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    Wordless Wednesday: Intuition

    When your inner voice speaks, do you listen? It's there for a reason. It's our connection to each other and our universe. Don't be afraid.

    Trust your intuition.


    Posted: Nov 07 2012, 11:31 by kelly | Comments (2) RSS comment feed |
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    Bedtime Connection

    Today, I'm writing at Natural Parents Network about nighttime parenting in a post called Bedtime Connection. Here's an excerpt:

    "I know it can be challenging to lie down at the end of a long day with your kids — when you may be thinking of a million and one things you’d like to get done in the limited time you may have between their bedtime and yours. But, there’s nothing so important as connection with your children.

    This evening, try taking a bit of time to relax, cuddle, and just listen after you say goodnight, but before you leave the room. Be open to what your kids have to say in the dark — without judgment, without routines and schedules, without places to be or things to do. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you learn about them — and about yourself. Remember it’s fleeting, this time with our kids. Embrace it while you can."

    (photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/52193278@N00/) 

    To read the entire post, please visit the Natural Parents Network site... and have a look around. There are some really amazing mothers sharing their experiences with gentle, natural, intuitive parenting.

    For more things I've written on sleep, have a look here.

    Posted: Oct 29 2012, 11:06 by kelly | Comments (0) RSS comment feed |
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    Connection and Attachment Beyond Babyhood

    Attachment parenting is often associated with babies and very young children. But what happens when your baby is too big for a sling or your preschooler has weaned? Does attachment parenting have to stop? Not at all. The basis of attachment parenting is getting tuned-in to your child, learning to communicate effectively, and staying connected.  You may not be able/want to breastfeed your five-year-old, but that doesn't mean he no longer wants - and needs - the gentle nurturing touch that you and he shared when he was a sweet, chubby baby. Here are some ways to help strengthen those connections you built in babyhood, and stay in-tuned with your older kids:


    Get down on the floor and play.

    Sometimes it's really a challenge to shake the stiff realities of life as an adult and loosen up. Sometimes kids play seems boring. Sometimes all you can think about is what you're "not getting done" while playing with your kids. Maybe you're just not the playing kind? I get that. It can be hard at times, to get down and really play with kids, but it's worth it! Even a bit of an effort makes a difference. Every ten minutes spent helping construct a Lego tower, tossing a ball back and forth, or throwing a blanket over the kitchen table to make a fort adds to your connection bank. We can all find ten minutes. Remember, play is kids' language. We need to speak it now & then.


    Hug, cuddle, and use gentle touch.

    Not only babies like and benefit from gentle touch. Keeping attached to our children means cuddling up with them - even when they're nearly as big as we are! Offer hugs whenever you can (wrestle  if kids say they are "too big" for hugs & kisses), offer  a gentle massage to help kids relax before bed, cuddle up on the couch when watching a movie or reading a book, use gentle, reassuring touch (like a pat on the back) when your child is working hard at a task, offer to brush or braid your children's hair (and then have them do the same for you!). Gentle touch is a great way to reconnect and show love without having to say a word!


    Write a love note.

    My daughter has told me many times how much she enjoys reading the notes I've left in her lunch during the school year. Jot down a happy poem, an inspiring phrase, or a note from the heart and leave it somewhere your child will be sure to see it - in their lunch box, on their bathroom mirror, or in their sports bag. If you're not the flowery words type, try something simple like a smiley face or "Have a great day!" (I created a few "staying connected" cards - feel free to print & include them in your kids' lunches). Just a few words of encouragement or cheer, reminding your children that you're thinking of them - even when you're apart - can really mean a lot to your child.


    Actively listen.

    Listen to your kids when they talk. Simple, right? But I know how challenging it can be to stop what you're doing and pay close attention when your child is in motor-mouth mode, or telling you the details of the latest Harry Potter book, which you both have already read, many times. Keep in mind that while the little details may not be important to you at that moment, what they are telling you is important to THEM. By making eye contact and actively listening, you're letting them know how important THEY are to YOU. Good listening is crucial to keeping your connection strong. And while the stories NOW may seem simplistic or boring, as they grow, if they're used to telling you their feelings and experiences, you'll be the first person they come to when the stories are scary, complex, or they're facing challenging decisions as teenagers. Listening now reverberates.


    Attachment parenting doesn't have to stop with breastfeeding, babywearing, or cosleeping. Staying connected our kids doesn't take much effort, and can make a world of difference in maintaining that close relationship you established in babyhood. Go ahead, give your big kid an extra hug today & see how good it feels!

    Posted: Jun 14 2012, 00:00 by kelly | Comments (3) RSS comment feed |
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    Peace Like the Wings of a Butterfly

    The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.

