoplankton, drink angstrom minerals, and he sometimes even eats reishi mushroom capsules!

I feel medicinal mushrooms are some of the best food-herbs for children to consume. They are non-toxic in any amount, and are immune-system tonics/modulators. So I regularly make a few recipes that contain mushrooms for him, like our Super Blueberry Popsicles: blend blueberries, a little water, a bit of honey or raw coconut sugar, medicinal mushroom powders (usually reishi and/or chaga), high-vitamin-C berry powders (like camu, acerola or amla), and maybe wild blue-green algae and/or a super supplement like Bone Renewal from The Synergy Company (which contains food-source calcium, magnesium, silica, vitamins D3, K1, K2, and herbal synergists… great for growing bodies!!) … blend, then add to popsicle moulds! The blueberries really balance out the bitter and tart flavors of the mushrooms and vitamin C.

Young Cedar eating a blueberry popsicle

My diet is really similar to Cedar’s, except I eat a larger percentage of herbs, vegetables, seaweed, and raw chocolate :)

All that said, it is essential to note that I do not view the structure above as a dietary regimen; it is not a fixed idea of what the perfect diet is. I am constantly evolving, and if I were to identify my Self with a specific way of doing things, I would be disempowered… the picture I painted above is only a snapshot of what I am currently inspired to provide for my son and am drawn to for myself. It is my current perception of my healthiest choices in the realm of food at this point in time. I am not recommending that you do all/any of those things… I do recommend that you continually explore new ways of nourishing yourself, broaden your culinary horizons, and always seek higher levels of health and happiness. Pay attention to what resonates with you, inspires you, gets you feeling excited, and DO THAT! Also pay attention to what you might be doing currently that is holding you back, and consider letting it go. Whether your inspiration is ignited by something I am doing, or something someone else is doing, or a vision that comes to you in a dream… whatever, it doesn’t matter. Do what makes YOU feel ecstatic!

RG: How important do you feel being in nature is for children?

CC: Essential for optimal health and happiness. Think of it this way: What IS nature, anyway? Nature is all that exists naturally on the planet we were born onto. Our bodies are living organisms made completely of earth substance; our bodies are intelligent, self-sustaining and self-repairing ecosystems in themselves. Our bodies are designed to exist within and interact with the greater ecosystem around us, which is also intelligent, self-sustaining and self-repairing.

In our modern societies, we have tried so hard to distance ourselves from the natural world. We have tried to control nature; to subdue it. We have created artificial ecosystems that are NOT intelligent, self-sustaining and self-repairing: they require constant maintenance from us, and are always in danger of falling apart. That in itself is fine, it could be a fun game… except that we have become dependent on these systems. Most people, these days, would be terrified if they had to live outside of their climate-controlled boxes, away from the stimulating/sedating processed food they are used to, and suddenly completely responsible for providing for themselves all of their basic needs like shelter, food and water. Any other animal on earth (except maybe our domesticated pets) would be instinctively confident and resourceful in this situation. Most people in our society would not be able to survive on our very own planet, if these man-made, fragile structures fell apart even temporarily!

So nature is our natural home. We are one of many living organisms that are part of the natural world, and we are interdependent. Modern man has become arrogant, to our great detriment. Indigenous people who have lived out their whole lives intimately connected with nature would not even consider doing anything which would cause harm to the ecosystem in which they live, because they recognize this larger ecosystem as their body’s life-support system! When we look at it this way, it can seem like the greatest form of insanity possible.

Cedar climbing trees and enjoying the natural world around him!

The earlier we can begin to discover our place in the natural world, the more deeply we can develop a meaningful connection with all life, and maybe discover a greater sense of purpose in our life.

The benefits I have noticed from children being in regular contact with the natural world: They are calmer, and more alert, focused, and engaged with what’s going on around them. There is constant movement in the natural world, a constant rhythm, and interesting changes and cycles. The terrain is more varied and more challenging, so they have an opportunity to develop much greater physical proficiency (which automatically develops mental proficiency) by navigating hills, rocks, mud, sand, trees, spiky plants, weather extremes (which fine-tune our body’s adaptability and immune system) etc. The air is fresh and full of oxygen, which balances their energy and mood and sharpens their minds. They have the opportunity to observe where their nourishment really comes from: food and water originate in the natural world, not in a store. They can discover the joy of interacting with a variety of different life forms, like animals, insects and birds. They are exposed to sunlight, which is essential for healthy growth, bone development, happiness, contentment, deep sleep, and hormone regulation. Children are naturally more active when they’re outdoors, because there’s so much more space, and so much to explore. It’s a way for them to channel their high energy in a constructive way. Nature makes toys, too! Sticks, rocks, and balls (fruits/nuts from plants and trees) of all shapes and sizes!

RG: You like to sleep outside with Cedar whenever the weather permits. What positive effect do you feel this has on him?

