Archive for July, 2009

i’ve got sunshine

it has been pouring rain here on and off today, another gray and overcast day in new england. i confessed yesterday that i was tired and this morning when the bean woke me up extra early, and also woke up chickpea in the process, and then stood in the hallway yelling at me to take him downstairs, i was fairly feisty in letting him know i was not pleased. then he cried a little bit and the voices in my head started to be angry with me for not being a perfect mother and then i decided to just forgive myself, and forgive him, and get us through it. fantastically, it worked, and we came out the other side of the whole upset within a few minutes and we both felt better.

a short while later he told me he had to tinkle. so perhaps, perhaps if i had just listened first instead of yelling, but anyway.

it has been raining here on and off all day but i feel less foggy than i have in a while. maybe since the whole blog bashing incident. it could be that marks the beginning of the fog settling in on me a bit. not a depression fog but a kind of bumbling around and not doing very well at my job (parenting) fog. feeling like i am getting through each day without much enjoyment. and that is so not the kind of parenting i want to be doing.

a taste of getting back to the kind of parenting i want to be doing is what has lifted me up today. last night i started reading a nice book on parenting preschoolers that @janefriar told me to check out. (heaven on earth) i have just scratched the surface of what i think this book might have to offer me but it is just the inspiration i need. it is a perfect fit for where i am at right now. i was underlining things and scratching notes in the margins and everything. i was looking forward to getting at it the next day (just not SO early)!

the best part about today is that i have used a few tiny little things i picked up from my reading last night and they have worked.

or the best part is that we are having a really nice day together.

or the best part is that i have made a few decisions today based on thinking about what the kids need not what i might have thought i wanted to do, and we have all been happier.

or the best part is feeling like, yes, i can do this.

or the best part is enjoying their company instead of wondering how soon they will go to sleep.

or the best part of the day is that chickpea just woke up and bean said “now can we do my fire engine?” and i get to say yes, and mean it.


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doing it alone-ish

flash is away on a long trip and thus, i am doing it alone-ish these days.  my parents live nearby and i can count on my mom for some help.  but the ins and outs of each day are mine and mine alone.  the six am wake up call is not followed by flash scooping up both kids and taking them down stairs to play while i sleep for an hour.  no one else is cleaning up the dinner dishes or taking out the trash.

whenever we do a longer stretch like this (14 days) of flash being gone i always get to wondering how single parents, or parents with spouse’s overseas in the armed service, or any other situation that means parenting alone for really long periods of time manage.  here it is, day nine and i am sagging.  i am not collapsing, but i am sagging.  a sure sign, my fridge is full to the brim of delicious, local, farm fresh veggies and i am not looking forward to cooking at all.

i would like a nap.  or three hours alone.  or, a three hour nap.  but i don’t see that happening in the near future.  instead i see a lot of laundry (i am trying to be grateful to have so much wonderful clothing/diapers/sheets to wash), cleaning up the toys a million times (and thanks for those too), cooking a dinner that the bean will shun and chickpea will throw half of on the floor (thanks you universe for the lovely fresh food), another hectic bedtime (thanks for the beds, i like beds), and another day that starts around 5:45 when chickpea begins the morning nurse and squirmathon and the bean joins us at 6:15 for a quick hug and then “go down stairs!”

i don’t mean to complain.  on the upside, i thought i would be totally crashing by now so a mere sag is pretty great.  beanie has been mostly sleeping through the night, and i did pass in my final exam for the class i took so that is over.  i guess i just need to let myself sag for a minute and then ask for a little more help.  maybe not the kind of help i can see, maybe not the kind that does the dishes, but instead maybe the kind that just gives me a little more energy.  since everything is energy i am sure there is some spare i can ask for.

the trick, i guess, is being a little less stubborn in my attempt to do every little thing myself.

um, ha ha ha ha universe.  (i just got an email from a local-ish friend offering help.)

put away stubborn wall and reply now.

see ya people’s.

woowoo to the mama.

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she is one

dearest chickpea my baby girl,

one year ago to igave birth to you on the bathroom floor and we began the process of getting to know each other. every day you have been here i have wondered at the blessing of having you in my life. you thrill me, amaze me, and fit me. i try to remember to thank you for coming. but, just in case i have not made it abundantly clear i will spell it out here.

thank you for coming to me, my baby girl. thank you for being here with me in this lifetime. thank you for being you. i love you. happy birth day.

and, i think i can safely speak for flash and the bean too. love love love. you are deeply loved.


(he is kissing her foot)

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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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