Monday, September 30, 2013

Purposeful Blogging: Your past shapes your future (week 16)

Linking up with Mrs. to Mama and 52 Weeks of Blogging with a Purpose

My mom likes to remind me of how fiercely independent I was, even as a small child. I wasn't a "snuggler." I didn't want to be held or rocked. I wanted to do it on my own. This was something that was, in hindsight, mentioned on a regular basis, even now as an adult.

I remember watching my parents cuddle my younger sister and how badly I wanted to be cuddled. I don't mean to sound like my parents didn't hug or kiss me; they did but how "independent" I was stressed. I didn't know how to accept affection and I didn't know how to give affection.

The burden of independence was something that was, is, hard to move beyond. I felt like I let my parents down if I needed something from them or wanted reassurance. I was "so independent." This became even more pronounced during our first year in North Carolina.

In that first year, my brother was hit in the eye with a rock (thrown by the star high school pitcher) and needed to have surgery to remove a bone chip and my sister started having seizures. My parents split the medical appointment - my dad with my brother and his appointments and my mother with my sister and her appointments for a diagnosis. Thank goodness I was "independent."

I attended college about 2.5 hours away from home. My parents, if I recall correctly, visited my 3x. My dad had weekly lunch appointments with my brother who was at college in the same town where my dad worked. My sister stayed at home for her first 2 years and my dad dropped her off each morning on his way to work. When my brother went to grad school (near where I had attended for 2 years), my parents tried to visit him every other month or so. When my sister ended up at the same college as my brother attended to complete her bachelors and do her masters, they visited her every month. I had to get rides home for college breaks from friends.

I started dating someone in college who was a very bad fit for me but I was desperate for affection, hugs, cuddles, comfort. I put up with what I now recognize was abusive behavior -belittling comments,discouragement to be my best, do my best, second to him. My mother was impressed that I was dating him, as she asked if I was a lesbian during my freshman Christmas Break, I think that she was relieved I was dating anyone. Funnily, I thought that I was treated shabbily but my parents seemed so encouraging that I doubted myself. Years later, a friend said she always thought that first boyfriend was a jerk and wondered why my parents seemed to like him so much. I eventually asked my parents about it and they said that I seemed so happy and they didn't want to interfere.

Please interfere in your children's life to let them know when you are concerned about a partner. I cannot stress this enough.

I felt trapped because I wanted to have the relationship end but I didn't know how and I was worried that my parents would be disappointed. I didn't know how to ask for help. I was "independent." Eventually the relationship ended, after I made a terrible decision to leave the college I loved to pursue someone I didn't love but felt the need to "prove my love" and be needed. The relationship ended poorly. I felt like a failure.  I called my parents to cry and they said I would be fine. I was "independent."

It look me years. Literally years to be ready to be willing date again. It took even longer to bring my barriers down and be emotionally available. Sounds corny I know. My husband had to teach me to be held. To accept touch. To be affectionate. I still struggle with this need. 

I struggle to give up my independence and let my husband do things for me. It is really hard for ask him for help. To be vulnerable. To show him that I need him.  Each day I have to reassure myself that it is ok to need someone. To need a hug. To let myself trust.

I didn't have a bad childhood. I have 2 loving parents who supported and encouraged me. I was just determined to be "independent" and I was never able to escape that label.

Friday, September 27, 2013

7 Takes, 2013.28

Joining Jen at Conversion Diary!

1. Hannabert had his first "playdate" last night. I met a co-worker and her family at Fort Liberty which is about the neatest wooden play structure that I have ever seen even if you can easily lose a child and with 3 adults, we still lost them occasionally.

2. I was running late due to a last minute research inquiry. Luckily our fabulous daycare providers decided to feed Hannabert a meal of spaghetti (which apparently he "helped" make) so that was a huge relief. They are fabulous people.

3. When I arrived at the playland, all of the kids playing all had swords. Apparently a dad brought a treasure chest of swords (and a few tasers) and a cooler full of ice cream.  What was pretty cool and all all the kids seemed to enjoy running around the structure and playing whatever game it is that they were playing. I am sure it was complicated. They let all the kids play even though Hannabert was about 1/3 of their age.

