• Attachment Parenting 
  • Breastfeeding
  • Children
  • Gardening
  • Natural Living
  • Recent posts


    Kelly On Facebook



    Visit Natural Parents Network
    Best For Babes - Life Saving Devices


    Archive

    Categories

    Tags

    Nine Parenting Truths





    In my going-on-seven years of parenting, I’ve discovered some things – seemingly universally experienced by parents – from all “sides” of the parenting spectrum: stay at home parents, working out of the home parents, homeschooling parents, attachment parents,  etc. – that no one bothered to tell me, prior to having children. Of course, when you want children, you don’t listen to anyone else anyhow because your pregnancy will be super-awesome, your birth will be a breeze, and your baby will be all sweetness and light, right? Right. So, without further ado, nine things:


    (Me... A mere ten days before my world completely changed)

    1) There is no off switch on children. Volume? Always on, and usually set to high. Movement? Always on the go unless sleeping (& oftimes not even then). Needs/requests? Always present; never ending. Certainly many needs ease a bit as children age, and all but the most urgent can usually be delayed a bit. But, especially when they're young, the urgent needs (see #2) of children really don't let up. The fact of the matter is, in spite of what you might see in pictures or hear from great-grandma’s memories, children aren’t typically quiet, they aren’t usually calm; they aren’t mini adults.  They are always on, and expect you will be as well.  The good part about this is that you learn how patient you can be. Patience, as they say, is a virtue.

    2) Taking care of sick kids is really quite challenging. It pushes the limits of your empathy and innate care-taking qualities (for details, see #3). Most especially when you also are sick (& when you're not sleeping because you're up with sick kids, and being exposed to all manner of germs picked up from every possible play surface in the universe even some that you don’t consider play surfaces but your children certainly do, like grocery store aisle floors – you likely will be), and would rather be in bed, having someone care for YOU.  But, there must be a light at the end of the tunnel.  I think there are two: First, I keep in mind that through illness, children are building their immune systems one cold at a time – getting stronger and healthier. And two, I remember my childhood illnesses with an odd fondness – being home with my mom all day while being allowed to draw and watch as much television as I wanted – I don’t much recall the illness as much as the special attention.

    3) Cleaning throw up out of the car stinks. Literally. As does cleaning throw up out of the bed in the middle of the night, or off of yourself, at any time of day. There's just no good time for puking, really, but it's particularly unappealing when it isn't yours and it's on your stuff, your person, and/or you've had about 2 hours of sleep when said cleaning is required. Trying to think of an upside to this… if there is one, please feel free to chime in.

    4) Appreciation for all you do as a parent is not readily forthcoming. Whether you work another job in addition to parenting or raising your kids is your sole vocation, no one really says thank you – not specifically, anyway. And why not? Because parenting is not really considered a job, and, big sigh, its commonplace: nearly anyone can become a parent; nearly everyone is.  Thanking someone for being a parent is like thanking someone for clipping their own toenails: Great job, keep on being human, you. And children don’t know to thank you because… well, because they’re children and, you’re just doing what you’re supposed to be doing – taking care of them. Thanks, Mom, pass the granola, and can you take me to the playground, please?
    And though it’s arguably one of the most important jobs on the planet – the maintaining of new, and hopefully functional, kind, and creative humans – it’s just a particularly thankless, underappreciated job.
    Yet, there are some periodic bonuses: sweet chubby cheeked kisses, toddler snuggles, lovely drawings with MOM scrawled across the top, spousal recognitions of job well done, strangers’ comments on how "well behaved" your children are, watching your kids achieve their own independence or success – it's enough to keep going at it each day.


    (Appreciation from my 6yo - note that it says love-together-peace-life. Man, she's awesome!)


    5) Parenting can be boring. Like glassy-eyed staring at the ceiling (or the clock counting the hours ‘til bedtime) oh my goodness when will the repetition end kind of boring. Babies are incredibly adorable, and… they don’t do anything (but they sure need a lot) – thankfully they have the big eyes and chubby thighs going for them. Toddlers are sweet as pie, and… they want to read the same book. Over. And over. It’s kind of like that knock knock joke your preschooler memorized that was really funny the first time, but not so funny the eleventy-billionth time she told it.  Boredom is just part of the deal. On the upside, this has made me more creative – both in my kid-and-adult-centered-activity-planning (i.e. finding things that can be interesting to both me AND my kids) and in my clandestine escapism (i.e. learning to tweet whilst doing the dishes), AND more able to slow down & appreciate the boring... because my children's childhood goes far too quickly.

