Saturday, May 21, 2011

who loves you, baby?

Who do you love? Conjure up your mental list.

Now, let me rephrase the question...who do you love-- absolutely, unequivocally, unconditionally, exactly as they are? If you are anything like me, your list just got a whole lot shorter.

Next, think of how good it feels to bask in the presence of someone who truly loves and accepts you. Warts and all. Think of how freeing and liberating it is share with that person; to simply be with that person. What a gift. And one we should aspire to give as well as receive.
My grandparents loved me SO well. They also always had Cheez-Its at their house; hence I have an association between love and Cheez-Its. I am going to eat some Cheez-Its now. (not a joke). 

But how do we start ? (orange font to denote Cheez-It hands). How do we turn off the ego, the defense of self, the sense of disgust that someone out there might like foie gras?

Rick Elias, whose plane nearly crashed in 2010, thinks he may have found the answer, " my humanity, I also allowed my ego to get in, I wasted time that mattered on people who mattered, on things that did not matter...I no longer try and be right, I try and be happy."  2011 TED Talk.

Spend 3 minutes listening to his entire talk and how theses sentiments relate to parenting; you won't be sorry.

Please share someone who loved you very do you channel their spirit and infuse your interactions with this kind of love? What are your challenges in doing so, and how do you overcome them? Thank you. Sometimes I find you distasteful and your person offensive. JK-I love you, for real...and I am working on loving you better.

PS-for more explorations on loving peeps better, please visit my friend's new and excellent blog, "Love and Peace or Else." And I know what you are thinking..."I couldn't possibly love peeps any better." But check out this idea of plopping one in your hot chocolate or latte from Ohdeedoh! See! We can all love peeps better.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A thank you note my mom didn't make me write

Dear Readers,

This is a thank you note. To you, for the community you built here on my blog. Below is a random thank you note that really has nothing to do with this post but is from what is, hands down, the coolest blog around, thxthxthx. Check it out. (but don't be an ingrate, read your thank you card first, okay?)

 Now onto the business of thanking you.

"In a community of relationships, we are less judgmental and more forgiving of each other so as not burn bridges. In a community of relationships, I come to know that you want the best for me, so when you help me question my own thinking, I can more easily hear it and not get defensive." Kristin Maschka.
The author contends that this can not happen online. And while I wholeheartedly agree that we need real, face-to-face time to nurture our non-virtual relationships...something very real and very magical  is happening with the "Hey Mothers" community.

There is some difference because I personally know so many of my readers. But I don't know all of you, and you certainly don't all know each other. Still our exchanges feel safe, positive, kind, and productive. Even those who don't comment online have let me know through emails, actual mail, and phone calls that they feel exactly the same way.

I am so grateful to each of you. You have totally flipped me on issues, given me ideas I never would have thought of, called out my errors, and supported me. I marvel at my immediate access to wisdom, advice, tips, tricks, and thought  provoking conversation. I don't know how anyone parents without a blog, I just know I wouldn't want to.
Here is my great-grandma parenting without a blog. And yet she still smiled. People were so brave back then.
So now I want to hear from you. How do blogs and message boards influence your parenting and your life? What rules for civil discourse do you take into the virtual world? Why are we so awesome? What other great blogs can you share? How do you build your non-virtual village? What groups and activities help you process and parent at your best?

Lots of love and gratitude to you, gentle readers!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Confessions of a Melty-Downy Mom (and a winner!)

Thank you all for your terrific responses and stories from MeltDown Town. To be fair, I figured I should share my best (to date) humdinger of a meltdown.

It goes like this: I get pregnant with my second child and begin reading copious amounts on birth order, sibling peace/rivalry, parenting fairly, etc. etc. I actively involve Big Kid to get her ready. I brace myself for feelings of shock or jealousy. I envision myself dealing with regressions, temper tantrums, and outbursts in a calm, dignified, saintly manner.

And then, after all the sweet anticipation (and 39 weeks of puking) we become a family of four. I wait, and wait. Nada, nothing ... zip. The same happy, sunny kid I have known for nearly three years seems to vacillate between adoring her sister and just obliviously going about her business. Um, could it really be this easy? What, my friends, was all the fuss about? I start thinking ... "nailed it."

And then the big day came, the one I had prepared for, practiced for over and over with mental dress rehearsals. I walked in to find Big Kid pinching her sister -- with a focused intensity. Little Kid is screaming, her arm welting up. So what do I do? Well, I make sure Little Kid is okay then I calmly remove Big Kid from the situation and talk to her about her feelings. Then, through music, movement, and art we come up with some creative ways to handle frustrations with her baby sister.

Okay, not really.

I grab Big Kid. I hold onto her by her arms. I look in her face. And to my child, my child that I love so much it hurts, I say...."You are a horrible, rotten child." Oh gentle readers, it still makes my heart ache. We both burst into tears. We both went running to our respective dad/husband. Me screaming, "I just did something horrible," and her screaming, "Mommy called me a 'rot child', mommy called me a 'rot child,' WHAT IS A 'ROT CHILD?'". We both seemed to understand the gravity of the situation. It was a bonafide meltdown.
I was sick with regret, and my heart felt like a brick in my chest. I sobbed in my room. What was wrong with me? Why had I reacted so improperly? Said such horrid things? And this was just the worst. The fact is, nearly daily I react with lack of patience and wisdom. Instead I -- whatever the opposite of "nail it" is. ("screwed it?")

I try hard. Really hard. I read, I talk, I ask (you mostly). I do improve; I listen more, I ask more open-ended questions. I consider how fleeting and precious childhood is. And this all helps. And yet, I AM a bit high-strung, and I will NEVER nail it. At least not every minute of every day. Try as I might, there are times my voice will go up an octave over something as silly as a missing shoe, or that I will make the proverbial mountain of the metaphorical molehill.

So in addition to trying to improve my reactions and our interactions, I also practice extending grace and compassion to myself after the moments I am less than proud of. And I hope you will too. You are the best of the best. Thank you so much for all of your honest sharing, support, and truly helpful tips and tricks. I love our little community; thank you for being a part of my journey as a mom.

"Calgon take me away!" Image from Go Retro!
And finally, the winner is Anonymous Comment #21.CONGRATULATIONS! And here is where my 2nd confession comes ... I started thinking I couldn't give away a book I hadn't read. So, long story short, the book is bent and there is Indian food spilled on page 11. I feel bad the book isn't as pristine as it was, but this is the blog that gave away a mix tape and tried to give away a box of Franzia. (tried and failed, as I drank the Franzia -- which was kind supposed to be a joke in the first place).  So, like me, it isn't perfect, but I hope you enjoy it anyway!

To cap off meltdown show-and-tell, please take a moment and share your favorite method for meltdown come-down. How do you unwind, reconnect, move on ... forgive yourself after a bad moment? Thank you as always!
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