4. It was great to talk to another mom IRL who has works where I work but in an entirely different capacity and to get some professional career development ideas. As in what degree should I pursue and where.

5. Hannabert had an absolute blast playing with her sons! He didn't want to leave even though it was dark.  The next time we meet up, I think that I will bring some glow-n-the-dark stuff because that would have been pretty neat.  Speaking of that, I popped some glow sticks last night. I forgot to warn daycare that Hannabert might have some glow in the dark diapers today. 

6. Changing subjects, my mom is retiring from Head Start after 20 years of service. She was the transition coordinator, literacy coordinator, ran the resource library, and has had a host of other tasks assigned to her. Her job had to be split between 3 people now that she is retiring. 

7. Final, please keep my grandmother in your thoughts. She was hospitalized the other day (and apparently wasn't planning on telling anyone but a neighbor saw the ambulance in the driveway and called one of my aunts) for dizziness and just feeling "off." Horn and I are trying to figure out a way up there soon.

First tree climb...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Letter to 16 year old Me...Week 15


Dear Me:

Change.  It will be a sore point that  you couldn't post-secondary op into college because you moved out of state. AP classes will make up for it...not really although they do allow you to start school with 12 credits completed. You have a great group of people that you hang out with on weekends...always at your house. 3 of the couples will marry and start families.  You will still smile every time you think of your first driver's ed class when Heather C. turned to sharply and drove on the wrong side of the street.  Into oncoming traffic.

Trust.  It will take you an very long time to trust you instincts. In fact, you are STILL figuring out how to trust yourself. Practice makes perfect. Please keep trying. Don't give up. It will take you a while to really bare your soul to Horn. Best decision - your weekend pre-cana retreat. You didn't "need" it but man, it was fantastic to go.

Love Lost.  You will think you are in love when you meet your first "real" boyfriend in college but you aren't; you just want to see what the fuss is about dating. You stubbornly convince yourself that your love will require you to leave your first college. He isn't your love. His mom will tip you off that he is planning on proposing. You realize that you don't love him, you loved the idea of being in love. You are quite relieved when he moves to Alabama...even though you board with him family as you finish out your degree.

Decision Making.  Oh, you will make some poor decisions. Frankly, just to make poor decisions. I wish I could reach back in time and tell you that you don't need anyone else to affirm your self worth. You are worthy.

Motivation.  I wish I could tell you that to keep trying. Don't stop because you know you can accomplish something, keep accomplishing. All too often you know that you can, so you stop. College and law school would have been much much better if you kept trying harder and harder. 

Travel. You go to Europe. Once with a group from Roxboro and once with University of Dayton. Two entirely different experience (with some overlap of places visited). Your only regret is not going sooner and not staying later. To celebrate graduation (and the beginning of bar prep), you and Horn go camping for the first time in the Smokies.  Mountains and streams and quite soothe your soul. You just need to be outside. It is too bad that it took a move to Ohio to really appreciate what was a few hours away.

Love Gained. You will meet your husband in law school.  You will spend the entire first semester thinking he is a skin head.  In your defense, he does look like a poster child for Aryan Nation (can't wait to see the google analytics on this...) with his bald head and piercing blue eyes. He is convinced that  your roommates tried to get him drunk on your first "date." He is right.You will take every law school class together for three years...even when  you break up so he can sort some things out. He gets you. He makes your feel safe. He helps create Hannabert. Oh, Hannabert will be just a joy! Such a delightful challenge. His "so, mama, what did you do today?" is the best question that can be asked after a trying day. They make your day complete. They make your day. They make each day more joyful.