    ~Frederick Buechner


    My 6 year old daughter: Mom? Since everyone in the world has a mom or a dad or a sister or brother or a friend… and their friends have moms and dads and friends… then isn’t it like everyone in the world is one whole giant family?


    Me: Yes, it is like that. And because it’s like that, that’s what makes me so upset when people in the world are so angry with each other, and fight with one another, and try to hurt each other. Since we are all of us part of one big family on the earth, we should all try to include each other and be kind to one another, not always fight.


    My daughter nodded. She understood, completely.



    For my daughter, what I said wasn’t a stretch. My words weren't Pollyannaish (even though as I said it, I worried, am I being too "out there"? Too positive?); it was, for her… just natural. Just as it naturally occurred to her that everyone is linked, it also naturally made sense that being linked would mean being kind and empathetic and inclusive.


    We are all – all of us – one big human family (and as a vegetarian with non-theistic Buddhist  tendencies, I’ll add that we are also part of the greater living earthly family – animals, plants, people – all organisms, intertwined). We are like the giant redwoods in Northern California: without their giant canopies, entire species of plants and animals that live hundreds of feet up in the air in their elevated ecosystems, or down on the ground in the fertile shade, might not exist at all; and without those animals and insects, the redwoods’ seeds might not be dried and dispersed as necessary to continue their propagation.  Without our entire earthly family, where would all of us be (insert appropriate Twelve Monkeys, Matrix, or Wall-E scene, here. Yikes.)?



    As easily as my daughter can see the world as one big family, I am moved to try to do the same. If we are all interconnected, then the things I do and say to my children affect the things they do and say to other children; which in turn can affect the way those children treat others; so I will pay greater attention to my words and actions. I’ve always believed the love and empathy I show my children will reverberate through generations (it’s one big reason I believe so strongly in attachment parenting); so why show anything but? Her simple and certain acknowledgment that all people are one is so inspiring!


    So, in an effort to celebrate our connectedness, I want to thank you, my blogging family, for reading. I’m sending you all joy and peace for the days ahead, and hoping you’ll pass it on (Remember that all of our seemingly tiny words and actions can be like the proverbial butterfly’s wings. Who knows what a small kind gesture might do for the future?)!



    How Does Your Garden Grow?


    One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.  ~William Shakespeare

    (Columbine, out back)  

    I've tended a garden – of some kind – for as long as I can recall. As a child, we had a great big garden – surrounded by a picket fence, filled with treasures we’d tend all summer long: potatoes, carrots, corn, peas, broccoli, strawberries. I remember tilling the soil, planting, watering, pulling weeds (ugh), and finally harvesting our bounty! The garden was always a marvelous place for discovery: we had bugs in our veggies, rats digging tunnels through our rows, and one year, even turned over a nest of baby bunnies! Gardening was a part of every day life – a lot of work, but fun too, and even better – we ended up with Stuff To Eat at the end of it all.

    (Our strawberries ripened this weekend & they were delicious!)

    When Adam and I were apartment living, I kept pots of flowers and tomatoes on our deck, and when we moved to Maine, we tried our hand at a full-fledged vegetable garden a couple of years, along with many perennial beds.  Though we never got much of a veggie harvest, there was always something that felt so right – and even necessary – about tending a garden. Without it, there’s a piece missing from Spring and Summer. A piece missing from the soul.

    (Our backyard garden as of last week) 

    We’ve been back in New Jersey now a few years, and don’t have much space. But every year with the kids I’ve made the effort to get something in the soil with them. Our perennial beds are thriving, but with limited space and sun, we don’t have the most impressive veggie garden. Yet, even without ending up with baskets full of edibles in the fall, it’s still so important to get your hands dirty. Through gardening, my children have come to understand the sequence of planting a seed, watching it sprout, grow, bear fruit, and die… the cycle of life. A garden is life.  I’m grateful for the time with my kids – planting seeds, digging in the dirt, feeling the sun on our shoulders, the breeze in our hair, smelling the rich soil, and watching our plants move through the cycle of life and seasons.

    (Kiddos, planting)

    We are all a part of this earth – no matter how far away from it we tend to get, through technology – we come from the earth, we return to it, we need it. The garden reminds me of how interconnected we all are with each other and our earth, and I am grateful for it.

    (Foxglove, out front) 

    So… how does YOUR garden grow? Do you have rows and rows of veggies or a couple tomatoes in pots? How do you connect with the earth with your children?

    Posted: May 31 2011, 19:19 by kelly | Comments (5) RSS comment feed |
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