Welcome to the December 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: The More Things Change…
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 life changes.
I've enjoyed learning more about the body's state of homeostasis: the tendency toward stability, as controlled through multiple and ongoing small changes.
For instance, our body's temperature might be an average of 98.6 degrees (or not) — but only because the body constantly reacts to make it so, sweating to cool us, shivering to warm us, and many smaller responses that we don't even consciously register.
In other words, we're always changing — and always staying the same.
I feel a lot of homeostasis in my own life.
We had a hard time writing our Christmas letter this year, because nothing major seems to have happened. We didn't have a baby (2011's letter) or start homeschooling (2012's). We added some cats and went on a trip, but nothing compellingly newsworthy.
And, yet, I can see all the small changes throughout the year.
We didn't start homeschooling this year, but Mikko did enter first grade, for what that's worth — and it seems like a lot to me. It's childhood, yes? And his missing teeth remind me of that — of that iconic elementary-school age.
Sam and I used this year to work out a new schedule that more or less put us back where we were before, but in a more efficient way. We're both still working and still spending time with the boys, but we trade off days and have a family day in the middle of the week.
We're still all cosleeping in a family bed, but Alrik's changed up some of his nighttime positions. He'll willingly go to sleep now with Sam, with a little bit of back scratching and snuggles, and he spends a lot of the night on his side of the bed, coming to me mainly in the morning for wake-up nummies.
Speaking of which, Alrik's still breastfeeding at two and a half, and it feels much the same as usual. But I know he's gone longer hours between feedings and become more amenable to waking up and sleeping without his favorite snack, if I'm not available. Sometimes the nursing still seems constant, but I have to assume it's not.
It's been a year and a couple months now since Sam and I went grain-free, and we try little tweaks here and there to figure out what suits us best in this way of eating. We're sometimes stricter with ourselves, and sometimes much more lax, but it all seems to even out over time.
Even our year's new kitty additions have just brought me back into the familiarity of having purr-bots sharing our space and our laps, missing since Mrs. Pim died when I was pregnant with Alrik. I'm grateful to have pets again, and to share that experience with my boys, who adore their much furrier sibs. (The feeling's not always mutual, but I expected that as well.)
I know all these little changes will add up over time to bigger changes — as with Mikko's weaning being the culmination of months of cutting down on nursing sessions, or our plans to move the boys finally into their own room for nighttime — but I have to believe that homeostasis will persist. Not in the details, but in the heart of our family, in the paths of connection we've worn and the habits of togetherness we've forged.
I have this sense that we all of us have a baseline, and that even in the large changes, we all come back to our baseline at some point. It might take some of us longer than others to regulate, depending on the nature of the change and our own adaptability, but we always seek that even keel. I find this a very comforting thought: that no matter what transpires to knock us around, we will at our roots still be ourselves, and we'll find our balance again.
Homeostasis is not a stagnancy, but a series of corrective tacks that point us in the desired direction. Despite the lack of news this past year, I'm embracing our homeostatic balance.
What's changed in your life this past year? What's stayed the same? What's disappointed or excited you about the past or your plans for the future?
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- Mature Student — Amber Strocel is embarking on a new adventure in 2014, by returning to a space in her life she thought she'd left behind - that of being a university student.
- And then there were four — Jillian at Mommyhood learned how quickly love can grow when welcoming a second child to the family.
- Handling Change As A Mother (And Why That Takes Things To A Different Level) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she helps her young daughter navigate change and why it is so important, as a mother, to gauge her own reactions to change.
- Without Dad-One Year Later — Erica at ChildOrganics shares how her life has changed one year after losing her husband suddenly.
- Family Ties — Lori at TEACH through Love realized that her most significant, most painful wound paved the way for her to share her greatest gift.
- Rootless — After Dionna @ Code Name: Mama's parents packed up their home and moved to Florida this fall, she is feeling rootless and restless.
- A Letter to My Mama Self in the Swirl of Change — Sheila Pai of A Living Family shares a letter she wrote to herself to capture and remember the incredible changes from the year, and invites you to do the same and share!
- Junctions — sustainablemum explains how her family has dealt with a complete change of direction this year.
- Planning, Parenting, and Perfection — Becca at The Earthling's Handbook explains how most of the plans she made for her adult life have worked out differently than she planned, but she's ended up getting a lot of what she really wanted.
- Why First Grade Means Growing Up... for Both Me and My Daughter — Donna at Eco-Mothering discovers that her daughter's transition into first grade is harder as a parent.
- First Year of Mothering — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot reflects on the quiet change that took her by surprise this year.
- Building the Community YOu Desire — A recent move has Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children working toward setting up a new support network.
- Slowing down in 2013 — A car fire and a surprise diagnosis of Down syndrome made 2013 a very different year than the one Crunchy Con Mommy and family were expecting!
- The Seven Year Cycle — After 7 intense years of baking, birthing and breastfeeding 6 kids, Zoie at TouchstoneZ wonders, "Will I be enough for what comes next?"
- Rebirth — Kellie of Our Mindful Life has found that each of her births leaves her a different person.
- When a Hobby Becomes a Business — This year, new doors opened for That Mama Gretchen's hobby of writing and blogging - it has turned into a side business. She's sharing a bit about her journey and some helpful tips in case you're interested in following the same path.
- 5 Tips for Embracing a Big Change in Your Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about a big change in her family and shares tips that have always helped her family embrace changes.
- Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes — Ana at Panda & Ananaso ruminates on how having a child changed her priorities.
- Homeostasis — Lauren at Hobo Mama is finding that even as elements shift in her life — in cosleeping, homeschooling, breastfeeding, & more — they mostly remain very familiar.
- Sally go round the sun — A new baby brings joy and unexpected sadness for Douglas at Friendly Encounters, as she is diagnosed with a rare genetic condition.
- Embrace it — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen muses about the changes in her family this year and how she can embrace them . . . as best she can anyway.
- Big Change; Seamless but Big — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how one of the biggest changes of her life was also a seamless transition.
- Celebrating Change — Change feeds Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep's soul. And all the work that seemed like monotonous nothingness finally pays off in a clear way.