Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Parenting fear : to kill a pink rabbit...

Welcome to the February 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Fears This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about parenting fears.

I don't think that I had any particular fear linked to parenthood before I became myself a parent. Rather, I was in the blessed ignorance of the first learning stage : you don't know what you don't know.

Now ? Well, let me tell you a story...

This is actually a post I wrote a while ago and that was called 'The Pink Rabbit that Was'

When DDs 1 and 2 were small I regularly went through their stuff and gave to charity any toy that they had outgrown, didn't play with anymore or had never played with. That was the only way I could more or less keep on top of the mess.
These days I unfortunately don't do it often enough and I definitely can't keep on top of the mess. It would actually be more necessary than ever to declutter, the family having grown to 6 members and still living in a terraced, small victorian 3 beds cottage.

Anyway I used to do it and I was generally lucky in my choices, nothing got missed... until the fateful day when DD1 was about 5 and I gave away a very big, very pink soft toy rabbit that belonged to her and that she never played with anymore, only to discover that she actually LOVED it. It hit me during a parent-teacher evening at her school. She had written in her literacy exercise book that she was sad because she had lost her pink rabbit...

I felt wretched, drowned in guilt. I had caused her to be so sad that, at only 5, she had written about it!
I began a frantic search for the rabbit on ebay. I had given it via a collection bag so no hope to retrieve it from the charity shop. For weeks, months, I looked at hundred of posts for soft toys rabbits but not one looked close enough to the 'real' one for me. DH kept telling me that she would forget but she kept talking about it from time to time. Eventually I stopped looking and hoped she would indeed forget. By the way, I hadn't told her it was definitively gone, officially it was only 'lost'.

The time flew by as it does. DD1 still mentionned the pink rabbit occasionally and I would go onto ebay again. Suddenly my little girl was 9 and... still thinking about her rabbit (oh, the guilt for me!). I started looking again, not finding but thinking "I can barely remember what it exactely looked like. Will she?" Finally I found one that looked fairly like it and bought it. I put it on her bed and waited with bated breath.

She loved it. She did think it was the one from when she was small and she's really happy. At least she's happy although I'm still ridden with guilt.

And this is my biggest fear. That time it was a frenzy of decluttering and an unfortunate choice, and I could never have foreseen it would stay with her for so long. All that we do or say can carry such a weight with our children... It could be a harsh word, an unfair blame, anything. The pink rabbit has become a symbol of my biggest parenting fear: what if, one day, I made disappear and could never replace another 'pink rabbit' ?!?

*** Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting! Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (list will be final around 5pm PST February 11):
  • When Parents' Fears Escalate — If we didn't self-doubt, we probably wouldn't care enough about our children to struggle with understanding them. But how do we overcome self-doubt? Read advice from Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., guest posting today at Natural Parents Network.
  • What ifs of addiction — After seeing how addictions of adult children is badly hurting a family close to her heart, Hannah at HannahandHorn shares her fears for her own child.
  • Sharing My Joy — Kellie at Our Mindful Life shares her fear that others think she is judgmental because she makes alternative choices for her own family.
  • Building My Tribe Fearlessly — A meteorite hit Jaye Anne at Tribal Mama's family when she was seven years old. Read the story, how she feels about that now, and how she is building her tribe fearlessly.
  • Fear: Realized — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen shares how her fear of car accidents was realized and how she hopes to be able to use her efforts to overcome the remaining fears to help her children overcome their own.
  • I'm a Negligent Helicopter Parent — For Issa Waters at LoveLiveGrow, the line between helicopter parenting and negligent parenting is not so cut and dried.
  • My Greatest Fear For My Child — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama admits that she has struggled with not allowing her fears to control her and how the reality of this was blown wide open when she became a mother.
  • Procactive Steps to Calm Parenting Fears — Every parent has certain fears related to dangerous situations, That Mama Gretchen shares ways she is preparing herself and her children for emergencies.
  • Homeschooling Fears – Will My Children Regret Being Homeschooled? — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares an interview with her now-adult children that answers a question she had throughout their homeschooling.
  • An Uneasy Truce — Homeschooler and recent convert to unschooling, Tam at tinsenpup shares just a few of the things she tries to keep in mind when fear and insecurity begin to take hold.
  • Fearing the worst, expecting the best — Tarana at Sand In My Toes writes about fears that come with parenting, and why we must overcome them.
  • Can I be the parent I want to be? — Amanda at Postilius confronts her struggle to peacefully parent a preschooler
  • Out of Mind, Out of Fear — How does Jorje of Momma Jorje deal with her pretty steep, long-term fears regarding her son's future?
  • I Don't Homeschool to Manage My Kids' Transcripts — One of Dionna at Code Name: Mama's fears of parenting is that she will get so caught up in the monotony, the details of homeschooling, the minutiae of everyday life, the routine of taking care of a household - that she will forget to actually be present in the moment with her children.
  • Beware! Single Mom Camping — Erica at ChildOrganics shares her first adventures as a single mom. She laughed, she cried, she faced her fears.
  • Parenting Fears And Reality Checks — Luschka from Diary of a First Child shares her three biggest fears as a parent - that most parents share - looks at the reality behind these fears, and offers a few suggestions for enjoying parenting.
  • Parenting fear : to kill a pink rabbit...Mother Goutte tells us the story of a pink rabbit that disappeared, came back, and became the symbol of her worst parenting fear...
  • Roamingsustainablemum considers whether allowing your children freedom to explore the world safely is harder now than in the past.
  • Meeting my parenting fears head-on — Lauren at Hobo Mama had many fears before she became a parent. Learn how they all came true — and weren't anywhere near as scary as she'd thought.
  • Don't fear the tears — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger worried that letting her children cry when going to sleep was tantamount to the dreaded parenting moniker, CIO. She discusses what actually happened after those teary nights, and how she hopes these lessons can carry forward to future parenting opportunities.
  • Will I Still be a Good Mom? — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot worries about her mothering skills now that breastfeeding is no longer the top priority.
  • Pregnancy Fears: It Happened to My Sisters, It Will Happen to Me... — Kristen at Baby Giveaways Galore discusses the difficulties with pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding that the women in her family have had and how she overcame them.
  • Fears — Meegs at A New Day talks about how her fears before parenting led to a better understanding of herself and her desires for her daughter.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

French cuisine...

I have been having quite a strange discussion on Twitter with the talented and very funny Jo Sandelson. It started with her latest post and a mention of Outnumbered and went onto eating hamsters, Guinea pigs and rats...

The Guinea pig part actually came from a real recipe that I have in a French recipe book published in 1950. I don't think that roast Guinea pig as Sunday lunch really 'caught' with French housewives ; I was just as surprised as the next non-eater of pets to find that recipe in my book.

Saying that... French people do like their rabbit, which I have never seen among any British butcher's ware or in any gourmet restaurant. I was myself quite partial to the rabbit stew my mother used to cook with red wine and mushrooms. I am going all misty eyed just thinking about it...

When we lived in Paris my mother used to go to a volailler (a butcher specialised in poultry) to by the cervelle that my brother liked as a little boy. Not my thing personally, I can't stand rubbery or floppy food. Although I used to eat snails at Christmas (that's festive French delicacies for you) but just because I loved the persillade (parsley and garlic butter) with which they were seasoned. Until I was old enough to realise that I could make the persillade and have it with something different. A whole childhood of being conned into eating slimy snails *sigh* ...

But, sorry to disappoint, I have never ever eaten frogs' legs and don't know anyone either who has.

I don't eat oysters, or Roquefort (blue cheese), didn't eat any strong cheese until I was at least 12 and only recently acquired a taste for foie gras. Believe me, coming from a family which half originated in the South West of France, with aunts making their own homemade foie gras, this was a major set back.

Talking of this part of the family, that's where the story about eating rat came from. Apparently one of my great great great, great... , aunts died during the siege of Paris because she refused to eat rat. Maybe not a story as funny as my grand dad's while he was working on a building site that involved tunnels. He and his fellow workmen used to hang their food from the ceiling to preserve it from the rats but they always found the rats had got at it no matter what! So one night they hid and waited. According to my grand dad they saw the rats giving each other a leg up to get to the food...!

Now my children... Although we go back to France regularly you can't help the fact that the food is ever so slightly different here. I mean, even if I made French dishes for every single meal, the ingredients are different. Sausages, minced beef, butter, milk, it's just not the same. So my children have a mixed Franco-British palate. When DD1 was only 3 years old we were on holidays in France and went to a bakery one morning. We thought it would be a treat to place our little one in front of all the enticing croissants, pains au chocolat, pains aux raisins, chaussons aux pommes, brioches... We asked her what she wanted and she said :

"I want a Chelsea Bun."