CC: Every time I sleep outside, I notice how much more interesting the sky is than my bedroom ceiling :) I love breathing fresh air all night long (we open our bedroom windows every night anyway, even in winter, but actually being outside makes such a difference!), hearing the crickets sing at night and the birds sing at sunrise, and waking up to a beautiful and ever-changing panorama of sky! One time, we slept outside for a few nights, in a straw-bale circle we made (our usual outdoor sleeping spot), and there was a cricket that would hang out on one of the straw bales and start singing to us as soon as we laid down, for a few nights in a row! Our most recent night outdoors, which was a couple weeks ago, Cedar & I slept so deeply and when he woke up in the morning, he was so calm, gazing at the sky, and talking to me about the interesting cloud formations that were floating by. There is something so magical and grounding about sleeping outside, and I so deeply enjoy sharing this experience with my son!

Cedar napping outside

RG: What are your views on children watching television, especially under 3 years of age?

CC: I don’t believe that television, computers and video games are inherently harmful, yet for the Space of Love I am inspired to create with my family, these things play a small (computers) to nonexistant (television) role. My opinion on television is that it offers little value for a child’s early development. I feel that it can be somewhat confusing, distracting, and useless for young children, who are still constructing their basic worldview… especially most of the “programming” available on TV these days. I have never owned a TV in my life… when I moved out of my parents’ house, that was the end of it for me. I enjoyed a few TV shows as a child and teenager, but I don’t miss it at all, and I very much enjoy the silence and simplicity that remains in its place. The occasional YouTube clip gives me all the satisfaction I desire of that kind! Sometimes Cedar and I watch videos on the computer together… he loves the videos you make, Debbie! He says, “let’s watch a Debbie video!” In the past week, we also watched a clip about a little girl who is friends with many wild animals (Tippi… she’s amazing!!), and some little boys playing djembe drums and didgeridoos. So if we watch anything, it’s for a few minutes at a time while we’re together, and we usually spend hours daily outside and playing in other interactive ways… compared to many children these days, who only spend a few minutes (or no time!) outside, and many hours in front of the television daily.

The harm that I see associated with television and other media is in the way so many modern children use them: to fill an emotional hole caused by an unsatisfying life with too much artificial stimulation and materialism, and not enough natural stimulation like close relationships, imaginative play, and nature. To me, that’s very different than if a child (especially an older child) has a strong interest in a subject, and their interest leads them to immerse themselves temporarily in internet research, a specific game, or a related television program. The effect that an external thing (like television) has on us is greatly determined by the inner intention that is motivating us to interact with it!

So I don’t have any rules, I just follow my inspiration on which way to go, and pay attention to my feelings, and if I feel depressed or uninspired about a situation I’m in that involves media (or anything else), my inspiration is urging me to head in a different direction.

~Courtney Clay

David and Cedar lovin’ up on Courtney

We are not finished! I asked my friend six more loaded questions and she gave me six more brilliant answers! Click here for part two of this interview!

Have an ecstatic day!

P.S. To learn more advanced parenting techniques click here for books and information on how to raise a super being.

A Tribute to Babywearing

I LOVE baby wearing/toddler wearing! Why? Because it helps me to fulfill both my needs and my son’s needs at the same time (especially on his clingy and teething days). I am able to water our garden, do housework, and take leisurely walks with my hands free while David feels safe and happy snuggled next to me.

I first learned about babywearing years before I had my son when I read The Continuum Concept. Reading this book was an emotional and life changing experience. It gave me the insight and understanding I required to heal feelings of disconnection inside me. After David was born I carried him next to my body 22 out of 24 hours a day until he was about 3 months. I would only put him down in our bed for a couple hours at night while I had “me” time. I didn’t even place him on the floor for tummy time until he was about 12 weeks old. The first time I put him down he was able to roll from his tummy to his back, proving that carrying a baby around with you all day does not take away from, but only enhances their physical development.

David napping in his Moby Wrap at 1 month

Benefits of Babywearing (taken from Evie’s Kitchen):

  • The mother’s progesterone levels are increased through physical contact with the infant, leading to a more intimate maternal bond, easier breastfeeding and better care
  • Infants who are carried are calmer because all of their primal/survival needs are met. The caregiver can be seen, heard, smelled, touched and tasted, and can provide feeding
  • Consistant motion is necessary for continuing neural development, gastrointestinal and respirator health and to establish balance (inner ear development) and muscle tone
  • Parental rhythms such as walking and heartbeat have a balancing and soothing effect
  • Infants are “humanized” earlier by developing socially. Babies who are closer to adults can study facial expressions, learn languages faster and become familiar with body language
  • Independence is established earlier (according to Desmond Morris in his book Babywatching)
  • You have two free hands to mothertask: do the laundry, juice the cucumbers and keep your baby content
  • Some slings are designed for easy breastfeeding, without moving or disturbing the baby
  • Slings take up less space than pushchairs

That’s what I’m talkin’ bout!

P.S. To learn more advanced parenting techniques click here for books and information on how to raise a super being.

Bryan wearing David (5 months) at the mall in his Sakura Bloom sling

Bryan wearing David (6 months) in our Ergo Carrier as we forage for mulberries

Bryan wearing David (7 months) in his Over the Shoulder Baby Holder on our daily morning walk

Me wearing David (8 months) during our Turner Falls camping trip

Me shopping at Whole Foods while wearing David (11 months) in his New Native sling

Book Review: The Natural Child by Jan Hunt

Ok, get this… I have over 70 books on parenting!! Obsession? I believe so. ;) A few months ago I finished reading one of my books called The Natural Child by Jan Hunt. I love her book! It is all about loving attachment parenting and respecting children. I especially love all her information on homeschooling/unschooling and how children learn. In her book she has a really great chapter entitled The Hidden Messages We Give Our Children which I feel sums up her viewpoints beautifully. I desire to share this with you today. I hope you enjoy!