 Keep going. Keep trusting yourself. Don't be afraid to embrace who you are. Love the people in your life. Don't spend it looking out. Enjoy the people with whom you spend time. Don't worry about with whom other spend their time. Embrace your life, your faith, and your family

There are lots of things I wish you would do differently. Choices that I can look back on wish I didn't make. I did things knowing that I would regret them. I wish I could say that some of those things made me who I am and I don't regret them but I do.  Sure, not all of them but there are moments that I wish I could wipe clean and that is ok.  It gives me a reference that I can share with my child(ren).  Choices are tough. They get tougher. Be who you are. Own yourself. You make choices. Sometimes you feel like you don't have a choice because you made up your mind once. You can change your mind. Each day is a new day to be a new you. 

Love, myself

Friday, September 20, 2013

7 Takes, 2013.27

Joining Jen at Conversion Diary.

1.  Last night started so well...Hannabert was in a fantastic mood and we blew bubbles with unspillable bubble bottles (purchased at KMart in the after summer sale - plus get $0.30 off per gallon at Speedway if I spend $50.00).  We then moved onto "riding" his bike (which lasted for 1.5 houses before he "can't do it."). The next activity was spraying chasing me around the yard while spraying me with a water bottle. When it was time to go it, he didn't make much of a fuss.  There was plenty of redirection of where it is appropriate to spray water inside of a house (sink, not floors).  After the water bottle "misfired" once too many times, he willingly gave it up and we started on supper.

2. Intrigued by Katrina's Five Favorites last week, I added the mac and cheese to our menu for the week (which I actually did MAKE everything on the menu but nothing was eaten except for the mac and cheese so everything else has been frozen) for last night (Thursday) because Horn teaches on Thursday nights and I have a love affair with mac and cheese and he doesn't appreciate my creative tendencies with it (no butter, add shredded cheese in addition to the powdered stuff). I completely ignored the instructions for the most part and it tasted great. We used shredded taco cheese, cooked the elbows with garlic salt, pepper, and some dry mustard, and added frozen veggies. Hannabert added the cheese so I am thinking about 3/4 of a larger bag of Aldi's Taco Shredded cheese.  Crazy good.  A break down on how it works:  The starch from the macaroni acts as flour would in a traditional bechamel sauce.  A bechamel sauce has equal parts flour to butter (makes a roux) and then you add milk product (depending on the recipe, anything from cream to skim) to loosen the sauce.

3. Hannabert thought that stirring the pot was a lot of fun and was a great help with throwing random things away for me (although he keeps forgetting that we moved the trashcan).  He also was excited to find spoons to use for us for dinner and requested that we used bowls.  He definitely watched as I dished out servings and made sure that I remembered to put some in my bowl.  Ever the eagle eye.

4. Because we still haven't unearthed the table and I didn't feel like eating ala fresco on our screened porch, we headed downstairs to the couch to watch Tanked! I am thinking Hannabert wasn't feeling so well as he didn't put in a request for anything else.  Soon, he was done eating and requested "baby on the chest" while we finished our episode.

5. Once the episode was done, he asked if we could snuggle upstairs and watch Gnomeo, which really made me think that he wasn't feeling so hot. I told we needed to change his pants (wearing a cloth trainer which was SOAKED as he didn't want to take it off) and since I needed to do laundry (multiple soaked cloth trainers and some mama cloth), we could just change and add everything to the washer.

Blanket 1 that was destroyed by the spilling of Hannabert's "beer" on Monday.  Formal tailgating for him by the way.
6. Unfortunately, I didn't notice that the hose from the washer wasn't as carefully placed in the tub to grain as it should have been.  Hannabert and I headed upstairs after starting a mega size load of trainer, diapers, and blankets (from our indoor tailgate) to snuggle and watch a movie before going to sleep. This never happens. He never wants to go to bed. Ever.

7. Upstairs, we decided the Nemo would be a better fit and Hannabert immediately snuggled into the bed. He even agreed to participate in bedtime prayers! Little did I know that as soon as Horn walked into the door, he would discover that the entire load of laundry had drained onto the floor and into the hallway. Unfortunately/Fortunately, the discovery was made prior to Hannabert actually falling asleep which meant that I couldn't jump into action to help.

So...Horn is presently picking out a water extraction group to make sure the basement is free from mold and water....


