This is what underlies how I strive to raise Jack. That we should eat well and love each other.
Why those two things in particular? Because I believe that without those two things we are at a disadvantage but with them we are fortified to face anything, including changing the world we live in. It’s hard to make change with an empty stomach and an empty heart.
It goes beyond our little family of two. Not only should we eat well and love each other but it’s something we should share with others.
For example, eating well. Oh boy, that’s a charged statement. Eating well leads to being well and it is much more than filling our stomachs. Jack is lucky, lucky, lucky. He lives in an area with easy access to fresh, local food. And he lives with a mother who can afford to refuse to feed him fast food. Though sometimes I fantasize about just throwing some sliced cheese between two slices of bread or making mac and cheese or driving up to a drive-thru window because it would be so easy. Especially on those evenings where I forgot to defrost some meat or I know that I need to pick up some food before I can even think of what to make. But then I throw open the fridge door and I find what to make – even if it is just a fried egg with some fruit on the side. I don’t give in to the ease of processed food because of my next point.
Eating well has so much to do with loving each other. We eat together at the kitchen table twice a day every day. When I am not working, it is 3 times a day. I make all of our food. Except for the yogourt (we eat goat yogourt) and the prosciutto or bacon. Even then, I am careful to choose meat that has a minimum of ingredients. The prosciutto has 3 – pork, salt, pepper. The bacon is brined and then smoked. People (mainly my mother and sister) make fun of me for being so picky about what I choose to feed Jack and myself but I believe it is the right thing to do. Jack loves the food I give him. He stuffs himself with it. He laughs and asks for cinnamon to add flavour to his yogourt. By the time I get my plate ready and sit down for dinner he looks at me with his greasy little hands and cheeks and yodels, “Encore meat!” “Encore sweet potato!” “Encore papaya!” We have a good time when we eat and I love that I know what is going in that little body of his when we eat together.
I know that my mother gives him toast when he is there at breakfast time and his other grandmother gives him ice cream cones and it creeps me out but what can I do? The only thing I can do is let it go and remind myself that if he is at their houses then they are taking care of him and giving me some help.
Back to the loving each other part. Food plays a big role because it is something we share, it is something I make for him to make sure he is healthy, and mealtimes are where we sit together and talk face to face. We do that at other times, too, but I know that as he gets older his days will be busier and I want to start with a solid base of meal times = good food and face to face time. Plus, it gives me a chance to sit and smile at this beautiful boy of mine :)
Lately I find that people are sharing like mad, sharing inspirational images and quotations, that is, on Facebook. I saw this one this morning and I love it. Love, love, love it. This one will be enlarged and hung in our kitchen, which is (or will be…given the state of renovations at the moment…) the heart of the home. (Actually, it still is the heart of the home since it is just about the only room that is usable (despite the plastic wall that hangs over half of it), other than my and Jack’s bedrooms – and mine is serving double duty as my office.)
Why do I like these so much as rules? They are not prohibitive, they are generative. They foster growth and not limits. I firmly believe that we can manage families (and classrooms, for that matter) through rules like these. We don’t need to tell people what not to do, to limit their reach.
What do you think?
This morning I read this blog post by Danielle Elwood about a nurse in in Connecticut. It reminded me of what happened in Montreal at the beginning of the year when a woman was asked to stop nursing in a children’s clothing store. So of course I did a little google search to refresh my tired mommy brain (though it did get 5 1/2 hours of rest last night – woohoo) on the details and was quite shocked to read some of the comments made by (I’m assuming, since the article being commented on was from CTV Montreal) Montrealers in reaction to the story.
Montreal mom gets apology from clothing store over breastfeeding controversy
Be it breast-feeding, spitting on a sidewalk or blowing your nose in a restaurant while others around you eat, bodily fluids do not need to be squirted or misted through the air if you can avoid it. You do what you can to do this as cleanly and privately without infringing upon the “clean-air” rights of others. If you were about to vomit, wouldn’t you run to the nearest toilet a.s.a.p. ??? Common sense people!
Girls dressed scantily aren’t parading around leaking bodily fluids all over the place. I have a litter of puppies so is it ok as a blind person if I bring my guide dog into a store and let her nurse the babes while I do my shopping? This can keep going and going..I’m not being shut down by the “thought police”. What she did was confrontational and insensitive to the senses of other patrons. There are places she could go but I suspect she likes the attention period.
Sorry parents. But the world is not all about you! Take it home and feed it. I do not want to be confronted with your little show be it diaper changing or feeding while I eat a Big Mac. You should know better!
Very inappropriate of Shannon Smith to do this and put the store in an uncomfortable situation. And as for mother’s changing kids publicly in food courts, I too have witnessed this unsanitary little practice and it’s a health risk to others. Since when does being a parent allow you carte-blanche to do what you want, when you want and demand my damn tax dollars to subsidize you and your little mini-you?
There were also a few comments like this one to make me feel a little better
What a bunch of maroons some people are.
The store manager was wrong: the law says women can feed their babies wherever they want. Don’t like it? Take it up with your MNA.
The rest of you: wear a blindfold or seek psychiatric help.
but you get the picture.
I had no idea that there was such anger and disgust around the practice of breastfeeding.
It was never a question whether or not I would breastfeed. This was supported by the fact that the nurses at the hospital where I gave birth didn’t question it either. They just put Jack to my breast as if that were the only option. And they stayed up with me during the first few long days and nights when we were having …difficulties, shall we say, with the latching process. (Ouch) And they have continued to support me over the past 4 months as I am determined to continue breastfeeding Jack.
Not only was it never a question, breastfeeding is protected under various charters of human rights. Given this supportive environment I feel myself to be in, I need to say I am, the only word that comes to mind is, flabbergasted at these reactions.
Jack turned 7 weeks old on Friday. I feel like he’s been around forever yet also can’t believe almost 2 months have gone by since he’s been in the picture. My life has become the Jack show, with very few intermissions.
On leading from the heart I wrote about how he has taught me to listen and how that can be related to listening to my students’ needs in the classroom. He’s also taught me that what he needs the most are the essentials – food, shelter, and love. Begs me to ask – to what point, as teachers, are we responsible for providing all or some of those needs? Do they stop at the parents? I think not. I think I am my best teacher when I am aware of these basic needs and make sure that my students continue to feel nourished, comforted (sheltered), and loved in my classroom.
I’m aware that there are those who feel their jobs end at teaching content. What do you think?