David and I snuggling by the fire

The Hidden Messages We Give Our Children
By Jan Hunt, M.Sc


What we say: “You can cry all you want; I’m not going to pick you up again!”

What we think: “This is breaking my heart, but all those experts can’t be wrong.”

What the child thinks: “They don’t love me. They don’t care about my suffering. Mommy is perfect, so there must be something wrong with me. I must not be worthy of anybody’s love.”

What we say 20 years later: “What on earth do you see in Tom? How can you let him treat you like that? Don’t you know you deserve better than that?”


What we say: “No more nursing. You’re too big for that now!”

What we think: “I’d like to continue, but I can’t stand all this criticism from my relatives.”

What the child thinks: “I’ve just lost the most important thing in my life: the long periods of cuddling and the food that felt best inside me. I must have done something terrible. I must be a terrible person.”

What we say 20 years later: “Why are you drinking so much?”

Age Two

What we say: “You can’t come into our bed anymore. You won’t be lonely. Look, here’s a nice big teddy bear to keep you company!”

What we think: “Grandma thinks there’s something wrong with having you in our bedroom. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s more important for us to please her than to please you. Anyway, this teddy bear should make you happy.”

What the child thinks: “It isn’t fair! They get to cuddle with a real person. They don’t know me very well. They don’t care about my feelings. Oh well, at least they gave me this bear.”

What we say 20 years later: “I know you’re upset that Tom broke off with you, but is that any reason to overcharge your credit card like this? Will all this stuff make you feel better that someone left you? When did you become so materialistic?”

Age Four

What we say: “You know you’re not supposed to hit your brother! I’ll give you a spanking you’ll never forget!”

What we think: “There must be a better way to handle this, but it’s what my dad did, so it must be right.”

What the child thinks: “I was so upset with my brother I hit him. Now Dad is so upset with me for hitting, he’s hitting me. I guess it’s okay for adults to hit, but not for kids. I wonder what I should do when I get upset? Oh well, one of these days I’ll be an adult myself.”

What we say 20 years later: “A barroom brawl? Adults don’t hit people just because they’re upset. I never taught you to resort to violence!”

Age Six

What we say: “Well, this is a big day for you. Don’t be afraid. Just do everything your teacher says.”

What we think: “Please don’t embarrass me by acting up at school!”

What the child thinks: “But I’m afraid! I’m not ready to leave them for so many hours a day! They must be getting tired of me. Maybe if I do what the teacher says, they’ll like me better and let me stay home.”

What we say 20 years later: “What?! Your friend talked you into taking drugs? Do you do what everybody else tells you to do? Don’t you have a mind of your own?”

Age Eight

What we say: “Your teacher says you aren’t paying attention in class. How will you ever learn anything important?”

What we think: “If my kid never amounts to anything, I’ll feel like a failure.”

What the child thinks: “I’m not interested in the things the teacher talks about, but I guess she knows best. The things that do interest me must not be important.”

What we say 20 years later: “You’re 28 years old an you still don’t know what you want to do with your life? Aren’t you interested in anything?!”

Age Ten

What we say: “You broke another dish? Oh, never mind. I’ll wash them myself.

What we think: “I know I should be more patient with you, but at least this way the dished will get done.”

What the child thinks: “Boy, am I clumsy. I’d better not even try to help anymore.”

What we say 20 years later: “You want that job but you won’t even apply for it? You should have more faith in yourself!”

Age Twelve

What we say: “Go out and play with your friends – You’ll have more fun with them than hanging around here all day.”

What we think: “I know I should spend more time with you, but I’ve got so much to do. It’s a good thing there are so many kids around here.”

What the child thinks: “I want to do things with Mom and Dad, but they’re always too busy. I guess my friends like me better.”

What we say 20 years later: “You never call us or come to see us anymore. Don’t you care about our feelings?”

Age Fourteen

What we say: “Please leave the room, dear. Your father and I have something personal to discuss.”

What we think: “We have some secrets we’d rather you didn’t know about.”

What the child thinks: “I’m not really part of this family.”

What we say 20 years later: “You’re in prison?! Why didn’t you tell us you were having problems? Don’t you know there are no secrets in families? We tried so hard. Where did we go wrong?”

David playing in leaves

Brilliant!! Right? If you desire more check out Jan’s book and website. She really understands that being a parent is the most important thing we will ever do. What could be more vital than the legacy we leave behind through our children? And what could be more important than ensuring the next generation is happy, healthy, and fully functioning? This is why it is soooooo important to THINK about what we are doing. It is not wise to follow the crowd or take the “easy” road on this one. I challenge each one of you to rethink the way you are parenting your precious little ones. Every word we speak and every action we take has a subtle or not so subtle effect on the rest of their lives. These amazing beings of light have entrusted their care to us. Let us live up to their trust and take our sacred responsibility seriously.

P.S. To learn more advanced parenting techniques click here for books and information on how to raise a super being.