PS. Hannabert has a new Irish Colors!

Friday, September 13, 2013

7 Takes, 2013.2

Joining Jen at Conversion Diary

1.  My new shift started at work.  What? Didn't I just have a new shift? Why yes, yes I did.  For less than 10 weeks I was on a 10 to 630 M to F shift with trades on M to W for 2pm to 10pm due to teaching. We had a new shift bid and I am now 3p to Midnight T, 930a to 6p W to F, 11a to 7p Sat.  With teaching, I get exactly 1 day off a week.  Horn is really upset about Saturdays (good thing I can watch ND Football online) but the alternative was 12p to 830p and which him having to pick up Hannabert from daycare each night, that was approximately and additional 40 miles a day in driving so....

2. With the new shift change, out goes my chances of a Saturday afternoon Mass so we are back to the drawing board of finding a Sunday one....To be absolutely honest, Horn and I are having a hard time making attendance a priority.  We both feel like our week is better when we attend. I think that we keep letting little things get in the way (like the stomach thing we have had for the last 1.5 weeks). I find it frustrating but I don't know how to change it to the number one priority of the week.

3.  I had a cool kid in the backseat this morning....
about 10 seconds before he popped out one of he lenses

4.  In other priorities, we haven't made it a priority to go to the grocery store since we returned from camping. That most certainly needs to change but I figured I should have time to create a list and  a weekly menu on Saturdays at work...

5. This week was tough, I started my new schedule at the full-time job but still had to finish off the term at the school.  Luckily it went fairly smoothly.  I am concerned at how to motivate students to complete their work. That coupled with the pressure to make sure students don't drop out due to excessive absences, I am unsure how to progress. I provide a liberal homework policy, allow them to send them to me electronically, usually provide time in class to work on them...

6. Amber necklaces for teething.  In response to Grace's #3 - I too was suspect. All science seems to disagree with the benefits but we know own 6 so that we always can find one when the drooling and crankiness starts.  Plus, our son teethes for approximately 1 year before a tooth emerges. Only slightly exaggerating and amber necklaces were the only thing that made nights bearable.  As far as "he will choke because he has a necklace on," this is an American thing (like bland baby food and not co-sleeping). We actually included one in the gift for my sister's baby shower.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Reflections on 9-11

I kissed my son one more time  tonight because there are 2996 people who never had the chance to kiss a loved one just one more time.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Safety without baby proofing

Welcome to the September 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Staying Safe
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and tips about protecting our families. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama

Staying Safe (with Natural Parents - Carnival of Natural Parenting)

When Horn and I found out we were expecting Hannabert, I naturally started reading everything about safety. There are lists for infants, crawlers, toddlers, preschoolers, and I am sure that I can find a list on how to teenage proof your house.  In fact, I learned that there are COMPANIES and PEOPLE whose entire livelihood is babyproofing a home!

Then I thought about it. I didn't want to baby proof my home. I wanted Hannabert to enjoy our house as much as we did without us having to constantly be on the look-out for perceived danger rather than watching for real danger. We wanted him to come with us places. Places with people who might not have children.

That, and Horn and I  never really make baby proofing a priority. Sure, we registered for outlet covers and those things that prevent doors from slamming on small fingers but we only installed a few covers (my in-laws installed many more than us but didn't do any of the door latches). We did install a baby gate at the top of the stairs going into our basement and we did turn down the water temperature to a safe level.

We definitely didn't go overboard. We looked for real dangers and encouraged Hannabert to explore and to be safe in what he did.  We talked to him about the dangers of sticking his fingers or items into sockets. We talked about HOT when it came to stoves. I showed him steam and held his hands NEAR the heat so he knew what HOT was (NEAR not in hot water nor on a hot stove,. I swear he wasn't in danger).

Rather than yelling or panicking, we tried to redirect dangerous behaviors into safe ones. We demonstrate how things might hurt him. Yes, I will say it, we allow him to recieve bumps and bruises so that he know how injuries are caused (especially if we have warned him of a dangerous activity). 

