Hello! Thanks for following me and allowing me into your inboxes. It’s a very intimate thing to give someone permission to your inbox and I’m grateful that you’ve trusted my words enough to do so. I love when you comment and when you like my post, it lets me know that you’re listening and resonating with my words. I love that we are getting to know each other and that you get that I’m often silly. Let’s do this thing; lets discuss and follow our passions while figuring out this thing called life.
My life began to change once I started asking the right questions. Even without answers they were powerful reminders and directions to follow. I still ask a lot of questions and try to wait with an open mind and heart. I could feel myself lifting up out of despair and purposelessness when I asked myself things like “What wants to happen in this moment?”. The simplicity of it was profound enough to pull me out of my own beliefs of what should be happening and it allowed me to start listening, watching. Other questions I’ve asked during complete uncontrollable chaos is “What is being expressed right now? What wants to be expressed?”. I have discovered that the point for me is to be of service; to see the need without my own ideas and beliefs. To be available to fill that need with glasses of water, a warm hug, a bowl of soup or an ear to listen. We are all needed, so much more than we know. And it’s not about being a slave but rather being so clear in our purpose that we can be an incredible support to others and ourselves. Maybe what this moment is needing is a warm bath or a good cry or a nourishing bulletproof coffee for yourself? It is about doing small things with great love and purpose. And I get that it’s not always way and that it’s constant work. I’ll never be done opening myself up to what wants to come through. I wake up every morning having to re-commit. What is it like for you?
It’s not even nine in the morning and already I’ve had a major life humbling. My son was looking for his batman mask and cape, his common attire. I said I would go and look for it in the van on my way back from taking out the compost. I looked in the van. The front. The middle. The back. I didn’t see it. When I came in empty handed my son began to scream this high pitched intense wail. I immediately recoiled in horror and assumed that this was another one of his fits resembling a bad acid trip where he insists things that don’t exist are real. I began to feel the frustration bubble up in me and I seriously wanted to smash the screaming out of him. I noticed my intense desire to suppress his emotions because they were too much for me. I was triggered doesn’t begin to explain it. Looking back, I’m amazed at how easy the solution (not the smashing one) was. I thought “what freaking harm would it be to take him to look in the van again and prove I am right?”. He immediately stopped screaming when I said I would take him out to look. Interesting. On our way out to -30 temperatures he began to tell me how the cape and mask were in a white bag by his car seat. Well, whadda ya know? It was there. Wow. I apologized to him and said he just wanted me to listen and that’s why he was so upset. Not because he’s an asshole. He nodded and was content and harboured no ill feelings towards me. I’m amazed by the way children don’t even need to forgive. He just accept it as it is and was content to have his cape.
One day I decided to stop lying to my children about what they were eating. I would always try to sneak in a little hemp hearts or cod liver oil or whatever my newest fad food was at the time. I started to wonder if this practice may have been hurting them more than helping. I thought about this deeply and realized that it didn’t feel honest and authentic to me. By lying about their food I was sending them the message that I didn’t trust them to want to nourish their bodies. I was also creating a relationship of distrust in such an intimate way. Food is something that we put inside our bodies. How could I be all gung-ho for food labelling yet not allow my children to know what they were eating?!?!? I’m amazed by my own level of narrow minded thinking but we grow and learn better, right?
Another thing I thought about was how powerful it is to associate what we eat and how we feel. I wasn’t allowing my children that opportunity to make the food/body connection because I assumed that I knew best. I assumed they wouldn’t want to do the best thing for themselves. That’s crazy talk (or thought). All humans want the best.
So, I swallowed my fear and clenched my butt a little, when I said ” there’s hearts and livers in that chili.” and “Yes, I added some raw egg to that”.
When I first started being honest they would often decline to eat because I had trained them that health foods were to be hidden and mistrusted. Things are much different now.
My oldest son was sure that he HATED kombucha because I didn’t tell him that I added into jellos and soups and other things, but once I started telling him, then he knew he liked kombucha and was more willing to try stuff. Everything, he was more open to trying everything!