Confessions Of An Un-Domesticated Goddess

I have a confession to make. I have a weakness. Yes, it’s true. I am not perfect. Shocking, I know. Today I am going to reveal to you a part of myself which, until now, has caused me shame. A part of myself which I have attempted to hide from others. I am what I fondly refer to as an Un-Domesticated Goddess, meaning, I suck at keeping my house clean! At any given moment, if you were to walk into my home unannounced (because I can clean up nice for guests ;) ), you would see dishes in the sink, clothes on the floor, random papers and other projects on my table, an unmade bed, and bathrooms in need of cleaning. This is something I have struggled with for a LONG time. I blame it on my right brained nature. Even in elementary school I remember spending my weekends trying to clean and organize my room. I arranged and re-arranged my furniture and possessions over and over but nothing ever seemed quite “right” and so I maintained an unkempt room. My mother, like 99.9% of the people I know, has a knack for decorating, organizing, and keeping her place spic and span. She would not let me go outside to play until my room was up to her standards, and so I spent many hours inside overwhelmed by mess when I so desperately wanted to have fun with my friends, playing outside in the beauties of nature (which my technocratic room could never emulate). Well, now that I am grown up, I do play. Instead of cleaning I generally choose to go on long nature walks, watch movies with Bryan (netflix has become our standard date night since David was born), talk with friends, nap, read, meditate, pursue creative projects, and enjoy lots of snuggles and quality time with my son. I never clean when David naps, except for rare occasions. I use my time for self-care, creativity, and fun.

David laying on my pile of clean clothes (I think the blurriness of this photo enhances the “undomesticated” look. What do you think?)

Some days I feel I should be living the life of Anastasia, from the Ringing Cedars series, or Adam and Eve, from the Bible. No house to clean, no food to prepare, nothing on my to do list except for contemplating the meaning of the cosmos, playing with my animal friends, and giving thanks for the abundance of food growing around me. In nature, everything makes sense. If I were to throw an apple on the ground I would not be cluttering my home (not that I actually throw apples on my floor…). Mother Earth would use this to enrich her soil. Nothing is dirty, out of place, or in need of sterilization. Everything is perfect. Everything fits into her eco-system and is used to create beauty and abundance. Instead, I live in a box, whose ecosystem would collapse (or eventually become part of nature’s eco-system) if I didn’t tend to it consistently. I love my home, I really do, and I appreciate the warmth it provides and the modern conveniences it contains. I am just saying, maybe we could come up with something more efficient for all us un-domesticated goddesses out there ;)

I believe our greatest weakness can be our greatest strength and inside our deepest shame and sorrow lies the most beautiful part of ourself. In order to change anything we must first embrace it. We must see how our weakness is serving us. We always have exactly what we need and desire, even when we think our life is far from ideal. Some day I really would like to be at least a little bit of a “Domestic Goddess,” but today, I celebrate my un-domesticated self! It has brought me so much fun!! So many moments when I should have been cleaning I have chosen to follow my bliss and invest time with those I love. I am grateful for my ability to relax no matter what my surroundings look like. I am an easy going mother because of this. My son is able to play with my stuff, eat on the floor, be diaper free, and get dirty without a stressed out mom. Today I make peace with my un-domesticated self, for my greatest weakness may just be my greatest strength.

P.S. Do you have a weakness? In what way does your weakness actually serve and bless you? I would love to know!

The Joys of Co-Sleeping

Several years ago I had a beautiful red headed friend named Miriam. She had a sweet husband and an adorable 1 1/2 year old daughter. I loved to be around them. I could feel they had a special family bond which I didn’t see too often. One day Miriam told me that her daughter slept in the same bed with her and her husband. I was surprised and thought the same thing most Americans who are uninformed about co-sleeping think. I thought that she should probably make her daughter sleep in her own bed or she would spoil her (actually, I thought she had already spoiled her) and never have private time with her husband again. I am telling you, every time I have ever made a strong judgment about anything, life has shown me the other side of the story. Flash forward to now. I have my own little man who turns one on Tuesday and has slept snuggled next to me in our bed every night since his birth. Well, technically he has been sleeping in our bed before his birth since he was with me in utero ;) The benefits of co-sleeping are many. Here are just a few reasons I choose to co-sleep:

David at one month

1. Co-Sleeping Fulfills A Baby’s Continuum: According to The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff, a baby needs to be in the midst of life (as opposed to separated from it in a lonely room) and next to his/her mother, especially during his/her most vulnerable period (while sleeping). This is important for his/her full developmental potential.

2. Co-Sleeping Gives A Baby Full Access To Nourishment When He/She Needs It Most: A baby’s brain grows the most at night and a woman produces the most prolactin (breastfeeding hormone) at night.

3. Co-Sleeping Creates A Safe Association With Sleep: Babies who have co-slept tend to have fewer sleep problems, night waking, nightmares, and night terrors as they grow up. In their subconscious they feel safe and they know their needs will be met. Co-sleeping also eliminates a parent’s ability to use the “crying it out” or “ignoring your child’s signal for help and comfort” method. Sometimes David will wake up during the night or from a nap and call out my name. Once he sees or feels me near he goes back to sleep peacefully. When children are young they really do need extra assurance of our presence and protection.

