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Posts Tagged ‘lecture-ish’

sometimes i wonder…

sometimes i am bouncing around the internet reading blogs and online articles and i happen upon yet another example that makes me wonder why we all feel like it is fine to be mean.  i don’t want to live in a world without disagreement and debate.  i don’t think that if we smile and accept everything the world will be a better place.

i do believe that if we try hard enough we can find ways to express disagreement without belittling the person on the other side of the argument.  i believe it is possible to fight fair.  i believe we can teach more and learn more if we agree not to hit below the belt.

i wonder why people think the only way to make their point is by calling people who disagree with them names.

yesterday i read such a post.  the author belittled people who feel differently than she does on the topic and then used fear and blame to try to strong arm her readers into seeing things her way.  maybe she was joking around some.  maybe she was being flip.  maybe she was thinking the strong voice would catch our attention and make us think.

it did make me think. it made me think damnit don’t be mean.

call me what you like. i am going to keep putting my energy into creating a world where we all disagree with kindness in our hearts and our words.

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when the bean was little, and was my only child, i thought so much about how we were practicing attachment style parenting and how different it was from everyone we knew.  i worried about what people would think when we met them and i explained that he slept with us.  or what the reaction would be to the fact that i was still nursing on demand (day and night) past the age of one (and then two).  i worried about what people were thinking as i wrapped him onto my back in the parking lot so i would have my hands free.

i think this kind of worrying and alienation feeling peaked when the bean was around two years old and i was pregnant with chickpea.  i was still wearing the bean, nursing the bean, cosleeping, and all those things that defined us as “ap.”  and i was pregnant.  i had this fear that people were going to see my big old belly full of baby and my toddler at my breast and turn in terror screaming, “freak!  freak!  freak!”

i am not sure when the shift happened, or why (i am still wildly insecure about almost everything at times) but i notice recently that i just don’t think about it so much.  i don’t think about if being ap is good, or different, or freaky, or alienating, or wonderful, or perfect, i just don’t think about it that much.  the truth is that it was what i was doing naturally with the bean, then i learned it had a name and i found online support and i became better versed in the how’s and why’s of it all.  but, left to my own devices and my own rhythms it is just the kind of mama i am.

now with two kids in the house i suppose i have less time for reflection all around.  and with three and a half years under my belt i guess i feel somewhat more confident as a parent all around.  and with the bean getting older i can see some of the ways that being attachment parents has created a really beautiful young child and so i doubt the process less.  or also, maybe it is my second time having a baby and so i think about all of it less.  there must be a million reasons that i don’t feel such a need to hide, to wonder, to doubt myself, to worry about what others will think.

chickpea turned one year old the other day.  i still nurse and rock her to sleep and i am totally cool with that.  when she wakes up for the first time at night i grab her out of her room and bring her into the bed with us.  she sometimes likes to snuggle with me and sometimes like to flail about until she is sideways and can kick me.  some nights she nurses on and off every ten minutes it seems and other nights she’ll fall asleep next to me and i won’t hear from here again for four or six hours.  i am not obsessed with when she will sleep through the night.  i am not obsessed with when she learn to sleep on her own.  i am not wondering if i should be trying to night wean.  i am just remembering how much i worried about all of that with the bean and seeing how everything just kind of happens when they are ready.  if i do nothing but love and support to the best of my ability all day and all night – they grow up.  they do those things that some of my non-ap friends kids maybe did a lot younger.  they just get there.  it happens.  without me needing to spend so much energy stressing over how i am doing it and what other people might think about how i do it.

the truth?  i have no regrets about the ways i have done things.  not for one second do i wish i spent less time cosleeping, or nursing, or awake in the middle of the night, or snuggling my children, or rocking, or wearing them on my body.  my only regret now is that i don’t get to do it forever.  my fleeting regret is that they do grow up, they do fall asleep on their own at some point, or wave good bye happily when i leave the house.

i love them, and i love the way we do things around here.  and i don’t write about it very much because it is a non-issue.  we are still hard core ap, i just think about it less.

