Like everyone else, the moment I saw that second pink line, I knew I stood on the brink of complete transformation.
Very soon thereafter, I began to think deeply on how I planned to introduce and cultivate a spiritual life for my child. .
Something about the label “pagan” made me uneasy when applied to my child that never made me uneasy as applied to myself. It’s not really a word I identify with, but more of a shorthand that roughly describes the same spiritual “neighborhood” I live in—the way people who live in Tyson’s Corner just say they live in DC because no one knows or cares where McLean, Virginia is and it’s just easier to name a close-enough place.
But I felt more sensitive about labeling my child this way.
So I decided to focus on what I call “natural” parenting. If you are interested in taking your baby down a more progressive, integrated spiritual path, but you think it’s too early, think again!
There are lots of ways to begin. Here are some ideas that worked for me. Obviously, your mileage may vary, but I hope to at least inspire you.
Spend time outside. Developing a connected relationship with nature never comes too soon. Don’t just strap your baby in a stroller and keep him there. Find a sunny spot in the grass and let him roll around (avoid commercial lawns, which tend to be loaded with pesticides).
Work on your “psychic” connection. Or whatever you want to call it. The first year makes a great time to promote your unspoken bond because . . . well, babies don’t talk. Once they learn, their thoughts are, in many ways, limited by the constraints of language. Lay your baby on your chest and synchronize your breath to hers. Try baby sign language. When she’s crying and you don’t know why, stop, think, and pay attention to her cues. Sometimes, just “listening” to my baby’s non-verbal signals surprised me with insight!
Try mommy & me yoga. So many benefits come with some quiet, physical closeness. Mommy & me yoga classes are playful, meditative and fun. And if your little one freaks out, everyone in the room will understand, which takes the pressure off “controlling” his outbursts.
Include your baby in your rituals. Try something simple at first. A smoke-free smudge, or just bring her out under the full moon and let her enjoy the experience.
Celebrate the Sabbats together. Try to celebrate the Sabbats on her level (see Baby’s First Mabon).
Make a “sweet dreams” sachet. All first year parents await the night when baby lets them sleep through it! Try filling a sachet with sleep/dream herbs and/or calming gemstones. Hang it over the crib securely out of reach. It can’t hurt!
Bless your baby’s blanket or lovey. Anoint them with a diluted blend of olive oil and light essential oils for protection.
Try making your own baby care products. Be sure you really know your herbs and oils, that you are extra cautious about common allergens and whatnot. But making your own natural baby products connects you to what you put on your baby’s body.
Focus on natural or organic solids. Have you ever gone in the baby food section at the grocery store and looked at the ingredients in Gerber Graduates? I was stunned to learn that it’s even legal to market foods so loaded with preservatives and artificial ingredients to young children. Regard your baby’s body (and your own!) as a temple. Choose simple, natural foods to introduce. Even if you don’t have time to cook every day, it’s almost as easy to cut up an apple as it is to pop something in the microwave. The beauty is, they don’t know what junk food is, so they don’t miss it!
Finally, celebrate that first year with an outdoor cake smash! We didn’t do a party, which seemed to me like it was really for the parents. Which is fine! But the idea of planning, making favors, invitations, ect didn’t do anything for me or my husband.
I wanted to do something to mark the occasion, so naturally, I consulted Pinterest and decided nothing seemed to have more potential for a crafty little witch than a cake smash.
You can use herbs in the cake that have meaning to you, or decorate it with whatever happens to be in season to honor The Wheel of the Year.
I chose blackberries for their protective properties.
I love having a spring baby, and I recall noting what wildflowers were in season when he was born last year. I feel nostalgic now seeing them come back, and I think it might be nice to teach him that when he sees those things, it’s a “sign” that his birthday is coming.
Common grape hyacinth is one of my favorite wildflowers.
Wild violets can even be candied and put into cakes and cookies.
I also love tulips (we even named our dog after them!) and I plant them everywhere in the fall just so we can watch them come up now.