4. Co-Sleeping Helps Regulate A Baby’s Breathing, Temperature, and Heartbeat: When a mother is skin to skin with her newborn, her body temperature will rise or fall according to her baby’s need. Her baby’s breathing and heart rate also tend to sync up with hers. This is especially important in the first 3 months when a baby may have difficulty doing this on his/her own. Contrary to popular myth, co-sleeping significantly reduces the risk of SIDS. In countries where co-sleeping is the norm, there isn’t even a concept or word for SIDS because the mom is always there, able to help her baby at the first signs of danger.

David, five months, and I napping in our bed

5. Co-Sleeping Promotes Breastfeeding Ease: A mom and baby who sleep together share sleep cycles. When her baby wakes up to breastfeed, his/her mother will be entering a light sleep too. Then all she requires to do is roll to her side and give her baby milk. They both usually fall back asleep together and begin another sleep cycle. A mother who co-sleeps doesn’t have to stand up, produce adrenaline, go into another room, feed her baby, set him/her down quietly, and try to go back to sleep. She is able to fully complete her sleep cycles. A well rested mommy is a happy mommy.

Of course, there are many warnings about co-sleeping out there. “It will spoil your child.” (How? By giving him what he requires? Or by giving him too many cuddles and kisses? You can’t spoil a baby) “It is dangerous, you could crush him.” (um, I have never rolled onto or crushed my husband and I have never rolled onto or crushed my baby. Unless drugged up, we are always semi-aware of our surroundings while sleeping.) “It will ruin your sex life.” (actually, co-sleeping has brought Bryan and I even more snuggles and loving caresses. Plus, it’s fun to find creative ways to be together. Kinda like being a teenager). This article is a good one to read to clear up any misconceptions about co-sleeping. After re-reading The Continuum Concept(I first read it in 2007) and the article linked above, I firmly made up my mind. I was going to do it!! While still pregnant I “practiced” co-sleeping by placing a teddy bear between me and Bryan while we slept to get a feel for what it would be like to have a little person in between us at night. Needless to say, this didn’t even come close to the real thing. It’s so much more fun with an actual baby!

Chunky David at almost three months

In my opinion, co-sleeping is one of the biggest joys and most rewarding parts of early parenthood. I LOVE snuggling together at night as a family, especially when it’s cold outside, feeling yummy warm baby breath on my skin, sleeping well, waking up to groggy smiles and giggles, and enjoying a few more moments of family snuggling before beginning our day. 90% of the time, co-sleeping has been PURE BLISS for me. The other 10% consists of events which impede on my sleep, such as a random kick or punch, teething, growth spurts, and anything else which causes excess sucking, fussing, and squirming in David.

For example, last night, around 3 am, David started to nurse. After 20 minutes of sucking and squirming I began to feel annoyed. (I am spoiled because I am used to him sucking for 5 minutes or less and going back to sleep). I unlatched him (because I choose to feed him only positive emotion) and he started to cry. Bryan took over and bounced him to sleep. Within 2 minutes he woke up fussing again. We decided he might need to pee so we took him to the toilet. He went pee and started breastfeeding again. All in all we were up for 45 minutes to an hour, but David made up for it by sleeping in until 8:30 am :)

David, eight months, and I taking an afternoon nap

When David finally unlatched, he started talking, “na na (ma ma), na na (ma ma), daddy, daddy, dant oo (thank you), dant oo (thank you), dant oo (thank you), lu oo (love you).” And then he went to sleep. Now he may have just been practicing his words, but in my heart I know he meant it. “Thank you Mommy and Daddy for keeping me safe at night, for giving me extra skin to skin so my dendrites can develop, for giving me free access to milk so I can reach my full physical and mental growth potential, for comforting me when I cry so I have an easier time comforting myself when I grow older, for showing me I can get my needs met in life and I always have help nearby, and for including me in your bed and encircling me with your love.” You are welcome my son. You are so worth it! I love you too!

P.S. To learn more advanced parenting techniques click here for books and information on how to raise a super being.

A Day in the Life of A Blissful Mama (9/3/11)

I wrote this down exactly a month ago and now I am finally posting it! Ha ha! I am enjoying my real life too much to do a lot of computer projects these days. I do, however, desire to update my blog at least once a week because I have so many awesome insights and exciting things to share with my online family and friends. This will be my last “Day in the Life of a Blissful Mama” post for a while. I had fun recording and reflecting on my days and I hope you have enjoyed it too :) If you haven’t read my other posts, check them out here and here. I think I have captured with these three posts how my life flows at the moment. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! It means a lot!

mimosa tree sprout

6:45 am: I wake up as dawn is breaking. David and Bryan are still asleep next to me. Oh goodie!! I am the first one awake! This means I have time to myself, to do anything I choose, to prepare for this day in a meditative and meaningful way! What to do, what to do? I could do the 5 rites, I could do some kriya yoga, I could do a neti pot, I could say affirmations or read a book while drinking warm herbal tea. I opt for staying in bed, breathing deeply, and having a conversation with God.

7:15 am: David wakes up. I take him potty and get back into bed for breastfeeding and family snuggles. Bryan and I talk while David burrows around in bed.