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from the sidelines

i am calling in my spirit guides to help me out with this one.  and i am drinking some downright magical chai tea.  and my baby is nestled in our cassis waves didymos as i bounce and type, asleep and snug snuggled.  so i hope the power to speak clearly about some complex ideas is with me.  or write i should say, speak silently.

last week around thursday my twitter feed was suddenly overwhelmed with blogher09 tweets.  i was surprised by how much it took over.  i don’t think i had realized the reach of the conference or the way i would feel, sitting at home, a new and totally unestablished blogger, like i was missing something.  when the location for blogher10 was announced as new york city i got kind of excited imagining the possibility of attending.  and i confess that for me one of the things that made me feel like it might be so possible is the idea that the people are nice and accepting of a parents needs – for example having your baby with you.  i also thought it would be neat to meet some of the bloggers i truly admire and respect and learn more about how and why they do what they do.

the excitement i felt was slowly transformed as i read tweets and blog posts from some of my favorites that i understood to be expressing the feeling that they had somehow “messed up” by bringing their nursing, young children to blogher.  i am fairly sensitive about this topic because i felt very shunned from my spiritual “community” when i tried to include the bean when he was first born (then i gave up).  because of that i decided to try to read more.

it was in the reading more that i started to get my panties kind of wadded up.  it is not a secret that i practice attachment parenting and although i know it is not for everyone it always makes me sad how much parents and parenting can be misunderstood.  the comments i was reading (in the comment section of blog posts) saying that all children should be left with a sitter if you want to attend a party started to get me down.  what if you believe your child belongs in your arms?  what if you feel you can’t use a sitter?  what if you feel that you are capable enough to make a moment to moment decision about if your child is ok at a bar or a party, so you want to try going, and pull the plug if it doesn’t work?  why does that have to be so unacceptable?  why does everyone have to be so certain they are Right “period.”?

at some point i stopped reading and decided sleep was a better idea of me.  i am parenting alone for a few weeks here and i need my rest.  while i slept i dreamed of blogher.  rather strange given the fact that i wasn’t there but i awoke remembering some of the feeling of the dream.  and it has stayed lingering enough that i decided to put some thought into what it is that is bothering me about the current post blogher storm.  is it that people don’t agree?  no.  is it that some people feel that other people are “ruining things”? not exactly.  it is the way that information is being shared.  the negativity that is spewing forth.  the energy that is going into labeling “us” and “them” and making sure it be known that us is good and them is bad.

i come from a counseling background and i am a firm supporter of “fair fighting” and i know that conflict is inevitable but i like to see it done in a way that does not involve name calling and hitting below the belt.  just recently, i felt i came under attack for expressing my own idealized desires of what conversations might be like. because of that i am a little hesitant to continue with this train of thought.  but tools are tools and they are worth sharing.

i guess i should also mention that i believe that what we give energy too only gets bigger.  so all the focus on the things that people should not have done just makes the actions bigger, and stronger, the event that much more powerful.  i would love to see more focus on what should be instead of what should not be.  a great example of spreading the positive is the blog with integrity movement that is going on right now.  i hope we see more and more of this kind of positive energy rising out of the dust of the name calling, finger pointing, separation, belittling and questioning that is currently live.

aside from the great big thought of being positive (even when working with an incident that was displeasing to you) by which i don’t mean you have pretend that it didn’t happen just that it’d be nice to be able to say, “i felt really sad when i saw or heard x and in the future i hope to see and hear y.  here is what i want to do to contribute to y being the norm.  anyone else have ways they think we could get from here to y?”  i would also like to share some of the rules of fair fighting.  i think these are great tools to have for a one on one fight and also good things to keep in mind when working through your own reactions to things in the public writing sphere.

1. ask the person you need to fight with when a good time to talk is, don’t just start in on them.

2. state the issue using “i feel” sentences not “you are.”  saying, “i feel sad when you forget to say good bye to me.” is much easier for someone to hear and work with than “you are so thoughtless, you always forget to say goodbye to me.”

3. have the person tell you what they heard you say so you can be sure you are talking about the same thing and have been understood.

4. the other person uses “i feel” statements to respond to the issue.

5. no matter how heated the argument gets do not resort to the “below the belt” style of fighting (those you are statements).  “you are bad.”  “you are mean.”  “you are rude.”  “you did the wrong thing.”  “how dare you?” hearing that does not help anyone be in the right place to work on themselves and facilitate communication and change.

the whole idea of fair fighting is opening the lines of communication.  we may not agree on things but we can find ways to disagree without resorting to being mean.  i firmly believe it is possible and i hold out hope that the communities i am a part of (and that i observe from the sidelines) can make such a transformative change.

yesterday when i was hanging about on twitter i was getting a little down about several different threads of unkind disagreements going on and i felt it would make sense to me to link back to an older post of mine about kindness it takes a headmaster. another article i read recently also feels pertinent to the current state of the interwebs and that is about the importance of understanding the “needs” behind what people do and say sensing the needs of others no matter how they express themselves. and in case my instructions on fighting fair were too short winded there is a lot of nice information on it here fighting fair to resolve conflict.

i feel, as a very small voice sitting on the sidelines watching a lot of well read voices discuss, that it might not even make sense for me to chime in and that perhaps i should stick to what i do here (whatever that is?) and leave the blogher discussions to the real bloggers.  but i guess, my blog is a place where i like to share my views.  and my views today are that we can always try to find ways to express disappointment and be kind.  my sincerest appreciation goes out to those bloggers who have hundreds and thousands of readers and are taking the time to do that.

now back to my tea.  peace people.

i also want to take a moment to send all the peace and courage i can out to mckmama and her family and wisdom and strength to baby stellan’s doctors. if anyone knows a way that boston local’s could help the family out please contact me.

