I have been writing very little lately. I always become aware of how little I write when I start feeling awkward. I find myself complaining about "this feeling of inadequacy" and then I realize of my urgent need to write. It has been like this for a long time. However, I don't seem to find the mood to write in my journal as I used to do, so I've thought I would give it a go here, why not.
Today I was wondering whether I am the only mother who has decided to quit some of her business and stay at home with her daughter most of the time. I know I am not. I mean I follow many blogs whose authors are SAHM -or WAHM. Neither of them lives in Spain, though. It seems there are so very few here I sometimes find it difficult to share. If you are out there and relate to what I say, please stop and say "hello". Even my two best maternity friends have already gone back to work and whereas we share parenting ways and many good get-togethers, I am the odd one now.
One of the issues I wanted to write about was why we very seldom say "no" around here. Without ever discussing the subject, both my husband and I have agreed that giving alternatives worked better than saying "no". If we pay attention to an adult talking to a baby or toddler, we can quickly note the word "no" is on the top ten words the adult uses. I had noticed that before becoming a mother and I found it annoying. Well, I must say I always take words very literally so I found it sort of negative. There are several ways of saying "no" without negating, without prohibiting. And this is actually what my husband and I do with our toddler.
First of all, we don't leave the items we don't thing she should touch anywhere within her reach. There are very few off-limits objects in our house, by the way. She has access to all rooms, including kitchen and bathrooms. Only my husband's camera and laptop are "forbidden" but they are never left on a reachable surface, so out of the question. This eliminates a slew of potential "noes".
When she was a small baby, we let her free to explore and never discouraged her from bringing things into her mouth. Many times I get asked how is it that M doesn't put in her mouth everything she finds along the way and I guess it is because she has overgrown this interest.
We have always let her explore. In the studio, for instance, we used to have many of her books on the lower shelves and she used to grab them, dump them and play on top. Little by little she grew acquainted with books. Our house is full of books. Our experience has showed us that children don't necessarily tear pages. This is, I believe, another of the negative opinions grown-ups have about young children. In my humble opinion, children's behaviors become destructive when they have nothing interesting to become engaged with. This may happen when the environment is not child-friendly and they don't have freedom of movement.
Something similar happens with the ever-present fear of choking. I know our particular experience can't be raised to general, but from what we have seen babies are very capable of spitting out seeds, stones, or pits. It might have been that M was never bottle-fed and hardly ever pureé-fed, but the truth is that she can eat custard apple and spit the pits out. I have also seen other children eating cherries at 10 months without ever choking. This leads me to believe that the more we empower our babies, the more capable they are. Unfortunately, I feel in our society babies are too often over-protected in a way that renders them unable to perform actions which are otherwise natural abilities inherent to human beings.