7:30 am: I make a fig and grape smoothie (figs, grapes, vanilla, ice, star anise, salt), and go outside to greet the beautiful morning. I share my smoothie with David. We watch as cute little birds land on our huge dried sunflowers to pick out sunflower seeds to eat: a natural bird feeder.

8:00 am: David gives us a clear signal that he needs to pooh. We potty him and clean him off. Afterward, I water our garden, seedlings, and trees. I am thinking about the amazing forest garden we are going to create in our yard next year.

8:45 am: I am inside. Bryan runs in to tell me David just stood up and started walking across the yard!! We celebrate with him. I reflect on his amazing development. Before 3 months he was in my arms constantly (continuum concept style). I didn’t set him down for tummy time until 12 weeks, although he slept on his tummy in our bed. At 3 months he was rolling from front to back and back to front all over our living room floor. At 4 months he could scoot around on his belly. At 5 1/2 months he started sitting up and crawling on all fours. At 6 months he was pulling up and saying his first words. At 7 months he was doing squats, crawling up stairs, and cruising with the assistance of only one hand. At 8 months he could stand on his own for a few seconds and loved to dance by bouncing up and down on his legs. At 9 months he took his first steps, learned how to get into a standing position from a squat and loved to walk all over the place holding onto my hands. Now, at 10 months, he can stand up and start walking on his own whenever he feels like it. He is so AMAZING!! David stands up again and claps for himself. We clap with him. I hold out my hands and he walks to me. We go inside. I give him blackberries to eat while we plan out which classes we are going to attend at the Rethinking Everything Conference today.

9:30 am: We leave for the Mckinney Farmers Market. I feed David milk while in his car seat and read him a book. I just started reading to him two days ago and he absolutely loves it!! The reason I waited so long to start reading was because of my research on brain development in children. Apparently, introducing left-brained activities too early, such as reading, writing, math and even watching television, causes a child’s brain chemistry to be altered. They generally become left brained dominant, which we can see as an example by looking at our culture. In Waldorf Schools, founded by Rudolf Steiner, which focus on whole brain development, teachers encourage young children to engage in music, dance, fantasy play and nature interaction. Reading and writing are not introduced until after their 7th year. Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of Magical Child , says “When we force the child to work prematurely with abstract thought, we break up the vital unity of self and world. “Writing,” Vigotsky explains, “virtually enforces a remoteness of reference on the language user.” Writing (and to a lesser extent reading) enforces a separation between name and thing named. To deal with this kind of abstraction, the logic of differentiation is forced to skip all preliminary steps and prematurely begin such a seperaration. The result is an enforced seperation between self and world, even though the diferentiation required is still clumsy and inadequate. (Thus, Furth claims premature literacy stops the development of intelligence cold for two to three years.)”

I would have waited a few more months to start reading to David, after he had overcome the need to put everything in his mouth, but two days ago, David was heading for one of my books I had left on the floor. I picked it up and said, “This is not for you.” I heard him say to me, telepathically, “will you show me how it works?” He has always loved to hold books, flip through them, and put them in his mouth. I pulled out a children’s book, sat him on my lap, and started reading. He loved it and asked me to read it to him again several more times. So you see, learning conscious child raising theory can be helpful, but following your child’s intent comes first.

10:00 am: We arrive at the Farmer’s Market and take David potty. I love being here! We visit Paul’s stand and purchase organic pears, eggplant, okra, and green beans. We also buy some extra virgin olive oil, mushrooms, honey, and a loaf of organic zucchini bread which we eat in the car on our way home.

Me showing off some okra at the farmer’s market

10:30 am: We arrive home. David goes potty again and takes a nap. I enjoy some time on the computer. Bryan makes kombucha and nettle infusions.

11:45 am: David wakes up. We want him to get more sleep because of the fun filled day we have ahead so Bryan bounces him and I nurse him. We are successful!! David happily drifts back to sleep. Bryan and I take a shower together….. I take deer antler, mountain ant extract, MSM, and marine phytoplankton (to learn more about these powerful superfoods, look for them here)

1:00 pm: David is still asleep. We have a class to attend at 1:30 so I pick him up, put him in his ergo carrier, and get into the car. He sleeps the entire way there! This means he has taken a 3 hour nap!! I am glad because I predict he will be going to bed late tonight.

2:00 pm: We arrive at the Sheraton hotel in Irving. I take David potty and put a shirt and some training pants on him. We see free beings everywhere!! People dressed up, walking around with no shoes on, children playing with games and doing art projects, people doing yoga and meditating by the pool. After spotting some friends and talking to them for a moment we go to our first class which is called “Slavery is not Noble” by Sarah and Chris Parent. It is about following your bliss and getting out of the mindset of working your life away doing something you hate (or tolerate) for money. They tell us a story of their son, who used to say he wanted to be a woman when he grew up. His parents thought there was more to it. Maybe he was homosexual? Well, as soon as his father became a free being, working from home, only a few hours at a time, their son changed his mind and decided he wanted to be a Dad when he grew up. Obviously he did not want to follow his father’s footsteps when he was tied down and unhappy. Yes!!! We are totally going to manifest Bryan working from home soon, and eventually working/playing for himself, following his creative bliss!! Another mom, who practices EC with her baby, comments on David’s cute training pants. I have an extra pair so I give it to her. I leave class a little early and find a barefoot book stand. I pick out two awesome books for David. Listen, Listen! and I Took the Moon for a Walk. Both of them are nature based and have a great message.