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eventually our child turns to us in fear and explains that there is a “scary man” or a “clown” or a monster that “has a hanger not a head” that they can see.  the bean does this fairly frequently now, tells me he can see “something” that is standing or that has arms or that has legs.  just last night as we were laying down to snuggle him to sleep he told me, “i can see someone out there.”

me: sofia? (our cat.)

bean: no not sofia.

me: what do you see?

bean: it has a hanger instead of a head.

me: a hanger?  like you hang your clothes on?

bean: yes.

me: oh, it must be a friend.  we should ask that friend to go home because it is time to go to sleep.

bean: i think it might be a monster.

me: ah, a monster, a nice friendly monster.  well, we need to tell that monster to go home to his bed because we are going to sleep.

bean: oh yes.  i think it is a really small monster.

me: i like really small monster friends.

bean: where does the monster live?

me: i think he lives in a far away land.

bean: with his mama?

me: yes, with his mama.

bean: i think he is going to bed with his mama.

me: yes.

bean: can we go visit him at his house some time?

me: sure.  i think we can.

several months ago victory’s son was having a reoccuring fear of what he called “scary man.”  victory asked me if i thought i could help because it was happening so frequently and they were not sure what to do.  victory and her husband felt open to the spirit world and they wanted to be sure “scary man” wasn’t some kind of negative energy that was bothering their son.

i checked in with my guides and did a little work around what was happening and i got the information that “scary guy” was a protecting spirit guide that was there to work with their son.  the spirit was friendly, safe, and kind but big and “scary” looking.  i passed this information onto victory and the whole family started working on reframing with their son.  they encouraged him not to be afraid of the man he could see, they introduced the idea that he might be a friend of their son’s who was there for friendly reasons, they encouraged him to tell the man to go away if he didn’t want him around.

within a few days their son had changed his whole perception of the man.  he talked about him as a friend and compared him to a policeman or fireman who was there to protect him if he needed it.  he also told his parents he had fun playing with him.  he even started calling him “friendly man.”  as certain energies in the home shifted “friendly man” was around less often but he still does make appearances and when he does he is not someone that creates a fear response.

part of my frame of beliefs is that there is a lot of information that we can access but that we deny.  that is putting it rather simply but i am trying to keep this post short enough to be functional.  the best example i can use now is the ability to communicate with animals.  i believe that all children have the ability to hear, or sense, or know what an animal is thinking or needs.  as they grow up, they are socialized to believe that this is not possible and as soon as we believe something is impossible it becomes impossible.  i also believe that children have free and easy access to the spirit world (and god) and that it is through indoctrination that they cease to believe that they can have direct communication with the universe.

one way that i try to support my children, especially the bean who is verbal, is to help him to believe that these things are possible.  i can give a million examples of ways that i do this but the most pertinent to this post is that i try to encourage him to think of the “monsters” as friends and to speak directly with them or tell me why they are visiting.  i try to give them a voice.  i welcome friendly monsters into our home, or i gently ask them to leave us alone for now.  i try not to be doubtful, or judging, or patronizing, about what he tells me he sees.  i try instead to explore it (within reason) and come out on the other side feeling joined by “the invisible world” instead of encouraging fear of it.

and there i find parenting and woowoo intersect.  hopefully i am raising a few mini woowoo’s and hopefully some of the above made sense to you all and may in some way prove useful (or at least thought provoking).

i’d love to listen to the critical voices in my own head and delete this but the spirits tell me “publish” is a much better idea.  and i trust them.

peace out people.

