Archive for November, 2009

at 5:38

the kids are both standing on their seats and neither of them touched the pasta dish i made them for dinner. i am scarfing down leftovers straight from the tupperware and surveying the mess on the kitchen floor from them “helping me do dishes.” never mind the toys strewn around the toy and living rooms. it has been dark for over and hour and bedtime is still a ways off.

i take a deep breath and i remember to try to find my gratitude for the hardest parts of my day. it is not easy but it feels within reach. i think it has something to do with letting go. these practices are certainly a work in progress for me. how are the rest of you doing?

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whip stitch

seriously, when i made fun of victory for ordering the video about how to make the doll’s we bought kits for i was so clueless. so so clueless. now all i want is the video for how to make the dolls! maybe i should go order one. no joke. i sit there with the instruction booklet and every single speck of stuff i need to make these dolls and i am lost. eventually my eyes roll back into my head and i just put it all away again and take out my knitting.

tonight i have to look up how to do a whip stitch so that i can sew up the muff of the first head of my first doll. i had no idea that i had no idea how to do so many things. i didn’t realize i was going to have to google half the instructions due to my craft cluelessness.

i waver between thinking that just trying is worth it and the kids won’t notice if i did a whip stitch or not and thinking if i don’t follow the instructions just right the doll will fall apart so why bother making it. you know what is going to happen right? i am going to bust my bottom making these things (even if not in time for santa to deliver) and then the kids will never ever be interested in playing with them. not even once. you know that is how it goes.

ok, i better go look up the whip stitch so i can try to move beyond stuffing the head tonight. the first head. of the first doll. of which i thought i’d be making two. ha!

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the other day i took a moment to read annie over at PhD in Parenting’s post in which she asked crib using parents to tell her what the transition to a bed was like for them and their child. she put the post up out of curiosity, not understanding how the child who needs to be “contained” in their crib to go to sleep ever makes the transition to a bed. seems harmless enough to ask but of course, in the world of parenting, no question about differences is every received as harmless.

she was, in fact, attacked for using the term “parenting to sleep” to describe the method that parents who chose not to sleep train, ferberize, cry it out, etc use. the method of staying with your child and meeting their needs and trusting that in time they will learn to fall asleep on their own safely, comfortably, and without crying alone in their bed. among the parents i know who practice attachment parenting this is a pretty safe term to use and i have used it many times in my talking with local parents to try to explain how i handle bedtime and naptime without being negative. what i mean is that saying “we parent our children to sleep” sounds much nicer to me than “we chose not to sleep train/ferberize” or whatever term i would use. in fact, it seems to me like the less judgmental way to say it between those two. anyway, annie was called out in the comments section of her blog for using the term which offended some parents who do sleep train because it implies that they are not being a parent at bedtime.


i almost want to erase that whole paragraph because it isn’t even my point but it did get me thinking. it primed me to read further through the comments which is where the point of this post cropped up. a few commenters explained that had chosen to stay with their first child while they fell asleep – but that it was a terrible decision that they constantly regretted and so they had chosen to sleep train subsequent children.

having had those nights where i just want the kids to fall asleep so i can get my time to myself i can totally relate to that feeling of, “argh! this sucks!” still, that has not become the defining feeling in the experience for me and i was wondering why. i think i have come up with two reasons.

first of all, i was truly lucky to stumble upon a very support space in the internet when the bean was just a few weeks old. the kellymom forums provided me with amazing breastfeeding support and also tightly moderated boards that were supportive of attachment parenting.

for me, this meant i had experienced parents and other new mama’s like me, reminding me that my child needing me to fall asleep is “normal.” my child not sleeping through the night at six months was “normal.” that parenting is not easy, that all the ap parents out there have moments also where they just want to scream at their child to “FALL ASLEEP!” but, and this is a big but, that doesn’t mean that you are doing the wrong thing. being frustrated, thinking it is hard, thinking it is more than you can handle does not mean it is the wrong decision for you. it means you need support, you need outlets, you need breaks built into your parenting so that you have the fuel to handle the harder moments. for me, in the early formative months of my parenting the support came from the kellymom forums and specifically some women on there who cheered me on daily. some of whom i am still in touch with (thank you michele, cookie, annie, naomi, monique, carol, annie, paula and so many others).