    6) Parenting makes you tired. Bone tired. To the core. No matter that your kids are sleeping through the night or not – by that time your ability to sleep normally yourself has been so altered that you can’t sleep anyhow. No matter if your kids are older – then you’re staying up to make sure they come back home safely at night. Parenting is synonymous with exhaustion. When you go to bed at night you fall into bed. It’s a tired more deep than a day’s hike with a heavy backpack or International travel. Of course, you learn to live with it, you adjust, your kids start sleeping better, you start sleeping better… but the sleep of the parent is never the same as the sleep of the non-parent. Perhaps the good from this is how amazing a morning to myself is – sleeping in while Adam makes breakfast and plays with the children – those two extra hours of sleep never felt so good.

    7) Parenting is huge. Even when you don’t want it to be; it is everything. You are in charge – whether you want to be or not and whether your children “fail” or “succeed” – you are to blame. You make the choices, you carry the burdens. You select your children’s method of birth (or sometimes it selects you, no matter how much you prepared), your children’s method of feeding, schooling, discipline, experiences, etc. etc., and however it works out – or doesn’t – falls on you. The responsibility (as unfair as it may be since we all know nurture – or is it nature? – isn’t everything in how a child turns out. ) can be overwhelming.  It can also be liberating – realizing, as much as we want our children to be a certain way – as much as we try and succeed, or fail – our children are going to be who they are; they are resilient and amazing, in spite of us.

    Of course, the unspoken rules of parenting aren’t all negatives. There are some positives that I wasn’t told, either. Like:

    8) Watching your child figure something out is awe-inspiring. Whether it be learning to speak, crawl, walk, stack blocks, multiply, write in cursive, ride a bike… Just observing your child learn, and develop skills – particularly ones that you weren’t even directly involved in teaching – is absolutely and endlessly fascinating.  
     
    9) You will feel more love than you've ever felt or ever know what to do with. If you thought you loved your spouse, or your dog, or your mother... you didn't really know how deep love could be until you held a tiny baby, drifting off to sleep, who’s clutching tight to your finger in the silence of the middle of the night in the rocking chair. The smell of your baby's head is the most delicious aroma you've ever experienced and stirs a fondness so strong and lasting and bonding… the love of a parent for a child is infinite.

    So, did I leave anything out? What’s the most amazing – or challenging – thing you’ve discovered about parenting?

    Posted: Jan 10 2011, 15:04 by kelly | Comments (13) RSS comment feed |
    • Currently 0/5 Stars.
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    Filed under: Children | Parenting

    New Year Musings





    Every man regards his own life as the New Year's Eve of time.
    ~Jean Paul

    The end of the year is unusual, how it makes you think about time. Of course, we’re always thinking about time – how much we have of it, how much more we wish we had. But on December 31st, the way I think of time changes. Every other day of the year I think of in terms of 24 hours… actually, more like 18 hours – the time when I’m awake in a day (a day of when do I set my alarm to wake, when do my children wake, when do they go to school, and I to work, how many things can I check off my list in my day before picking my children up from school, what projects can we finish or how many games can we play in the time before I have to start preparing dinner, what activities can fill the time before bed, do I have enough time to write while Adam bathes the kids, I can’t believe it’s getting so late and the children aren’t asleep yet, should we work on finishing a project, or should we read or watch a movie and relax and would you look at the time, I’m only going to get 5 hours of sleep tonight… before waking up and doing it all over again. And again).

    But then comes New Year’s Eve. The one day in the year that carries a definitive end point – and not just the end of a day or a month, but the end of a year and, for this year – of a decade. Time on New Year’s Eve becomes less of a loop, and more of an explicit period. This year. Next year. What have you done all year? All decade? What will you do next? It’s a time for both reflection and renewal.


    (Source: Flikr  Artist: Robbert van der Steeg) 

     

    Today we spent cleaning, organizing, and finishing projects not completed. And, as the day draws to a close, we have come to the realization that we tend to do this every year – without really planning: we just fall naturally into completing things left undone, tackling jobs left “til tomorrow”, and at the same time, thinking about big things to come. New Year’s Eve is just another day, and yet, the promise of a new year – a new start is so tangible, it motivates us to tie up loose ends and look excitingly ahead to the future. It’s a time to make amends with things unsettled in your mind, reflect on the good events, dust old cobwebs – real and figurative, and muse about what lies ahead.

    I’ve made New Year’s Resolutions in the past. But this year, instead of a numbered list of things I resolve to achieve I’ve decided instead to think of things I’m most thankful for in this year, and what promising thoughts and hopes are on the horizon of my 2011:

     

    ~ I’m grateful for my children – their beauty and brilliance and their very being is my constant reminder to try harder and reach further.

