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Dear baby girl,
Confidence and charm will take you quite far down the road of life, but wisdom and discernment will help you choose the right direction.
Knowledge from education will offer a vehicle for your travels.
Imagination and creative vision will make your way beautiful.
Compassion and gratitude will provide your path with purpose.
Patience and faith will keep you moving forward.
And LOVE will always remind you where you are going.
I Love You,
Mama.

 
 
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For the past couple of months, Marley's little baby sounds have been taking shape into recognizable syllables. The first time she articulated "Mama," it was almost indistinct; coming forth from the darkness of her nursery. Her lips formulating "m," "m," within the weep of a sleepy, teething cry. The sound was a plea for connection: "maaaamaaaa." As I gathered her up and held her close, it felt like nothing short of my dharma (highest calling). There was no place on Earth I would rather be in that moment than right there, in the sweetness, comforting my baby. My heart would never be the same. 

It is one of those HUGE little things that make motherhood so spectacular, so heartbreaking and so fun. And nothing can prepare you for it—the unexpected surprise of it—the absolute joy of being a mama. 

Today, for Mother's Day, Mardo and Marley let me sleep in, made me a delicious gourmet breakfast, then offered to spend the day together so that I can work on my Ph.D. dissertation proposal in the quiet, alone. I relish the opportunity to work. I dive in and swim around in the Jungian archetypes, Hindu mythology, and Christian philosophy. Surrounded by fascinating books and essay pages, my mind wanders and I wonder, 
"What is the baby doing right now?" 

I realize the inexplicable attachment to my child. It is a love beyond explanation or even understanding, and yet it comes with a price. For me, and so many other mothers, I hope, motherhood marks a shift of consciousness and an opportunity for deep psycho-spiritual growth. Every new level of awareness strips us down, like a snake shedding her skin. The old is sloughed off and the new gleams eventually out from underneath. According to VeterinaryPartner.com, shedding can be an uncomfortable experience for a snake; just as "letting go" can be tricky for us mamas. And there is so much attachment to work through: citta vrttis (turning thoughts) spinning in every direction. The mama-hood monkey mind is one of the most challenging to release. Without yoga and meditation, I might certainly implode. 

My dissertation revolves around this very phenomenon: motherhood with its delicate difficulties, and the effective methods for finding peace when we need it the most. Of course, every mother is different. Every child is an individual, too. So, every motherhood is a uniquely personal experience. 

I am a new mother. I imagine that there are seasoned mothers who wink to one another, knowingly, behind my back. Those of you, who have been there, done that...and lived to shed another skin; you have become an expert at taking  one day at a time, growing into confidence and wisdom, while at the same time, remaining sensitively...attached. After all, you are a mom. 

If you're a mama, will you help me? Below, are some questions that will inform my dissertation. Please take a moment and copy/paste them into an email and send your answers to me at: shakti@rrshakti.com.
Feel free to answer just the questions that interest you, or all of them. Also, let me know if you would like to see the final project, and I will put you on a list to receive an electronic copy of my dissertation. Thank you! 

  1. When you say, "I love my child," what does that mean? 
  2. What is the greatest joy(s) of motherhood?
  3. What are your most haunting concerns, or fears, as a mother?
  4. How do you work with your fears? 
  5. How old were you when you first became a mom?
  6. Do you think motherhood is easier as a "young mom" or an "older mom?" 
  7. What was the most challenging moment for you as a mother? How did you get through it? 
  8. How many children do you have and what are their ages?
  9. What is the one best piece of advice you could give to a new mom? 
  10. What have you learned from your child(ren)?


In Love and Gratitude, 
R.R. Shakti 

 
 
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Let's not beat around the bush, here. This is where to go and what to buy: Under the Nile is hands down one of the best sites for organic baby clothing staples. I seriously fancy Marley's 100% organic Muslin side tie kimono for my own self. If they made it in ladies' sizes, I'd sport it without shame.

I love the clean crisp fabric and the simplicity of styling. The side ties make it so easy, diapers can be changed lickety-split with your eyes closed, in the dark, and with only half your wits about you. It's absorbent, warm and holds up in the wash.