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here is a chat with @janefriar that is going to inspire the post i put up tomorrow.

it all started with her tweet: An imaginary clown is hassling my dear 3 year old. What to do?

she was also on chat so i followed up with her:

woowoomama: did she get over the clown?
janefriar it’s a recurring thing. it seems to come and go. lately she’s seeing him all the time and scared of her room when it is dark

woowoomama: have you talked to her about why the clown is there? it always helps bean when we talk about why the “monsters” are there.
janefriar: she says he’s going to eat her
woowoomama: well you can try to reframe it is what i mean. you can say something like “the clown may seem scary to you because he is not very good at saying hello. but the reason he came is to _____ . we can tell him thank you for coming but we need him to go home now and go to sleep.”
woowoomama: or something like that

woowoomama: ok, well here is my schtick (i have no idea how to spell that.) lets just get into a little woowoo and say that what we call ‘reality’ is not the only reality.
woowoomama: and maybe there is some stuff that we stop “seeing” or “hearing” or “feeling” becuase people/society tell us it is not real
woowoomama: and lets say kids have not learned that it is not real yet
woowoomama: and they still have easy access to things
woowoomama: then lets just say that everyone has power animals and spirit guides and when we need them most is when they come to us.
woowoomama: and then lets work on the assumption that all spirits are helping friendly spirits
woowoomama: but as a child we might be confused. especially if we see something our parent/teacher is not “seeing.”
woowoomama: so maybe we get a little overwhelmed and this translates into fear and we turn to the parent who is totally lost because they have no idea what we are talking about.
woowoomama: so lets assume that really, her “clown” is potentially someone who is there to help her.
woowoomama: she can still send it away if she wants, of course, and she might also easily transition out of fear if you can help her to assume that this is something friendly.
woowoomama: when you said she told you it wants to eat her i thought of how in the shamanic tradition sometimes our helpers let us get inside of them to be protecting us.
woowoomama: so to make that leap she could be somewhat anxious anticipating your husband’s return and so the clown is more real because he is more present because he is there to help. and if he is going to eat her it is solely so that she is in a nice warm resting place that is safe.
woowoomama: ok – that was the woo woo - i’ll shut up now.
woowoomama: or maybe i should be blogging.


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it takes a headmaster

i was lucky enough to go to a lovely highschool with an interesting and inspiring headmaster in my time there.  when the gulf war began the entire school assembled “for as long as we needed” to share facts, information, and feeling about what was going on.  the assmebly ended up going on for two days.  imagine, an educator who understood the importance of not having classes and instead being a community.

one day two of the young men attending my school got into a fist fight in a common area.  several of us were witness to the outbreak and, putting it mildly, fist fights were not something i saw everyday at my school.  again, the headmaster chose to call the community together to talk about what had happened.  in other institutions i have been a part of similar issues have been swept under the carpet or kept quiet, but my headmaster was all for working through things that affected the community as a community.

the things is, he was also mad.  i didn’t fully understand it at the time in the ways i do now.  here was a man who dedicated himself to helping to develop the knowledge, learning, life skills of a few hundred children at a time.  he cared very deeply and he wanted to do a good job.  and he believed that a core tenant of life – the core tenant of life – was kindness.

on the day of the fist fight he was angry because we had not listened to him as he taught this again and again and again.  so he had a moment where he needed us to understand the importance of the message.  he stood in front of all of us and he shared the details of what had happened.  he told us exactly what the disciplinary actions taken were.  he gave each involved student a moment to apologize to the school if they wanted.  and then he spoke, quite eloquently (he was an english professor as well and it always shone through in his speaking) about the importance of kindness in life.  the ability to be kind to all living things, to other human beings, to fellow students.  he went on for a bit and we listened quietly.  then towards the end of this beautifully crafted speech he got quiet.  he was quiet for a few moments.  then he said something akin to this:

“if you learn anything in your years here, while i am the headmaster, i want it to be the importance of what i am telling you right now.  the importance of kindness.  sometimes i find it to be a very difficult lesson to teach and then i get fired up.  (long pause.)  just, just, damnit don’t be mean!


he spoke his final words with such hearfelt passion i doubt that anyone in the audience will ever forget them.  aside from the shock of hearing our headmaster say the word “damnit” in assembly was the conviction with which he spoke.  part pleading part commanding part just being certain.  certain that being kind is always, always, without fail, the way to proceed in any given situation.

a lot of us scroll the internets these days.  and we read a lot of differing opinions and stories and strategies on life and parenting and gardening and everything you can ever imagine.  it can be easy to think you know better than others how or why things should be done.  and perhaps you do.  it might mean a lot to share how you feel.  that can be a good thing to do.  but for the love of all things woowoo, and for the sake of all our fellow bloggers and gardeners, writers, parents, cooks, teachers just remember “damnit don’t be mean!

if you pause for a moment to think you can usually find a nice way to say things.  a kind way.  a way to disagree with kindness in your heart.

that’s all for now folks.  peace and blessings to all of you who read.

(for the record this post was “inspired” by the comments on phd in parenting’s most recent post.)

walk in beauty.

woo woo mama to the max.

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