    ~ I’m thankful for my husband – his steadfast commitment to happiness and peacefulness in our relationship and connection with our children along with his passion for his work and self-betterment is inspiring.

    ~ I’m grateful for my blog – it’s helped me rediscover my passion for writing  – which had been somewhat lost and shuffled to the bottom of the pile of things to do throughout my life, but is now making it’s way back forefront.

    ~ I’m thankful for my readers, twitter followers, and facebook friends – knowing people read what I write helps motivate me to keep writing.


    (Three of us watching the countdown to the new year. The 4th of us was sleeping.) 

    I strive this year to stay positive, be more peaceful and forgiving, and reach towards the me that my children already see – with their clear, unbiased, and unconditionally loving eyes.

    And, I hope for peace and satisfaction and health for everyone in the new year. Happy 2011!

    Posted: Dec 31 2010, 21:20 by kelly | Comments (2) RSS comment feed |
    • Currently 0/5 Stars.
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5

    Have a Magical Day





    Enjoy the views from our trip to Walt Disney World.... And, "Have a Magical Day!"

    Posted: Oct 13 2010, 17:30 by kelly | Comments (2) RSS comment feed |
    • Currently 0/5 Stars.
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5

    Hiking With Children





    We went hiking this weekend for Mother’s Day. It was the first real, long hike we’ve taken A.C. (after children); and Adam and I used to hike and backpack quite a bit B.C. (before children). We were super-excited, and at the same time, not quite sure how it would play out. Truth be told, it ended up as the perfect trip; I couldn’t have planned a better Mother’s Day if I’d tried. The children had a blast - they are naturals in the outdoors! And Adam and I rekindled our love of hiking. Can't wait to plan the next trip - even thinking of trying a backpacking/camping hike next time!

    The hike we chose this past weekend was in the Delaware Water Gap national recreation area in Northern New Jersey/Pennsylvania. It’s positively beautiful in that area (yes, New Jersey!) – breathtaking views, fresh air, even wild blueberries (though of course not yet in season). The weather on Sunday was nearly perfect – mid-60’s in the sun. It was delightfully cool for hiking with a pack (or child) on your back, though a bit chilly for the children, who didn’t have packs, so it kept us all moving. The coolness and breeze also kept the bugs at bay, which was a blessing.

    We hiked a circuit trail up/down Mt. Tammany. The whole hike was approximately 2.5mi, with an elevation gain of 1,200ft – I’d call it a moderate hike in difficulty. It had varied terrain – a bit flat, most rocky, some small boulders, some gravel. It’s a very clearly marked (blazed) trail, and well maintained. Perhaps best of all, the trail was sparsely populated, even for a holiday weekend, which allowed us the freedom to move at our own pace – taking in the sights and sounds of nature, relatively uninterrupted.

    We chose to hike the trail in “reverse” – starting at the Appalachian Trail which is a bit less steep at the beginning, crossing the cascading Dunfield Brook, transferring to the “blue dot” trail, and descending on the “red dot” trail. All told, with several brief rests on the ascent, a half hour stop at the top for lunch, a short tantrum, and a sleeping toddler strapped to my back for the descent, it took us a bit less than four hours. With a 2 year old and 5 year old, on moderately difficult terrain, I call that a huge success.

    For more information on the Mount Tammany hike, here are a few good links:

    http://delawarewatergap.org/MountTammany.aspx

    http://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail.aspx?trailid=HGN141-001

    http://www.purdes.com/njhiking/tammany/index.html

     

    Along the way, we enjoyed beautiful overlooks, streams, birds, new spring growth, and the peace and inner focus that I’ve only ever found with exertive backwoods hiking. We even picked up few cans left behind by less-than-conscientious previous hikers (pack it in, pack it out, folks!).

    I rediscovered my love of hiking on this trip. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed it just as much as I remembered it B.C., and perhaps even more as viewed within the new, innocent perspective of my children – who just happen to be natural hikers and gentle embracers of the beauty of nature. What a blessing to realize that we could share something we enjoyed so much, with our kids – and find that they really enjoy it too. We're really looking forward to our next trip!

    We managed to capture some of the sights along the way with our iPhones (the joys of modern technology). Enjoy!

    Posted: May 12 2010, 00:29 by kelly | Comments (7) RSS comment feed |
    • Currently 0/5 Stars.
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    Filed under: Children | Family Time | Outdoors | Travel