We are actually coming to a place where the previously hidden ingredients are now prized treasures. My daughter often asks if something is good for her as she knows the value of it. My son looks up recipes for new healthy things to try. He can be heard saying such things into google search as “heallllthy marshhhhhhmalllllows.”. I believe that this honesty has improved our relationships (and our lives) in so many ways. I feel like I can openly talk about what I am fermenting and making with it and they are interested and happy to try it, most of the time. They are still human though and sometimes I wonder when I will have gone too far. The boys did try the authentic headcheese I made last week even after seeing the “ingredients”. 😀
Do you sneak foods into your kids?
WARNING: Rambly and inspiring post.
We all have different priorities when it comes to parenting, when it come to life.
I think a lot about what I want my children to learn, to know when they are adults. It’s often met with curiosity and concern when I tell people. Most just don’t get it and that’s ok. It seems that my goals are quite different than what most people think about. If you’re still reading, hooray! I’ll tell you more about me…
I want my children to be able to take care of themselves physically, mentally and spiritually regardless of circumstance.
What does it mean to me to be able to take care of ourselves physically?
To me this means that as humans we can produce, source and prepare our own food locally. This sounds like an incredibly daunting task but it doesn’t have to be especially if you can connect with other people interested in this. (I will be blogging a lot about how to do this in the very soon future.) My children have followed my lead to real food and take great interest and pleasure in growing and harvesting food, going out to farms, hunting, butchering our own meat and being in the kitchen with me. I see a great value in being able to provide nourishing and convenient foods for yourself. If your food is hurting you, all other areas in your life will be harmed. It’s amazing what people that are well nourished can accomplish. It improves morale, motivation and energy for life. Many, many people do not know how to feed themselves anymore. One of the saddest things I experience is when I go to the grocery store and see elderly people or busy parents with grocery carts full of processed convenient foods. I don’t feel judgmental (anymore) but rather I see what they are missing out on; Flavour and harmony within their bodies. It feels amazing to be nourished by a steaming bowl of homemade soup or stew. It’s something that I wish for everyone. If you’re in need, come over to my house for a bowl and a cuppa. With eating well, we are more aware of our bodies and our needs and it leads us to be able to access alternative forms of health care with great success. It also means that we trust when we need medical advice/help from a doctor.
What does it look like to take care of ourselves mentally? To me this means that a person owns and takes responsibility for their life. They don’t blame and they don’t go looking for external things to make them anything; happy or sad. That’s right, people do that, I do that! I go LOOKING for situations to make me upset so I can limit the good in my life because I’ve hated myself so much. No more. I’ve been saying no to that now and it’s working.
Taking care of ourselves spiritually to me means having purposes that remain a touchstone in our lives to bring us back from our own despair. I often need to re-commit to the process of growth, of love, of good food, sustainable living, peaceful parenting and all the other new age hippy cliches. It’s wonderful to remind myself and rediscover the beauty and the magnificence of my purposes after a spell of momentary mommy insanity. It’s sweetness in action.
Are my actions coinciding with these goals? I ask myself that all the time and often it’s “no”. But I move on, growing and getting closer and seeing the beautiful results. More importantly, I’m enjoying this one life. What else is there to do but enjoy and take it all in?
What are some of the things you think about for your children?
Five children and thirteen years later, I feel like I’m just starting to get it. There’s been school, spankings, homeschooling, AP, general hippyness, Unschooling and then there is radical Unschooling. What does it all mean and which one am I? We’ve experimented a lot with which labels best define us and I really feel done with that. The uncertainty has been fading or it’s being met with an acceptance of the uncertainty. I know the flow of ups and downs, happy and sad, ok and not ok. It’s all encompassing in this life and one bad moment does not negate a life of beauty. That bad moment is transformed by my state of mind into the beauty itself. I find myself able to enjoy being a parent while tantrums, poop messes and unbelievably extreme unhappiness are occurring. When you’re a parent without expectations and stories, it opens you up to just enjoy being guardian to these tiny beings. It allows you to be an amazing support to your child and to think reasonably about solutions that are loving and patient. Don’t get me wrong, I still experience myself yelling and frustrated. I noticed the other day as out slips things like “what the fucking fuck?!?!?”. But I forgive myself immediately and move on. Does that make me a bad parent? I use to think (unconsciously) that guilt made me good. I thought it meant that I wanted to be better and I should feel bad for being such an ass of a human being to such innocent beings. What a waste that was. Moving on makes me better and ready for what’s next. I’m addressing the stories I’ve told myself. Turns out that I don’t need to worry about raising illiterate criminals who abuse the welfare system and I also don’t need to worry about what other people think. How many times have you told yourself not to, and then went and did it anyways? Times are changing and worry be a fadin’. Now I look and see what is next…what is mine to do?
