Monday, November 28, 2011

Offspring Update

Miss Monkey has learned to tie her shoes!  And prefers tying everything else that she can get her paws on as well, I spent an eon of a moment waiting for her to tie the strings on my Thanksgiving blouse.  Little Girl has also decided that she wants a kitten for Christmas. There is hesitation because after all she is 5.5 years old---really, The Man is hesitant, I am all for it.  Santa gives us a tip on where to look for kittens that need a home, set it up that kitty will be here for Christmas morning, and away we go. Learning responsibility caring for another creature is a big deal, and I'm excited for this milestone.  In case Santa had any reservation about bringing a kitten to her, The Firstborn has made him a goodie-bag with a hand made (and much belabored) kitten necklace.  I'm not sure how to feel about this apparent tendency to butter Santa up before asking for what she wants, I need to explore the trend a bit more.  She spent almost an entire afternoon drawing pictures for Santa, adding to the little cupcake sack.  I figure we'll hand deliver her carefully written letter and the goodies when we meet Santa after Family Christmas.  So fun!

She's really been impressing the homeschool Mamas with her social skills in the discussion circle, it's so interesting to see her strengths (and weaknesses) play out.  Watching her problem solving has been amazing lately, especially since we stopped solving problems for her.  F is truly a social wonder, knows everyone in her Sunday class, and now and then laments that we haven't seen so-and-so lately.  It's already a challenge to keep up with the social calendar, I can't imagine what it'll look like in years to come.  The necklace for Santa was especially neat as Miss Monkey apparently when up to the play room with an idea and a plan, then worked so intently that when she finally came to the point of stringing it together and the plan went slightly awry, she needed some calming before she could continue.  She continues to daily amaze me, which means we're on the right track I think.

The Toddleator E has been exploring new areas of expressing herself.  Though picking up new words daily, and echoing much of what we've said, I still have to pay rather close attention to understand the baby-slurred words, and some phrases, coming out of her.  She is too too silly, and makes jokes sometimes at her sister's expense, it's especially entertaining as she mocks big sister when F is having a tough time attitudinal-ly.  Signing has been interwoven with speaking, and I've had to be sure to differentiate between "sign" and "say" when she's attempting communication.  Lamenting hungrily in the kitchen I heard "I-jus'-wan'-eeeeaat!" over and over.  Recently, reported by The Man; Toddleator E heard some gaseous emanation of his, she pointed to his behind and signed diaper change as if asking him, "do you need a change of pants after that one?"

One of E's favorite things to do is throw things in the garbage, "'darge" as she says.  I witnessed her accidentally scattering clothing as she dragged her basket to the bedroom.  I mentioned the clothes sprinkled down the hall, she came right back and picked them up then putting the items in her cabinet.  One of the biggest differences I've noticed thus far, E really likes to have her hands clean, does not enjoy spilling things on herself, and is generally different from her sister this way.  This baby girl really enjoys the sounds that items make, banging, rattling, cracking...when she discovers a new sound she'll pause and repeat the action over and over until she's gotten enough.  Since that day when she joyously and proudly walked 'round the kitchen, she's mastered walking and loves to trot from room to room.  One of the best noises, for us, is that mini-thud-thud-thud of the toddler trot across a floor.  Of course, we run into the little terribles now and then, she is after all a toddler.  I'm a veteran with tantrums now (plus Love & Logic) it's a lot more fun and less work.  She's been Little Miss Contradiction lately, asking for something and then squealing when it's handed to her.  We learned quickly to set things down nearby rather than get sucked into her dramatics.  We have potties strategically ready for the moment Toddleator E decides she's really ready to learning toileting.  Though she'll practice sitting on the potty, nothing has, er, produced yet.  She does however, let me know when she's wet her diaper, then staunchly refuses a change (Contradiction, right?).