3:00 pm: I go into my free reiki session. This is my first time receiving one and I love it!! Afterward I feel light and tingly, especially in my head.

3:30 pm: We go up to our friends hotel room to relax, eat, and read our new books to the children. We have yummy “pear strudel” (pear, hemp seeds, chaga, lucuma, coconut oil, honey, etc). David nurses and enjoys some grapes and tomatoes.

Bryan reading “Listen Listen!” to David and his friends

4:30 pm: We go to our “EFT From the Beginning” class by Dr. Joe Duchene. We arrive an hour late but I still get exactly what I need from it. That is what I call “divine timing.” I am always in the right place at the right time, receiving exactly what I require to receive. Plus, I can really concentrate and learn because Bryan took David for a walk outside. I munch on okra from the farmer’s market and home made kombucha.

5:15 pm: Class ends. I feed David milk and we go back to our friend’s hotel room to hang out. I eat some macadamia nuts and chlorella. We go downstairs and watch children play.

6:30 pm: David is tired and we are feeling ungrounded from the hotel energy. We decide to get some food and find a nearby park. David falls asleep in the car. We go to Chipotle, which is a great place to get “fast and convenient food” because most of their stuff is organic. I order a salad (lettuce, guacamole, salsa, beans). We drive to a park and I sun gaze, listen to the cicadas, and touch my bare feet on the ground as I eat. I take several deep breaths. I feel rejuvenated and peaceful.

Sun gazing in the park

Grounding my feet to the earth

7:50 pm: David wakes up. We go for a walk in the nature preserve by the park and then drive back to the hotel. I read David one of his new books in our car. When we arrive at the hotel we go outside by the pool. It is really windy and feels great. David plays with some rocks by a crepe myrtle tree. We go inside and watch a bunch of kids jumping up and down on a bouncy twister board. David gets excited, stands up, and walks over to it. I share a nettle/lemon balm infusion with Bryan, my friend Courtney, and David.

9:30 pm: Bryan watches David while I go into a shamanic dance room and dance for 15 minutes. Ahhhhh! It feels so good to move my body in this way.

10:00 pm: We leave. David nurses in our car and falls asleep.

10:45 pm: We arrive home. I set David down on our bed and nurse him into a deep sleep. Bryan and I plan out which classes and activities we desire to participate in tomorrow. I do some EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) tapping I learned earlier, brush my teeth, and stretch. We say a family prayer and drift off to sleep, knowing tomorrow is going to be another full on, fun filled day!

P.S. To learn advanced parenting techniques click here for books and information on how to raise a super being.

A Day in the Life of a Blissful Mama (8/24/2011)

Here is my second “Day in the Life of a Blissful Mama” post, where you get a detailed peek into what it’s like to eat raw foods, breastfeed, co-sleep, practice elimination communication, live on 17 acres of beautiful nature, and raise a cosmic light being. I may make this a regular weekly post or maybe just once a month. We will see :)

6:00 am: David stirs in bed. I am hoping for more sleep so I gently shush him, pat him and feed him. We both fall back asleep for 45 minutes. I wake up to hear our neighbor’s rooster crow, celebrating the new dawn.

6:45 am: David wakes up and I take him to the toilet to pee. Bryan is in the shower so we decide to join him. I turn off the blazing bathroom light and light a candle. We enjoy a short family shower. Bryan dries David off while I recite Dan Coppersmith’s Hello World poem, watch my Mind Movie, drink lots of water, and get dressed. I take David outside and we practice his walking skills. He takes a short pee break and continues to walk. I admire the beautiful morning, the sun rising, and the birds chirping.

7:45 am: Bryan leaves for work. I feed David breastmilk and then we go inside for breakfast. I pour some blueberries and mangos for him to enjoy on the kitchen floor and sit at our table to devour my lacto-fermented grape soda and leftover raw fudge from last night (cacao butter, coconut oil, mesquite meal, pine pollen, purple corn extract, inca berries, cacao nibs, honey, salt). It seems I am in a chocolatey mood lately ;) I am about to eat when I hear David crying out to me. I go in the kitchen to find him starting to pooh on the floor. I take him to the bathroom to finish his BM on the toilet, clean him off, and put him back on the floor to enjoy his breakfast while I enjoy mine. I pick up The Mother magazine and open to an article on the importance of humor. Ha ha! Perfect!

8:30 am: After a little dancing with David, I nurse him to sleep. While he sleeps I stretch, drink water, work on my e-book, read some blogs and check my e-mail.