so yes, to survive the tougher moments of parenting we need support. but what else helped me to have a high needs child, and a very high needs sleeper, and still not come away feeling like the women who commented on annie’s post? i think the other thing was the tendency to look inward when i am struggling. if i am having a hard go of parenting it helps me to think that i need to do some work on my self. i see my parenting as my job, my calling, and my journey right now. it sounds a little insane but it is true. i trust that parenting is pushing me to grow in the ways i need to so when the challenge feels huge i try to do the work i need to do to meet it. i don’t mean to say these other women didn’t do what they should have. i am not trying to criticize. i am trying to lay out what worked for me – and maybe it could help some other mama’s out there when they are struggling.

so, what influences my work? how to i look inward? i try to read parenting books that help me learn how i want to parent and learn what baggage i might be bringing to the table (should i offer a list of my favorite books?) i talk to other ap friends about what i might need to feel better about my parenting. i look at my parenting in my time in therapy. i try to read blogs that support and encourage this kind of parenting, and this kind of self work, to help inspire me.

specifically carrie over at that parenting passageway wrote an excellent series 20 days toward being a more mindful mother. i have to tell you, in the spirit of openness, that i did not force myself to “do” every single day that carrie created but i put energy into the pieces that spoke most deeply to me at the time. although one commenter said on day 20 that she intended to print each day out and do the full thing at her own speed and i thought that was a fantastic idea.

right now kris at the natural parenting center blog is running a conscious parenting course. it started with this post and continued on today. good stuff!

so what is my point today? i don’t think parenting is easy stuff and i certainly struggle just as much as the next person. i have been trying to reflect on what i have counted on in the moments and choices that seemed the most difficult for me – based on my children’s personalities, society, more mainstream parenting, and my own weaknesses. the two things that have come to mind is finding support from like minded parents i could trust and my tendency to look at what i can change about myself when i am struggling instead of believing their is something wrong with my children or the choice i made.

gosh, i hope that someday all this rambling is helpful to someone besides me. ha!

happy saturday people.
and any fellow woowoo warriors out there.

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pears for the stuffing:

fancy tights:

roasted root vegetables with fresh cilantro & lime:

tom the turkey:

stuffin’ muffins:

good wine (leads to empty glasses):


thai red curry sweet potatoes:

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gratitude transcends

yesterday i was in the car driving home from getting my hair cut.  it was a treat, the haircut.  i treated myself to a haircut done by a man who i think does a really good job so that i could feel a little better about myself.  i have found having a body covered in rash to be kind of hard on my self image.  so, anyway, there i was driving home and i turned on the radio and this nice piece on gratitude was on npr. i was listening and thinking about how grateful i was for my family and my haircut and all that jazz when a woman of native american descent called in and shared her traditional practice of giving gratitude throughout the day for the things that she finds the hardest.

long pause while i think over that one. the guest, margaret visser noted a few moments later that that kind of tradition spoke to the power of gratitude to transcend – or to allow us to transcend. i knew in the moment that this was good stuff. the kind of thinking about practice that gets my blood running a little hotter in a way that makes me want to pretend i didn’t hear it because i know it will be too hard for me and at the same time turn up the volume because this is just what i need right now.

gratitude transcends. and right there i started wondering what it might be like to be thanking the universe for my pityriasis rosea. i can easily imagine what it would be like to say it but what i am talking about is believing it. gratitude transcends, perhaps, when it is truthful and not just a rote activity. to have it be an opening i have to come to mean it – i have to be truly grateful. i am still finding my way there.

today in the united states we celebrate a day in which we give thanks for the bounty of the harvest. i had imagined taking some time to say my thanks for all that i have. now i am wondering if the deeper practice, for me, will be finding the light in my heart that can give thanks for my hardest moments in the past year. the voice the knows that i am here to stretch and grow and sometimes even be my own little woowoo warrior and without the challenges i wouldn’t do that. without the universe sending me the lessons i need i would just sit pretty.

i don’t have any answers today. but i can say here with the deepest conviction that i am thankful for the questions. i am truly, deeply, honestly grateful for all my questions and questioning. i am grateful for my journey.

happy thanksgiving.