Love'em, feed'em, they grow.  It's miraculous, not only that it's truly simple, but that they've their own very particularly individual personas arising that aren't necessarily dependent on my parenting skills.  NEAT-O.

edited to add:  A note about teeth.  The Younger has cut 4 molars just recently and really enjoys using them.  The Firstborn looks forward to losing some, she appears envious when one of her cohorts shows their gap tooth smile.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dear Fellow Patron...

Dear fellow 24 Hour Fitness patron,
While I appreciate that your dogs are “doing their job” as living alarms hanging out in your car, they are extremely aggressive.  It is an excessive challenge to wrestle small children and babies into a vehicle while crazed German Shepherds lunge from neighboring vehicle’s windows.  Please look at nearby vehicles in the future, check for infant seats or child boosters, and park farther away.  As a responsible dog owner, I know you’ll understand.
Thank you.

Oh the feelings that were induced with this incident.  A visceral fear, an anger that any-mama would understand.  It's the second time I’ve exited the gym to see this vehicle parked next to mine under rare shade of the gym lot. I stared down the slightly smaller canine in the back seat, but the larger one wouldn’t calm, I actually raised my hand as if to strike and watched the reactive animal become even more agitated.   A gentleman with an air of Police Officer in (my guess) an un-marked car witnessed the entire scene.  
He asked, "Are you okay?" 
I replied, “Yes. I think so. But I don’t like it.” 
“I don’t either,” he said.  
“I’d like to say or do something, but it’s a parking lot, I mean, really [gesturing to space] what could be done?”  

It actually flitted through my head to mask my fear—incredulous my internal dialogue became, “what?? of course I’m scared and I should be!”  The man in the vehicle offered me some mace, I refuse because I understand that the dogs are doing what they’ve been trained to do, to react with fight or flight anger.  I am not a basal animal, and I can respond with greater thought and compassion.   I had to wait a few moments before I wrote the note though.

Thank You Gratitude

I'm likening gratitude to a steam engine.  Some days it's challenging to get it going, the wheels might slip with that initial forward chug, but once the momentum has gotten the best of the weight of my activities, gratitude is self perpetuating.  This moment gives birth to the next.  If I fill this moment with gratitude, the next moment can't help but bring blessings.

A is for abilities, of which I have many (apple pie, too, I made for The Man's birthday).
B is for bounty, which will be on our table this Thursday.
C is for cat, Porter is older than the kids. <3
D is for downward dog, yoga-yoga-yoga.
E is for Toddleator E, whose bright silliness fills our moments with giggles.
F is for Miss Monkey, whose imagination, energy, and intensity are sparks through the day.
G is for gymnastics coaches who take my Bigger Girl and have aided teaching her strength and determination.
H is for help, and knowing when to ask for it.
I is for me, and the I Am that I Am.
J is for juggling, 'cause one day I'll know how.
K is for kites.
L is for love, that really does conquer all.
M is for magnets as grateful hearts collect blessings.
N is for night, when those babies are sleeping.
O is for others, those people that change me.
P is for pumpkin, with which I will bake.
Q is for quiche, because it's so tasty.
R is for ribbons for little girl hair.
S is for soup, 'cause Soup Season is here!
T is for The Man, he's totally tops I tell you!
U is for umbrella, as F is obsessed with them.
V is for vibration, and a higher frequency at that.
W is for water, running through my home.
X is for Ximena, who complimented my Spanish accent.
Y is for you, yes, I'm grateful, thankful, for you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Point of Pride

It's startling for me really, the amount of giddy pride I had bringing Miss Monkey to her first gymnastics exhibition.  As I noticed this swell of emotion I also noticed how I relaxed and stretched into the feeling of pride for my girl.  How much fun I had watching her proudly display her strength with her team-mates!  It was too too funny when she finally spied her friends that came, Miss Monkey tried to wave to them mid-trick on the bar she was so excited.

