Travelling with continuum kids
I am a woman who loves to roam the planet … smelling the different smells, tasting the different tastes and feeling all that is new and different to feel. I am also a mama who wants her children to experience freedom and who also wants them to develop self-confidence, kindness and generosity. So how does the traveller continue to travel when she is also a mama like me?
Yesterday I took a flight with my little sweetheart; leaving home at 9am and arriving at my destination 12 hours later. This 12 hours included long and restricting car rides, extended periods of time stuck in small and very unexciting airports and hours on small planes with mostly men (great for breast feeding!) and a very, very tired child.
Watching my 13 month old daughter as she navigated all the physical restrictions put upon her, (like limited spaces and seat belts) I developed an even deeper respect for her… her ability to be totally in the moment and to find freedom even in the most confined spaces just astounded me.
As for me, the woman who loves to roam… well she just wanted to go home!
This mama read the continuum concept for the first time over 19 years ago and with each child thereafter I have consciously parented with the continuum concept as my guide and friend. It has been and continues to be a beautiful and practical way for me to parent but yesterday as I watched my little sweetheart wriggling her way out of her seatbelt with a very loud voice and finding amusement by crawling into the tiny space under my seat and grabbing the gentleman’s feet behind me (much to his disgust and I must admit mine), I started to question just how the parenting methods from the depths of the Amazon can ever really be adapted to a life of roaming when the majority of people you come across when travelling by plane are not happy with a loud albeit happy child who likes to roam the isle, say hello as she passes and share the meal that you have been waiting for since you first found yourself in this squashed and super unnatural environment.
So many questions and a lot of confusion came to mind as I struggled with the obvious judgement I felt coming from the other passengers due to my apparently “whacky” parenting and the animosity that I faced in that very confined public space as I continued to allow my little one to deal with the restrictions and confinement she found herself in, in the most comfortable way she could.
Ok so I admit a lot of the issues are my own especially when it comes to being judged by others (I wonder where I got those issues from!) and I am happy to say I am working on that…but how to protect the little ones from developing those very issues themselves when sooner or later that glare or ugly stare from the ‘other’ turns away from me and turns toward my little one…How do we raise our kids along the lines of the continuum concept in a society where kids are still meant to be seen and not heard and where freedom and self confidence are not appreciated?