Did you know that traditional people and much of the world’s people now have used or do use elimination communication to take care of their infants needs to eliminate waste? Can you imagine what would happen if China suddenly all started using diapers? Oh, the horror!!! The mountains and mountains of diapers would kill us all! Anyways…
Here is my first video on how to start using EC (elimination communication). I am going to keep it simple, because EC is just that; simple. I will also provide tips and ideas (below) about how to easily EC. I’ve read many books on the subject and have experience with my five children. I have often found the books to be confusing and overwhelming. EC is not confusing or overwhelming at all, it’s easy and very natural.
I’ll give you the video spoiler, in case you’d like to avoid watching it.
How to begin EC? offer the potty. That’s basically the premise, plot and climax of it.
Why use Elimination Communication?
Everyone will have their own reasons but here are mine:
No diaper rash. This is a big one for me. A diaper rash is not only unbearably painful I imagine, but it’s unhealthy. It upsets their natural flora and could be setting them up for a lifetime of problems. Without being exposed to their waste constantly, babies that eliminate in the potty most of the time, do not get diaper rashes.
Another reason is that baby is happier going in the toilet! I’ve experienced this as have others when they start using EC. Some parents discover that their babies “fussiness” is really just them communicating their need to eliminate.
Connection. I remember a distinct strong connection with my first daughter as she stared into my eyes and easily pooped while sitting on the toilet. It was like she was thankful for the opportunity at only six months old.
Less diapers! EC also makes using cloth diapers a breeze as they are soiled less ad fewer diapers. Also I can usually catch the poops, which are the worst to deal with in cloth.
I find that I am more aware of their elimination needs when doing EC even when I miss one. I notice right away an promptly change her.
I noticed that when I began pottying Aayla at 3 weeks old, I was offering her the potty when before I was offering her a boob. It turned out that she did just need to pee those times when she was complaining.
Using less diapers means less money spent and a healthier environment.
Less money spent means less time required to work or more money for tv, junk food and video games. 😛
EC also means that baby is less exposed to chemicals that could be in plastic diapers. Think, chemicals combined with acidic urine and feces. Not good, me thinks…
My tips for EC:
Newborns go a lot more often in the first month of life. Like every fifteen minutes at times. Offer the potty as much as you and babe are comfortable with. The point is for baby to associate the potty with happiness and your desire to help them eliminate. When they are very upset, I hold off until they are a bit more comfortable being naked in a squatting position. I started at 3 weeks old with Aayla (our youngest) and 2 months with Nova.
Some people use a cueing sound like “shhhh” or “psssss”. I did that with Nova and it worked well. I’ve heard of people shushing their babies and getting peed on though. You may also want to avoid “sssss” if you have snakes.
We have been using a cueing song and it’s so much fun! When I put her on I sing the song (which I will post later on YouTube). When I see her going I make a “psss” sound. Once she associates that with her going, I will use it in the future to prompt her.
Aayla’s cueing song.
You can use sign language to cue pottying. . You can use it just as you do the vocal cues.
*When baby is in the wrap, I take her joy when she starts to squirm and I pot her on the potty. I put her back in the wrap immediately and many tem she will go right back to sleep. It’s quite surprising and amzing.
*I did mean that I take her out of the wrap when she starts to squirm. However “taking her joy” was such a funny auto-correct that I couldn’t stand to fix it*
Possible times you would offer the potty:
-When waking. I find sometimes it’s best to offer her the potty before she becomes too fully awake and realizes she is hungry. This could change though as she gets older and you will figure it out as you go along.
