For Headspace- Monk tested, kid approved

July 14, 2016 by No Comments

Teaching kids to pay attention to their bodies means we lead by example, we remember that they don’t know how to do this yet, and we fully invest in the scientific fact that what they learn now will have a profound impact on their resilience as adults. Happy to be at Headspace again discussing all of this and more!

After he stopped crying into his sheets, he looked up at me with his shining blue eyes and I remembered; he doesn’t know how to do this. Because of his easy-going nature and mature approach to life, I sometimes forget that he is still so young. Daniel J. Siegel, in his book “The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, Survive Everyday Parenting Struggles, and Help Your Family Thrive” states, “One reason big feelings can be so uncomfortable for small children is that they don’t view those emotions as temporary.”

CLICK HERE to read the rest at Headspace!

For Ravishly- All the kids are in school: What I plan “To Do” with myself

July 14, 2016 by No Comments

So happy to write for “Ravishly- Real feminism for real life” on what my plans are now that ALL my babies will be in school!

A stack of papers, color coded and stapled together are sitting on my kitchen counter. I have two-ish weeks to fill them out and turn them back in, but frankly if it takes me more than 24 hours, I’ll be shocked.

My baby is going to kindergarten.

He’s the youngest of our four boys and, for a while, I was dreading this monumental event.

No more babies at home? Everyone off and running, kind-of-sort-of living their own little lives?

The idea has taken some getting used to, but now that I’m at the filling out paper work stage, I can’t help but begin to imagine all the possibilities.

I’m not the only one who has realized that a new chapter is about to open up for me and our family. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from friends, family, acquaintances, and even strangers, “Well, well. What are you going to do with yourself?”

CLICK HERE to read the rest over at Ravishly

For Headspace: Hitting ‘snooze’ on the worry alarm

July 14, 2016 by No Comments

At this point in life, my children are my greatest teachers. Here’s a post I wrote recently about managing anxiety, overactive Fight or Flight reflexes and what it’s like to realize that what you consider to be good and healthy vigilance in parenting is really standing in your way of your main job in life… to send them out into the world with all the tools they need to function as happy, well-adjusted, full-grown people.

Thanks to Headspace for hosting me!

“Flying down the freeway one afternoon, my mind jumping from one task to the next, I glanced over at my 10-year-old son. I was startled by what I saw. His eyes were closed and his hands were open on his knees, palms up. His shoulders were relaxed and a little smile inched up into his cheeks. He quietly and evenly breathed in, and then he quietly and evenly breathed out.”

Click Here to read the rest over at Headspace…

For Mamalode: When Autism Lives Across the Street

April 4, 2016 by No Comments

Hi there Internet friends,

If you’ve been reading here long, you know that I have a precious son who is on the spectrum. April is Autism Awareness/Acceptance month and while I know it’s a controversial month for some in our community, for us, at this point in our journey, it’s important to help to raise awareness and to fight for acceptance. On that note, I’m so happy to be over at Mamalode this month with a piece that matters a lot to me. It’s a piece I’ve been working on for months and it has found a home at the wonderful site Mamalode. I hope you’ll click over and read it, but even more than that, I hope you’ll share it. There are so many kiddos and adults in our world that are waiting to be seen, and there are so many parents who are trying to make a way in this world that just isn’t always friendly to people whose minds work differently. Thanks friends.

I was doing my best to get out the door when the doorbell rang. Already running late, I wasn’t expecting anyone and as I peeked out the kitchen window, I was surprised to see our neighbor from across the street. Her oldest son is a constant playmate to our four boys, but she has rarely appeared on our doorstep. I hurried to open the door, and when I did, she already had a kind and sympathetic smile plastered on her face. My stomach tightened and I returned her smile with a questioning smile of my own.

Haltingly, she laid it on me; there’d been an incident the night before. Actually, by the time she was done explaining to me exactly what had happened between her son and mine as they ran up and down our street at dusk, she’d listed out several little incidents that made me wish I hadn’t opened the door at all. She was kind, she was understanding, she said all the right things, and I was properly embarrassed, humbled, a little defensive, but mostly, just devastated. The hard realities of our son’s struggles often pop up without notice, and my heart can hardly stand it when they do.

This mild confrontation is not the first and won’t be the last one I’ll ever face on behalf of our son, and next time the other parent might not be so compassionate. They might not try so hard to meet me halfway. They might not want – or try – to understand his world at all.
TO READ THE REST, CLICK HERE

How My Boys Will Learn to Grieve

November 11, 2015 by No Comments

2015-08-06 16.40.59

My father-in-law dropped off the fixin’s for a kettle of pumpkin soup and it’s filling the house with warmth and winter right about now. I have chicken thighs in the oven because children aren’t always as appreciative of things like pumpkin soup as we adult types are. I’ve wiped the kitchen counter down one thousand times today and I keep sipping at a white wine because my clenched teeth are giving me a headache. It’s been a tough day.

Our pup is sick. We thought it was a cold and now we know it’s not; it’s so, so, so not a cold. Her wild and wooly heart is failing, and now mine is bursting. I want to sleep on the bathroom floor with her and tell her it’s okay that she destroyed an actual wall in our last house and assure her that we were going to replace that door she chewed through on the 4th of July anyway. I want to cart her around town and refuse to go anywhere she isn’t welcome. I want to brush her and scratch her ears, and make her so happy for today.

How on earth will we tell the boys? How will we explain that probably not today, and most likely not tomorrow, and maybe not before Christmas, but possibly before Christmas, our sweet Moo Dog will need us to make that terrible decision, the one I know is the kind and responsible thing to do, but that feels so terribly despicable? How can we give them the strength to cherish the time they have left with her, while helping them escape the fear over her every cough and every passing day?  How can we ease the way for them, even just enough?

It’s a small thing, and yet it’s kind of the biggest thing. I’m thankful for that, that this passage of grief reflects just how bump-free their lives have been thus far. But it will not feel that way, for any of us. Our little guys will hurt and we will barely survive bearing witness to that hurt. It’s the price of adoring these damn animals that convince us to bring them home and inconvenience our entire lives for them; and it’s the price of parenting which is also an inconvenience, but with the benefit of parental instinct and crazy, miraculous, unconditional love on its side.

I’ll hate every second of this whole thing. And if you think I won’t find a way to bring home a puppy as soon as possible, you’re crazy. A mama can only watch her babies ache so long. But I won’t do it yet. I won’t do it until our sweet girl is gone because something tells me we’ve got to get through this one. We’ve got to walk all the way through it, and our babies need to as well. There’s something there, something deep within the waiting and the grief and the fear, something that can’t be skipped over with a pile of fluffy puppiness. We need that something, and we’ll just have to dive in deep, feel around until our fingers close around it ,and then we can push back up to the surface- where the sun bounces off the water and our heads. Where the oxygen lives. I don’t know what it is, I really have no idea. But that doesn’t matter right now.

Now is the time for telling a hard thing. Now is the time for letting the hurt come as it will. Now is the time to let them see us cry, to fill our laps and arms with themselves as they grieve- in fits and starts, in silence or in the kind of sadness that looks like anger, like rage. Now is the time for sleepovers with Moo and as many car rides as she can handle. It’s the time to watch and wait, to feel the heaviness and to remember that as hard as it is, it’s fertile ground for the learning of grief. This will serve these boys, this will teach them and it will hurt them, and that will teach them too.

Say a prayer for my boys, will you?

And maybe for my pup, too. Saying goodbye is going to break our hearts.