At the meet we attended over the summer there were many photo-rabid parents hustling each other for the best spot, snapping gig upon gig of photos for their team.  Gratefully this was only an exhibition---I have time before I will really need a swami DSLR Nikon to use for these events (flashes are forbidden and besides the chalk dust in the air makes it near impossible to use one anyway).

The event was in order such that her intensive invitational pre-competitive team was second to last to show, right before the elites that compete seriously.  The strength of these six little girls was obvious, even to a novice eye such as mine. I could see a real difference between the Rising Tigers' strength and the rec[reational] levels that supposedly rank higher competitively.  After 6 months of conditioning and strength, these two great coaches had the girls doing their first real tricks within two weeks preparing for the Mile High Salute to the Armed Forces Exhibition.  The girls got brand new custom leotards for the event, and I happily configured the Firstborn's hair into a cute creation with enough hairspray to sleep in and hold over Sunday afternoon.  Back in the day, she would ask me if she could "make my hair" then spend a long while combing and affixing various clips to my head. Finally she can sit still long enough for me to do some serious learning about this "making of hair."  Who'd've thought, really, that I would ever have to crash course up-do's for competitive sports?

I look forward to more of this parenting adventure, and I gain confidence in our job of parenting thus far---I feel we're doing pretty well!

Got her hair did
affixing ribbons tomfoolery
hooray for coaches!
sister cuties
 Thank you TIGAR!

"It's easy!"

Has someone ever said to you, "Just try it, it's easy!" and then you find the task they coaxed you into trying is painfully difficult? Did this leave you feeling exceptionally capable or downright stupid…and embarrassed?

When this happens to the average adult, it doesn't take long for them to conclude two things:
  • This person who's trying to help me is nuts…and definitely not to be trusted!
  • Why should I try if I can't even handle the easy stuff?
Quite frequently I overhear well-meaning parents and educators using the "Just try it, it's easy!" approach in an attempt to urge a reluctant child into trying something they're afraid of. When the child finds the task easy, all is right with the world. When they don't, they're confronted with the pain of seeing that they might be so slow that they can't even do something really, really "easy"!
How often does this need to happen before our kids lose faith in our word? How often does this have to happen before our children lose faith in their own abilities? Are you willing to take this sort of risk with your kids?

Received in a Love & Logic Newsletter, re: Motivating kids to try.

I remember this as a kid, I remember feeling completely inept and stupid because I couldn't master something immediately and I remember giving up.  I think I also compensated by acting a know-it-all, adeptly hiding what I mightn’t know until I could BS my way into (or out of) a situation.

I remember now to avoid saying "it's easy" and instead go with "simple, but not always easy....let me know what you think"----even with adults.
Self mastery.
Was chatting with someone this morning about the connection between children's thought life and what happens "to" them sometimes.  I still see that children are like little receptors, seriously energetically charged and very sensitive to what's happening around them (some more than others of course).  Self-mastery is something that they have to be guided, or they'll make up their own rules about emotions/feelings/behaviors.  Maybe that's why it is a good idea to send children to monastery, i.e. Buddhist tradition, to get some serious self-mastery guidance.  It really is too bad that the mysticism has been weeded out of (what appears to be) most christian tradition (and others I'm sure).  Those of us who grew up with little to no guidance of self-mastery end up in a state of spiritual bankruptcy, consistently reaching for something outside of ourselves to ful-FILL us. 

34 years, I'm only just now beginning to master my emotions and understand my feelings.  As a parent I would be hard-pressed to do anything but address the things I need to grow through---in fact I cannot imagine how a person could have children and not grow, not with out a plethora of pervasive denial, blame, rationalization, and justification.  Then I guess that's what some parents fall into doing though...doing anything to avoid the mirror that is a child.

The thing about growth is that it can be addicting I think, once I figured some stuff out I started wanting more of that health in my life---even though it could be uncomfortable at times.

I have to remember that they're not little adults, developmentally reasonable expectations are okay (for my own development as well) nothing more though. 