-before a feed and after a feed. Sometimes during a feed, but only when necessary because I don’t want her to associate pooping with nursing!
-when diaper has been dry for a while.
-when baby squirms and makes faces, you will begin to recognize these.
-when baby is changing positions. It usually isn’t until I stand up that I realize I need to pee!
-when going to Tim Hortons. I take my baby out of her car seat when she wakes and I offer the potty over a toilet even when traveling.
Dressing baby for easy EC (matching not required):
Long sleeve shirts (winter is coming) and leg warmers. You can buy or make leg warmers. You can buy tube socks and cut them and hem, or not. I’ve also used the sleeves of felted wool sweaters and I used the rest of the sweater as a vest. She is also wearing a diaper with the inserts removed making them like a small pair of padded underwear.
Split pants! These are what they use in china. When you position the child
In squatting, the pants open up. My friend Andrea made these pants adjustable split pants. I’m thinking that if you contact her, she can make you some too. I’ll provide her info at the bottom. If you’re crafty, there’s lots of tutorials online. A good pair of split pants can fit newborn to 18 months or more.
Having easy access to the diaper area makes me not so lazy about taking her to the potty!
Close up of split pants, these ones are fleece as winter is here:
Important things to remember:
There is no one way or right way to EC. You will develop what works for you and your baby.
Remember that EC is effective even if only offered once a day. It is ok if you’ve been unable to offer the potty. It’s important to be happy and not to stress about when missing your babies need to eliminate. A miss does not mean they will never learn or it won’t happen or that you’re a horrible, rotten parent. Just change them immediately and start again. It will get easier and they will use the potty more and more as you offer it. 🙂
Ways (positions) to EC, that I’ve tried:
My favourite position is sitting in bed with the potty between my legs and baby on potty. It’s so lazy and comfy!
I also like sitting on a stool in front of potty, holding her over. Or standing with the potty on the counter on top of a towel to prevent potty sliding all over.
Oops. You caught us…. I washed that sink out before you came over…
What are people saying about EC?
My dad, from Cranbrook:
“Awww, wish somebody would EC me, many a flower bed suffers for the foolish antics of old guys that drink wine. I feel a song coming on so later …..”
“Bunka”, my mom in Gravelbourg:
“It’s very cool and environmentally friendly. I like how you do it too. As soon as she’s upset, you take her off.”
Arielle from Gravelbourg:
“I love that he is happy. Before we tried EC he would cry and squirm. Now if I see these signs I know it’s his way of telling me, “I have to pee!!”
Thanks for reading and remember, people… I’m funny!
~Nadine LeBean the ECing machine.
This blog is provided free of charge and free of advertising, mostly because I can’t figure out how to advertise. 😛
If you’d like to support more stuff like this, you can!
Your donation goes to support my years of research and my having many babies and my reading of tons of books and compiling it all into one silly, little, informative blog post just for you.
I’m also available for free EC consultations and quick questions. You can email me or contact me on Facebook under “Nadine LeBean and the life humblings”.
For donation On paypal or by email transfers (preferable):
Andrea’s split pants, on Facebook.
Your children have become ill, maybe an incredibly sticky wet mess has been made or possibly the incessant screaming over seemingly nothing will surely cause your head to explode. Now is your time to shine. Now is the time in which life is built. Maybe your so absolutely exhausted that you can barely work your muscles enough to pick up your new baby or your children are acting violently towards one another and no amount of talking, separating them or punishing ever pulls them out of it. This is your moment to shine. It’s your opportunity to embrace your loved ones when they need it most and express what matters most.
We’ve been told that we need to react and control the situation. It’s not true. Or at least, it doesn’t have to be true. You can wrap yourself in their little arms and kiss their wet cheeks even when they’ve “misbehaved”. It’s ok to indulge in their love and it’s bottomless. And I think you’ll Find that your own capacity to love is endless too. They really just want to be with us and be loved and accepted. But don’t we all?
