Sunday, August 24, 2008

A World to Discover

When I saw my friend Madelyn Cain, author of The Childless Revolution: What It Means to Be Childless Today and First-Time Mothers, Last-Chance Babies: Parenting at 35+, earlier this year in Los Angeles, she told me that now that I have a child who is entering the toddler years, I will experience an incredible world of discovery.

I shrugged off her comment with a, "Oh, I've always felt the excitement of discovery, so I'm sure this is nothing new." Madelyn, polite that she is, just responded with a simple, "Oh!"
Boy was I wrong. I had no idea that long, round pieces of foam could be used not only as drumsticks creating a muffled sound against the hardwood floor, but also used for surfing on the floor.

Nor did I realize that a Radio Flyer Scoot-About could be used not only for riding around the house, but also, when propped on its side, that its wheels could be used as a steering wheel.

Nor that a now-empty and cleaned bottle of laundry detergent could be propped against my ear to hear the sounds of the ocean as if in a shell.

I am in awe and wonder at the way my son is allowing me to discover the world that I often already found to be quite awesome and wonderful.

How We look at Our Children

Today, once again, I heard a woman yelling in the street below our window, "Viens ici maintenant!" ("Come over here right now!). So, of course, I just had to stick my head out the window to see what was going on.

I saw a woman frozen in place like a hunting dog pointing his snout towards his prey. She was waiting for her, I would say, eight-year-old, son to come stand next to her. After a few squawks, he finally sidled up to her. She glared at him with so much hatred in her eyes and then reached out and twisted his eyebrow.

He raised his arm in anger, growled, she glared harder, and he dropped his arm.

I'm grateful to what I witnessed today, because it reconfirmed something I'd noticed in our own family structure.

Recently I noticed my husband, who is very loving to our child, glare at the Little Man. There was so much anger in that look. It made me realize how careful I have to be not to look at my son that way when I'm mad at him, especially when my anger stems mostly from my own fatigue.

And watching that woman today, made me even more committed to always be loving to my son, or as much as is humanly possible, even in the most challenging of moments.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Finding the "Yes"

I always wanted to be the kind of parent that gives my child confidence; I definitely didn't want to be the parent who is always saying "no" and scaring him into behaving.
Now at almost two years of age, the Little Man has noticed that he can look out into the street much more easily if he climbs up on the window ledge. Even though there is a good-sized railing, my husband and I have implement a new family ground rule: the Little Man is not allowed to stand up without us being there.
This has caused him some distress because we don't always feel like spotting him. So, periodically, he's turned to see if we were watching, broadened his smile into a Chesire cat grin, and quickly climbed up to a standing.
In these moments I stay calm (so as not to startle him into a fall), slowly walk over to him, reach for him, put his feet on the ground and gently say, "Honey, one of our ground rules is that you keep your feet on the ground. If you want to climb up and stand, then you ask us to be there with you. If you want to climb on your own anyway, then I will close the window. I know that's frustrating for you, but we want you to be safe. Thank you very much."
Sometimes he cries as I speak my parenting lines...but I know he always listens because at a later time he'll do something to surprise me in direct response to our "talk".
A few days ago, I saw him pull himself up by the railing, then slide his feet along the ledge, placing his buttocks as firmly as possible against it. It was an awkward position for him, but he stayed there.
I was proud of him for finding a compromise that I would not have thought of.
Now, don't get me wrong, he still tests me from time to time to see if he can bend the "no-standing-on-your-own rule," so I still watch him like a hawk when he climbs on the ledge. In the process though, more than anything, I want to teach him how to do what he wants to do, in the safest way possible.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Happy Mothers

I just found this quote in my German page-a-day calender and thought it appropriate for this blog:

"Glueckliche Frauen lieben ihre Kinder;
unglueckliche haengen gerade verzweifelt an ihnen"

by Henry de Montherlant

That is to say:

"Happy women love their children;
unhappy ones hang on to them desperately."

I try to be a happy mother so that my child doesn't have to behave in any specific way to snap me out of my funk. Or at least, when I do have some challenging moments, I don't expect my child to help me get out of it.

His job is to grow and play and run and learn. Mine is to give him the confidence to walk on his own two feet.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

My Son Inspires Me

What can I say. My son inspires me. My husband gives me the space to pursue art, and my son gives me the propulsion, the fuel to not only create, but to begin venturing out into the "real" world with it.

I'm stepping up to the plate in great part because I want to show the Little Man that he can live his dream, his truth, no matter what it may be. But how can I encourage him, if I don't do the same for myself? The best way to lead is by example, right?

So, on June 14, 2008, the Red Earth Centre is hosting my first photo exhibit in Paris. And come this fall, I will start sending out short stories to literary magazines.

There is no going back now.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


The Little Man and I love playing hide-and-seek. Well, he hides and I'm supposed to seek. He'll suddenly disappear leaving silence behind, which is my signal to go look for him and say, "Little Man, where are you?"

Even though I generally spot him immediately, I pretend I don't know where he is and continue asking, "Where are you?" Periodically I get a little squawk or a little head sticks out from his hiding place.

Today I heard the silence again and went looking.

I laughed so hard when I "saw" him. Can you find him?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My How Time does Fly and other Challenges...

Dear Readers,

I apologize for not posting for many months. I'm getting flack about it, and rightly so! Thank you for keeping on me to write. I've been remiss, and I also haven't been able to get into my Blogger accounts. It seems to be working now, but it did take me a while to log in again today, so please bear with me. Hopefully, we'll work the technical challenges out.



Friday, January 4, 2008

Where did the Brain go?

Since becoming a mother, I have no mind left.

I should have seen it coming. It started in the early stages of pregnancy, when I couldn't do simple mathematical additions. Somehow I thought that things would get better once my body returned to normal.

Well, I'm back to my former pre-pregnancy weight, but along the way, in shedding the kilos, I must have shed some from my brain as well.

I not only can't do mathematical equations (7 + 9, for example) without using my fingers, but I burn pots and pans, I leave the refrigerator door open, and today, the coup de grace, instead of putting my own return address on the envelope, I put the address of the friend I am sending the card to.

Boy oh boy...

And the other day, one of my Mommy friends came over for a playdate. As our children played, I started telling her a story, then turned my head for just a moment to check on the kids.

When I looked back at her, I had to pause, search my mind and then ask for help, "Um, what was I saying?"

She gave me the same blank look that I'm sure I had on my face at the time, "Um, I have no idea!"

And we both broke down in peals of laughter.

Do you have any Mommy-memory-loss stories to share?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year's Eve

This year, the Hubby and I decided to stay home to bring in the new year. We didn't want to go to the trouble of trying to find a babysitter (probably an impossibility anyway), and I didn't want to tire myself out any more than I needed to after months of on-again, off-again illnesses doing the rounds of our little family.

And so on the stroke of midnight, the Hubby and I smooched for a while. We then snuck into the bedroom to kiss the Little Man and stare at him for a while. I looked at the Hubby and I know I had the same goofy grin on my face as he did.

We were in peace and bliss as the sounds of celebration erupted in the street.

Sometimes you miss out on things as parents, but often, you are enriched beyond imagination with the simplest of things.

Do you have a story to share where you gained by "missing out?"