I found that it's harder sometimes to behave/speak lovingly 'cause I have only a short track record for it, feels kinda weird to love with abandon.   It used to be easier to "go with what I know", even though I felt sick about it.
It's almost as if love feels more out of control than expectant anger and fear.  I used to think I could control my anger better than I could control love/loving feelings (then earlier this year found out quickly that I couldn't).  Fear is interesting 'cause while I think I can control it, the truth is it controls me.

My palms are a little sweaty writing this stuff out, still not used to talking this REAL. 
That's what Truth does, it budges us out of our comfort zone.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Spiritual work is always win-win.  Growth can be uncomfortable, it's worth it though ultimately.  It's kind of double edged though, 'cause once I've done the growth I can't UNgrow.  I can never go back to ignorance (at least not without considerable effort and damage).  The ignorance I'm referring to here is god's freedom misused.  We get what we expect, change my thoughts and I change my life.

Part of this little life-laboratory experiment has come to fruition with little winnings here and there.  I joyfully expect that I will win, hand it over to the universe to work on, let go, and be ready to gratefully receive.  In the past 3 months or so I have won a teething bon-bon from Little Spruce Organics, a new Yo-Yoo wetbag from Snaps & Snails, and a solid gift certificate from Nutured Family.  All three are stellar for all the crunchy mama needs!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Give them Wings

Finally updated Los Photos, well at least thru September.   Took long enough, eh?
In the mean time I made these:

Leia & R2D2

p.s. the wings idea from here

For The Man's Birthday...

...I gave him a bomb.  An Semi-Atomic Tantrum Bomb.  It wasn't on purpose, and I'm confessing here that I should've known better.
After dropping Miss Monkey at gymnastics I happily flitted off to procure apples for The Man's birthday pie at the nearest local produce market.  Slightly disappointed with their lack of spices (namely cinnamon) I pushed the mental schedule back another 30 minutes and headed to the grocery closest to our house, thinking of course this would be quick because I'm familiar with this store, eazy-peazy.  But then I can't find my new cheapo mini-wallet, I look up & down & all around, feel all my pockets.  Look again.

When it doesn't appear I immediately start heading back northward to the produce market where I saw it last.  Calling The Man on my way, informing him that he needn't pick up Miss Monkey from TIGAR as I would be in the neighborhood, wallet outcome questionable, etc.  Visions of re-licensing and card canceling phone calls in my head.  Arriving at the little market, it's dark, and no answer of the phone number I keep calling.  I pull back into the parking spot, check the area, peep in the window to the counter where I was last.  After some consideration, sitting in my little truck with Toddleator, I decide I should knock on the back door, there is still a light in what I assume to be the office.  Mr. Heines opens up, we greet each other and I explain I think I've lost my wallet.
Of course, he says, come on in and we'll look for it.
Well, the baby's in the car, I say, as I frisk myself once more...

and pull from my rear right pocket...

my wallet.

Oh! Hey, look at that.  Blush, embarrassed.  I'm sorry to have bothered you!

Back in the car chuckling, realize that we're too hungry, and there's at least 1.5 hours left before the Firstborn is finished with her class.  Use magic phone to look-up closest GoodTimes, head out to get snack of fries...and once there I couldn't resist the Egg-Nog Milkshake!  I mean who could, right?  

At first I figure, well, I'll just sip the shake, and save some for The Man 'cause he loves Egg-Nog.  But I can't stop.  I'm hungrier than I thought, my fries vanish.  Well, no one wants half or a third of a shake so I'll share it with the baby, I know I won't drink the whole thing.  Fast forward, Miss Monkey's class ending, I saved her some fresh cut french fries and she gets about the last third of the milkshake on the way home.
Now, consider, on the way home, her mouth stuffed full of salty potato-ey goodness, sipping on delectable creamy goodness, she manages to talk through the mess to inform me that she definitely still wants to eat dinner.  Okay, I think, cool.  She's probably pretty hungry anyway, right?