Being a mom of five has offered me many of these challenging opportunities. Sometimes many of them all at once while on a car trip far from home, looking for a gas station after our bumper was destroyed by a fender bender. And those words came to me:
This is my moment to shine.
Deep breaths. Warm eye contact and gentle, meaningful embraces gets us through. I’m done with the frustration and the desperation. I’m not doing that anymore. I’m choosing understanding, kindness and love. Living this way was harder to find and at times I could not fathom it. I’m so grateful for these opportunities and life is so much better. It’s heaven to sink deep into my exhaustion not trying to will it away with coffee, worry or regret. I allow my body to feel heavy and the children to be on top of it with my heavy eyes and an open heart. For I know this moment comes but only once. And I want to enjoy it all.
What is your moment to shine?
I am hearing it more… I want to start fermenting but I don’t know where to start!
You could start by seeing what’s available in your area for cultures. There’s many different types of cultures. Some are a Scoby (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) which you remove to make the next batch while others (like yogurt) you just inoculate with some from the last batch. You can also contact Keirsten and I for cultures. We have a great variety of well-loved cultures.
Maybe someone in your area has a kombucha Scoby? I started by making a poor recipe of sauerkraut. It wasn’t until the kombucha though that I really got into it. Kombucha is easy. You make a sugar tea and add the culture which is a weird looking squishy pancake type thing. The culture (or mother) eats the sugar and makes acids and probiotics for you. Kombucha is probably the easiest and least demanding. And it’s my favourite. You won’t ruin kombucha and you won’t kill yourself. It can have up to 60 different strains of probiotics, I hear. It’s also an amazing detoxifier and aids digestion.
Still stuck where to start? Some people like to dive in and get as many cultures as possible. While others like to commit to doing one at a time and doing it really well.
The powerhouses of probiotics (in my opinion) are kombucha and milk kefir. If you’re going to do one, pick one of those. They are also both really easy. Milk kefir is the same idea, where you use a Scoby to ferment. But unlike kombucha, the milk kefir eats milk sugars, not sugar tea. You can also use coconut milk to make delicious milk kefir. I hear almond, rice and soy work as well, but I’ve not tried it.
Both kombucha and milk kefir can be used to inoculate the foods which you are already eating by adding a spoon or two. Milk kefir makes wonderful smoothies. Kombucha can be used to do a second fermentation and make healthy, fizzy, probiotic, fruity soda pop.
You could also pick up some books. Just start reading and looking at recipes. I love Donna Schwenk’s Website and books. She’s been fermenting and doing workshops for over 20 years.
Sandor Katz’s books are also incredible and easy to read and follow, I recommend starting with “Wild Fermentation”.
Milk kefir, over fermented. Lol
Kombucha SCOBY below.
I’ve spent a lot of time not forcing my children to clean up after themselves. Much criticism has come my way because of this… How will they learn to clean up after themselves? Well, I’ve been trusting that they will learn order and cleanliness by being immersed in it and by seeing my joy and journey to provide it. Being forced to clean as a child only made me despise the process. I would do the least possible and rush through it. I really didn’t care, so there goes the theory of forcing them being a good thing. There has to be another way!
I have been hoping to have children that associate cleaning with happiness and ease. I believed that a sense of family and togetherness would also inspire them to be a part of the upkeep of our house.
The first few years have been really hard at times with them being so little. It felt the sticky messes and disasters were never ending and something that I could not conquer. I feared that I would be swallowed alive by the rotten, partially eaten apples with bits of paper and toy after toy with dust bunnies and more food.
Well, I bit my tongue, carried on cleaning and took on moments of that yelling mom. But I’ve pursued the dream and the goals of cleanliness being easy and joyful.
I’m starting to see hints of my efforts. My children and expressing a desire for thing to be nice and taken care of without me asking or forcing.
I’m seeing my children take joy in things such as making the bed. They do it with such care, cooperation and joy that it completely breaks down ally barriers. I’m so humbled by their innocent and honest love for our home. Here’s the video of them after they’ve made our bed. 🙂