I ask myself this frequently. What is this all about, this parenting lark? What defines me as a parent, specifically, other than the fact I have a child (a toddler girl, Aeryn, now almost 2 and much bigger than the photo below!)
I am an attachment parent. We co-sleep in a big family bed (safely, using UNICEF guidelines). I am breastfeeding until Aeryn self-weans. I wear her in a wrap or carrier, when she lets me (she prefers to walk herself now she’s almost 2!).
Our approach is rooted in the science of attachment theory, rather than just hippy nonsense. The importance of attachment has a strong evidence base, especially the importance of touch, the fourth trimester and how attachment and connection with caregivers affects the developing mind of the infant/child. Plus it feels right to us! We aren’t forcing ourselves to do it like this, it’s how we naturally are as parents.
We practice respectful, gentle parenting. This means we recognise that behaviours and emotions that could be perceived as “bad”, “naughty” or “wrong” are in fact age- and developmentally-appropriate responses to upsetting, unsettling, overwhelming or new things and should be met with empathy, love, connection, gentleness, a sharing of feelings and guidance where necessary. We don’t do time-outs, naughty steps, arbitrary punishments and absolutely never use corporal punishment of any kind. We view Aeryn as a complete person worthy of respect and compassion. I wouldn’t hit an adult who acted out, so why would I hit a child who has even less capability to control their behaviour?
This isn’t to say we think she can do no wrong or is better than other children. We think this about all children. All kids deserve respect, their fundamenatal human & children’s rights and freedom from violence in all its forms.
We plan to home educate. Actually, I view learning and life as two inseparable, intertwined concepts and find we are constantly learning and have been since birth or before, but as far as “the system” is concerned, she is not yet compulsory school age and therefore is a “future” home educated child! I have a keen interest in “alternative” education approaches, including Reggio Emilia, Montessori, Forest Schools and especially Unschooling. I love John Holt and Sir Ken Robinson as starting points. I’m still learning all the time, too – Aeryn inspires me to discover!
I am a feminist. I am also a stay at home parent. This confuses more people than you would imagine! My husband Ben also vocally identifies as a feminist.
So what has all this got to do with anything? Why are you even blogging?
Well, I’m actually constantly surprised by how weird all of this is to normal people, including most parents. We float in circles of families similar to us, but now and again I stumble on something that reminds me that most people think I’m completely crazy. So I’m blogging in part to connect with the universe and find a community of people doing things like us!
What’s with the name of the blog?
A rainbow baby is one born after a baby loss, such as a miscarriage or stillbirth. Aeryn is our rainbow after miscarriage. This blog is me sharing my life and approach to raising my rainbow (soon to be rainbows!) with the ghosts in the machine. Or whoever. Enjoy!