At home finally, I throw together what I do have for the previously planned manificent birthday dinner, except the broccoli is nastily bitter, toss it.  Supplement mashed 'tatoes. No soft white bread for the pulled pork ("lost" wallet at the grocery, remember), supplement bed of fresh baby spinach (actually really a great idea and tasty, too).  Add bowls of yummy pumpkin soup and voila, dinner is served, albeit without a celebration pie to finish.

Then She won't eat, she's complaining, and overly tired and overly sugared, and whining.  She ends up eating her spinach leaf salad and then being sent to bed, lightly caterwauling.

I'm so sorry, lover, I will do better next year.  : )

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Workout Wagon

I'm hanging on by fingertips to the workout wagon, haven't completely fallen off, but it's been close.  Spotty yoga, and running now and then, some weight training when  possible.  Since I've lost my suit swimming has been out of question.  I'm back to where I began years ago with yoga and running solely.  Without a trailer or a bike trainer I'm SOL for riding my bike and can only use imagination for the spin bikes at the gym.  Eating hasn't been too crazy (other than The Fever week).  I've managed to avoid too much process sugar eating alot of quinoa salad and smoothies.  Being without butter for over a week makes one creative with breakfast.  I realized I don't like to eat toast without butter, and I certainly couldn't bake anything.  The holidays approach though, and I'm loathe to try to change the menu, there's just so much comfort in those holiday foods.  Chatting with an acquaintence recently regarding eating vegan-esque, gluten free, etc.  I would totally do it if I personally didn't have to expend the time and energy making the switch.  If I won a personal chef/grocery shopper for a year I would definitely change a lot of what we eat.  For now though I make small changes, like not drinking much milk, eating fatless greek yogurt, more and more veggies and salads, simply cutting back on the bread.  Now that our mega-box store membership is back on I'm enjoying buying organic items (yay!).  A related note, that mega-box store membership happens to represent a big component of abundance & opulence for me.  It's comforting for me to see that there is definitely enough.
A brief fall rhythm synopsis.

One Wednesday
-Spanish for an hour or so
-Off to New Thought Mommies group, hanging around working on writing and letters with note cards for her friends (no other mommies today)
-Home for lunch and contributions to the household
-E fighting some illness, naps and down time
-To Yoga for Young Warriors
-Home again for dinner with The Man, and service work
-Final home again, yoga, studying, sleep

Awake again too early with someone coughing too much, then barely 40 minutes later someone else hollering.
I'm awake now for real, and not going back to sleep as I need coffee and eggs to bake something for potluck today. Grateful to be done with cold virus. Jog to the grocery for supplies and arrive just as The Man appears ready to begin shouting for me from the patio.

Just when I think we're into a rhythm something goes slightly awry and then there's flex time before settling back in.
Ah, the wisdom of uncertainty.


It'a 6:30 AM and my hands smell like play-dough. Trick-or-Treating was a success. Up and down a couple blocks and R2D2 battery was wearing down. It was hard to stop--what other time of year do we dress up crazy, knock on doors, and get such good will? Miss Leia Monkey had a full pumpkin bucket, and we know that's more than enough.
Today is candy day, 1. Whatever is left over tomorrow will be donated, 2. Candy can be consumed after decent protein meal, 3. If candy travels with child it must be shared with others.
Sugar is like crack for children. Ever notice the noise level in childcare places goes way up the day or two after Halloween?  It's the Sugar DeTox.   Bless all care givers, tell them "Thank You".
An amendment to this, as he came home that day, though most of the candy was gone anyway, Miss Monkey was lamenting that she couldn't eat it all before the donation day.  The Man decided it wasn't the best idea, promoting gluttony in a fashion.  So, we went with the original idea, that it's her candy and she can do with it what she wants, eating it as she sees fit.  Though I requested that she at least try to eat something with salt and protein before consuming too too much.  All turned out all right, no super crazy tantrums thank goodness.