The kimono is not footed, however, so you'll need a pair of socks. I highly recommend Country Kids organic footwear. What's great: the fold-overs. They don't tell you in the biology books, but babies are part cricket. Their tiny feet rub together and rub together... and rub together some more, until all socks are on the floor. All socks, that is, except the trusty fold-overs. And keeping socks on the feet through the night is a good thing. After all, warm feet = a warm heart.

If it's even more warmth you're after, double up with a soft organic Egyptian cotton sleep sac. Safer than a blanket, this sleep sac is a little piece of heaven for your angel-monkey.

I bought Marley's goods (shown above) at a Whole Foods Market in San Fransisco. You can also go online to the Under the Nile website where you'll get to hear a plucky little tune and see cartoon owls interact with photos of live children. It's trippy in a super cute, heart-warming way.

 

Nununu

03/07/2013

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Like baby costumes from The Matrix,
but cuter.
wild child rating: 🐵🐵🐵🐒

We received so many adorable hand-me-downs (thanks to EVERYONE!) that I didn't HAVE to buy much for our little wild child. BUT sometimes ya just GOTTA!
Like when I saw these super fun Nununu onesies discounted on the Gilt Groupe website and thought to myself: "whaaaaaaat?"





What I LOVE about Nununu:
1. the rad styling (and I do mean rad. 1989 called and it approves.)
2. the MC Hammer crotch, which is perfectly roomy for a diapered booty.
3. the U.S.A.-made construction.

Why I'm not totally—off the charts—wild:

1. I want more and don't know how to get them.
2. Spendy $$$
3. The seams wore out a bit and made me sad. (It was worth getting out the needle and thread, however, for a rock-star baby.)


 
 
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gDiapers for when parenting gets real.
wild child rating: 💗💗💗💗🐒

I LOVE these diapers!
Thanks to Inner Power Yogini, Lu Milius, for gifting her with that first newborn bundle, Marley has been rockin the g's since day one.
"gDiapers are the only diaper to be certified Cradle to Cradle. It means that everything that goes into a gDiapers disposable insert will be re-absorbed by the planet in a neutral or positive way."
...and the hype is true. The biodegradable insert makes life easy. The organic cotton/hemp lining is absorbent (no leaks!), and so much nicer to Ma Earth than the land-filling alternatives. The outer shells compliment Marley's adorable personality. As my grandma said, "That looks too cute to be a diaper."

And let's chat price 'cuz let's face it, that is the question, for shizzle:
An initial investment of about $500 keeps Marley clean and dry until she's going pee-pee on the potty.
Compare that to about $25 a week for the leading "natural" disposable brand. For the math-challenged, that adds up to a lot more spending over time.

The only down-side: more laundry.
But that is, after all, what having a child is all about—heaven on earth with a little less sleep and a lot more laundry.

I give gDiapers an overall rating of 4 hearts AND a baby monkey!

 
 
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In my wild fantasy, we live in a great big tree house, by the ocean. Marley's bed is suspended in the shade of bright green leaves and twisty bird nests. The birds offer her their sweet songs by day, while the stars watch over her at night. In reality, it's cold outside and tonight, Marley is better off indoors.
Good thing her bramble mobile is there, right above her pretty little head, to remind her that we are one with nature—wild and free.

True story: I was walking along, eight months pregnant and minding my own business. In fact, I was just thinking to myself: "I wish I had a bunch of brambly branches to make Marley the most Omazing mobile the world has ever known;" when up drove a wood gnome in a dirty brown El Camino. He was tall, willowy and remarkably magical looking, an image half-way between Rumpelstiltskin and Allanon. He had creatively embellished his beast to look like a beast. Ears, eyes, and bone teeth transformed the Chevy into a jungle cat. The metal tiger's truck bed held a tangled mess of wood.
"Choke vines," he called them. But I had to rename them, "Brambled branches"—one simply cannot decorate a sweet little baby's room with "choke vines!"

Everyone raves about our wild child bramble mobile. I suppose that wizard and I could go into mad business together. I certainly have no time for that; so if you like it, make your own. It's easy.

If you need brambled branches, just take a walk and make a wish.
The flower garland comes from MomentuM in Boulder.
The little bird, I could swear I got at the Phoenix Shop in Big Sur, but they say they don't have them.
NOTE: If you have seen these little felt fellows, please let me know. Our mobile needs a couple more, I think. Then it will truly be the most OMazing mobile the world has ever known.