David taking his morning nap

10:00 am: David wakes up and nurses. I take him potty and we go outside to drink a lemon balm/nettle infusion and eat pears from the farmer’s market. I wash the pear juice off his body with our hose and water our trees and seedlings. David gives me the “milk” sign so I feed him some more. He walks around our yard, with my assistance. He sees the horses and desires to interact with them so we feed them and pet them. I give David some water to drink and he is ready to walk again. He is obsessed with walking. The day after he turned 9 months young he took his first step. For about a week afterward he began to take more and more steps (he could take 5 to 10 steps on his own!!). Then, all of a sudden, he decided he preferred to have us help him. Makes sense I guess. With our help he is more stable and can walk faster and farther. Plus he gets to take us with him on his explorations. Every day I feel him getting stronger and more balanced. I love that he is walking barefoot on the uneven terrain of our yard. It’s so good for his development. I feel someday soon he will just start walking, really well, without my help. I take a break from helping him and hang upside down on our OM gym and get on my chi machine while David climbs on top of me. He starts to fuss. I feel he may be hungry again so I make him some applesauce (apple, lemon juice, and water blended together).

12:00 pm: I call my sister Amy. We talk about her upcoming “Mad Hatter” baby shower tea party, which I am helping out with. I give David a nori sheet to entertain himself while I talk. My friend Courtney arrives with her son Cedar. I tell her about Amy’s “Mad Hatter” party and I pull out my crazy hats. Cedar and David enjoy playing with them. We give them frozen peaches to share while Courtney and I catch up on what is going on in our lives (after only 4 days of not seeing each other). We show each other blog posts and facebook threads. We go outside for a little bit and I hang upside down on my OM gym. Courtney brought some “apple streudel” (apple, hemp seeds, lucuma, coconut oil, honey, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, chaga, pure radiance C, etc.) and I gladly help her eat it.

The boys playing with our crazy hats

1:30 pm: I nurse David. He nibbles on a carrot with Cedar and then, you guessed it, does some more walking. We walk all around the yard and up and down the porch steps. David stops to admire a sunflower for several minutes. I drink some water and yummy lemonade Courtney brought (lemons, honey, pure radiance C, MSM, ginger, phytoplankton, salt). David becomes super fussy. I take him to our bedroom to nurse him on our bed and he becomes even more fussy. I am feeling frustrated.

2:30 pm: I put David in the Ergo on my back and go for a walk. He is out within 2 minutes. I place him on our bed and nurse him fully to sleep. I relax and unwind, stretch, hydrate, and write in my Gratitude Book. After about 1/2 hour, David feeds again and goes back to sleep. I go to sleep with him. I guess I needed a nap too.

4:15 pm: David wakes up. I nurse him, take him pee, and go into my living room to find a yummy surprise. Courtney made superfood balls! She spoils me, she really does. On top of that, Cedar had taken a nap the same time David did and they are both well rested. It’s the simple things that bring a mama so much joy. :) I eat superfood balls, drink lemonade, water my garden, peel and salt some eggplant (for dinner), and wash dishes.

Superfood balls (hemp seeds, coconut butter, chocolate bliss, mesquite, lucuma, bone renewal, shilajit, and so much more)

5:30 pm: A huge gust of wind blows my front door open. I smell negative ions in the air and feel the wind caressing my skin. Courtney, David, Cedar, and I have to stop what we are doing and take in the magic. We feel love in the air. The horses are leaping about and David claps when the wind blows. I lay down on the ground and feel surrounded by love from my Heavenly Father and grounded and safe on my Mother Earth. David nurses, poops, and practices his walking.

6:15 pm: Bryan gets home! Cedar acts like a dog who is excited to see someone and barks at him. David smiles and points. It is a happy time for everyone! Bryan watches David and Cedar while Courtney works on her superfood class presentation (check out her meetup group for more info) and I clean up and prepare dinner.

7:30 pm: Isaac, Courtney’s husband, gets here. I nurse David and then we all walk down to our pond. We discuss places we could buy land and live. David, of course, wants to do some walking around our pond. We walk back home and finish preparing dinner.

8:15 pm: Bryan brought home sumac berries he foraged during lunch so we record a video on how to make sumac-ade (sumac berries soaked in water for 15 minutes). We all sit down to enjoy a scrumptious dinner… eggplant curry (eggplant, okra, tomatoes, curry spices, onion, cilantro), seaweed salad (arame, wakame, cucumber, avocado, etc.), and carrot soup (carrot, cilantro, apple, onion, bell pepper, garlic infused olive oil, salt). The little boys eat blueberries and peaches on the floor, that is, until they desire to be part of the action around the table. Isaac holds David and David grabs a big chunk of seaweed salad from his plate to eat. Then David cons Isaac into helping him walk around the house. David has a huge grin on his face… he is doing his favorite thing ever! The “evening crazies” start. Lots of screaming and silly behavior ensues. We finish recording our sumac video and let David try some. He likes it!

Dinner is served!

9:00 pm: As Courtney and Isaac are leaving, Cedar holds out his hand to David and says, “give me five!” I guess they are congratulating each other on a day well played ;) . I take David potty. He is stimulated from a full day of fun so we create a calm atmosphere. We turn off all the lights in our home and I slowly dance with him to “Oh Holy Night.” We cuddle on the bed. David crawls off the bed and pees on the floor. Only two misses today. Nice!

10:00 pm: David is finally asleep! I drink some sumac-ade and get on the computer. Bryan cleans up and makes home made kombucha. He is the best!

11:30 pm: I stretch, brush my teeth and get into bed. My favorite part of my day is snuggling with my family. I am blessed.

P.S. To learn advanced parenting techniques click here for books and information on how to raise a super being.

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