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the last few nights the bean has been coming into the bed with me sometime between 11 and 1.  he arrives in the room silently and i only know to wake up and find him because i have heard his door opening on the monitor i still use with him.  i wake up slowly and turn to see him standing silently by my bed.  he only speaks once he sees me open my eyes and turn to face him.

“mama, i need to tinkle.”

i sigh, rise from my cozy bed, and take his hand.  in the bathroom i unzip his pajama’s (he insists on footies because the pea has them) and put him up on the toilet reminding him not to start peeing until he is sure his penis is pointing the right way.  it is rote for me, we do this almost every night.  when he is done i help him get his undies and jammies back on in the darkness.  then i take his hand again and he says to me, “i want to be in your bed.”

sometimes, if the pea isn’t sleeping well, if he is sick and i have the humidifier on in his room, or if i have fallen prey to the “should’s” in my own mind i tell him we need to go back to his bed.  i tell him how cozy it is and i get in with him and lay there while i wait for him to fall asleep.  or i bring the pea’s monitor with me and i fall asleep too.  once i am sure he is sound asleep i get up and tip toe out and back to my own bed.

other times i just nod and rearrange the pillows so he can have the one i like to use, pull back the covers and pat the side i want him to lay on.  then i snuggle in with him and say, “good night beanie.  i love you.  time to sleep.”

of course, there are nights when he fidgets and fusses and generally makes me wish for morning to come so i can stop feeling so cheated.  but recently he just closes his eyes and holds onto my finger with his small warm hand and goes to sleep curled up into me.

then as the night goes on we cosleep in all its beauty.  this is, to me, the bliss of cosleeping.  the bean and i have always slept well together.  like our bodies instinctively know how to snuggle in the most comforting and comfortable ways.  the pea, she likes to sleep draped on top of me.  until she gets tired of that and then with a huff wants to move to her own space.  then back on top of me and so on in a confusing daze of hours spent wondering if she is happy.

but the bean, he slides up into me and turns away in the smoothest movements.  drapes his legs over mine which are curled up around him.  slips his small warm hand under my neck into it’s perfectly fitting spot.  when he sleeps well and sleeps with me it is magical.  it is comfortable and sweet and bonding while we dream.  we move into snuggles and out into our own space without really waking.  in the morning he presses his body tightly into mine and puts his head on my shoulder as he opens his beautiful huge blue eyes and asks me sweetly, “is it morning time?”

and i kiss his forehead which is right there in position to be kissed and enter the day with the same excitement as he has.  “yes my love, it is morning time.”

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over a week ago when i first started having a rash on my body my friend jane (who lives really far away and couldn’t even see me) asked me if it might be pityriasis rosea? i looked at it online and thought…well, maybe but mine doesn’t look that bad.

well now over a week later guess what? i have been diagnosed (after a long morning seeing several different doctors) with pityriasis rosea! and guess what else, mine looks even worse then what you see on the internet! woot! in other good news, it is not usually itchy but mine is itchy! i feel so blessed.  and to top it all off i have been assured that pityriasis rosea doesn’t last longer then FOURTEEN WEEKS!  saweeeeet.  i have the itchy version of a fourteen week rash.

i tend to be a holistic, homeopathic, herbal remedy kind of gal. but at this point i am willing to give western medicine a chance so i let the dermatologist call in a prescription for a topical steroid that is safe while nursing.

seriously, my case is bad. my family practice doctor asked me if i minded if he took pictures. uh huh. yeah. he did. i am not shy though so i said, sure. anything to help medicine right?

i keep considering taking pictures myself. truly, it is a remarkable rash. i stare at in in awe until i remember it has taken the place of my skin and then i suddenly fall back into my dark rashy place. what do you think? would you chronicle such a awesome outbreak on your body with photographic evidence?

at the dermatologists office she suggested i also do light therapy treatment and oatmeal (or other soothing) baths. i joked, “oh yes, i will take long soaking baths in all my free time at home with my one and three year olds.”

dr: are you married?
me: yes.
dr: well then, you have a husband at home with you sometimes.
me: yes.
dr: give him those kids and take the baths. really.
me: yes ok, i will do that.
dr: you need to.
me: ok ok, i will make it happen.

(now the best part.)

dr: and for some of those soaks you might have to go somewhere else. like, say the bar.


now that is a prescription.


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this morning i went to the gym again and i let the all knowing eve work my body to the point of exhaustion and glee. i came home and downed a lot of water. i assembled a shoe rack for our new hallway “mudroom area” with the kids while flash went for his run, and then i took a quick shower before we left for brunch.

when i got out of the shower i stood in front of our full length mirror and took a good look at my body – covered in the most insane rash i have ever had. this is where the funk began.

well, maybe i need to rewind. after i finished my class at the gym i went into the ladies room to wash my hands. as i stood at the sink, a woman walked past me into the locker area and i could see her in the mirror as she stared long and hard at me. the look on her face read clearly “ick” and though i didn’t blame her for the response it did sting. so maybe that is where the funk started to take root.

i did hold it off though. i think, all in all, i have done a fairly decent job of staying positive and upbeat over the last week and a half as my arms, chest, stomach, back and now legs have slowly been taken over by red welts, bumps, and dry spots. so yes, i stared in the mirror after my shower. and i took in the terrain that my skin has become and i was totally amazed and horrified. i saw finally how it really had begun to spread down my legs and thus had taken over almost my entire body (my face, hands and feet are still clear). i realized that no, it is not any better and i need to call the doctor again tomorrow and see if maybe there isn’t something more we can do. and that dark cloudy mood just stormed right in on me.

i still enjoyed brunch and the crazy late nap kid wrangling. i put the pea down to sleep and the bean is having some down time and i decided, you know what? i am having some down time too. i will allow myself a little time in this funk before i reframe my attitude. maybe it is ok to just feel crappy about this stinkin’ rash for an hour or two. maybe it is just what i need to do.

funk it out.

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i really did not want to go to the gym today. despite my efforts at healing myself and my taking my vitamins and some special immune support extra’s i am still contending with my rash. it has been awhile since i first got it and i am feeling a little frustrated with the situation. on top of just wishing i was less itchy i have this thing about how terrible it looks. so, i really did not want to don exercise clothing and go show my big ol’ ugly red rash to the world. but flash insisted that working out would be good for me and if i wore a regular t-shirt it wasn’t too noticeable.

so i sucked up my insecurity, got dressed, and went to my favorite saturday class. i approached the instructor at the start of class and explained that i was not contagious, and that if i left it was just because i was hot and itchy and i took my place.

like magic i left the class feeling like an entirely different person. i came home and declared flash a genius. then i spent a few minutes outside with the pea before her nap. she is awfully cute these days, and silly, and stubborn, and all things sixteen months. sometimes i am at my wits end with her screaming and carrying on and other times i want to literally eat her alive i love her so much. isn’t parenting funny like that? i grabbed my camera and captured some of her fun.

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this or that

so, i have this viral rash thing. it is itchy and it is on my arms and torso mostly. i am not loving it. yesterday it was the end of the day and the kids were running on fumes and showing it. i was trying to eat a bite of the dinner i made and get them bathed and in jammies and asleep without any major breakdowns. i could tell the bean was close to the edge and i was so itchy. itchy itchy itchy. what i wanted to do was rip my shirt off and scratch my skin clear off my skeleton but instead i was trying to be calm and present with the children for bedtime.

i started to get pretty irritated and the pity party began. i don’t like being sick and i certainly am not enjoying a week and counting of this rash. i got to thinking, why can’t it just go away? humph, harumph, erg.

i was in the beans room and he was flopping in his bed and i was reminding him to hold still and go to sleep while i rocked and nursed the pea to sleep. sigh. humph.

suddenly my thoughts turned to a woman i don’t even know but who i kept reading about yesterday. a woman not much older than me with a husband and children who is laying in an icu right now fighting for her life after having a serious stroke. fighting for her life. and i am what, fighting off a little rash. in my home. with my children right there with me.

shift shift. i felt a whole new calm settle over me as i parented my kids to sleep. oh gosh, i felt down right grateful for my full full life – viral rash and all.

then, i got a little upset with myself that it takes another person’s major struggle to help me see how good i have it. cause, you know, i love to raise the bar on myself constantly.

but i am trying to let that go. just finding some peace in the midst of parenting two very young kids and an itchy to the nines viral rash is not too shabby.

so finally i got to the place where i could stop thinking about me and say another prayer for this woman i don’t know. may the loving universe heal her if she is to be healed and may her family be blessed with love and peace.

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