An example of this was when we took him camping this weekend (complete with an open pit fire). We had two paths to our camp site: one was safe and covered in gravel and the other (shorter and more convenient route) was muddy and slippery. We had told him a number of time to use the rocks because it was safer. He chose to not use the rocks, fell down, and slid down a hill on his butt. Uncomfortable for him, a mess for us to clean-up, and he spent the rest of trip reminding us to use the rocks.

Sure, we struggle with hand holding on roads and parking lots. We have to frequently remind him of dangers but we know that we can take him places with us without having to be on constant guard.  Hannabert warns us when things are hot (or tries to move us back from things that he feels are hot). He tells us to watch out and warns us to be careful.  Hannabert (in large) understands dangers exist beyond a house full of latches, stops, and covers. We understand that we need to be present with him and help him understand dangers without having to keep him in a bubble.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon September 10 with all the carnival links.)
  • Stranger Danger — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her approach to the topic of "strangers" and why she prefers to avoid that word, instead opting to help her 4-year-old understand what sorts of contact with adults is appropriate and whom to seek help from should she ever need it.
  • We are the FDA — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger makes the case that when it comes to food and drugs, parents are necessarily both their kids' best proponent of healthy eating and defense against unsafe products.
  • You Can't Baby Proof Mother Nature — Nicole Lauren at Mama Mermaid shares how she tackles the challenges of safety when teaching her toddler about the outdoors.
  • Bike Safety With Kids — Christy at Eco Journey In the Burbs shares her tips for safe cycling with children in a guest post at Natural Parents Network.
  • Spidey Sense — Maud at Awfully Chipper used a playground visit gone awry to teach her children about trusting their instincts.
  • Watersustainablemum explains how she has used her love of canoeing to enable her children to be confident around water
  • Safety without baby proofing — Hannabert at Hannahandhorn talks about teaching safety rather than babyproofing.
  • Coming of Age: The Safety Net of Secure AttatchmentGentle Mama Moon reflects on her own experiences of entering young adulthood and in particular the risks that many young women/girls take as turbulent hormones coincide with insecurities and for some, loneliness — a deep longing for connection.
  • Mistakes You Might Be Makings With Car Seats — Car seats are complex, and Brittany at The Pistachio Project shares ways we might be using them improperly.
  • Could your child strangle on your window blinds? — One U.S. child a month strangles to death on a window blind cord — and it's not always the obvious cords that are the danger. Lauren at Hobo Mama sends a strong message to get rid of corded blinds, and take steps to keep your children safe.
  • Tips to Help Parents Quit Smoking (and Stay Quit) — Creating a safe, smoke-free home not only gives children a healthier childhood, it also helps them make healthier choices later in life, too. Dionna at Code Name: Mama (an ex-smoker herself) offers tips to parents struggling to quit smoking, and she'll be happy to be a source of support for anyone who needs it.
  • Gradually Expanding Range — Becca at The Earthling's Handbook explains how she is increasing the area in which her child can walk alone, a little bit at a time.
  • Safety Sense and Self Confidence — Do you hover? Are you overprotective? Erica at ChildOrganics discusses trusting your child's safety sense and how this helps your child develop self-confidence.
  • Staying Safe With Food Allergies and Intolerances — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is sharing how she taught her son about staying safe when it came to his food allergies.
  • Don't Touch That Baby!Crunchy Con Mom offers her 3 best tips for preventing unwanted touching of your baby.
  • Playground Wrangling: Handling Two Toddlers Heading in Opposite Directions — Megan at the Boho Mama shares her experience with keeping two busy toddlers safe on the playground (AKA, the Zone of Death) while also keeping her sanity.
  • Letting Go of "No" and Taking Chances — Mommy at Playing for Peace tries to accept the bumps, bruises and tears that come from letting her active and curious one-year-old explore the world and take chances.
  • Preventing Choking in Babies and Toddlers with Older Siblings — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now gives tips on preventing choking in babies and toddlers along with Montessori-inspired tips for preventing choking in babies and toddlers who have older siblings working with small objects.
  • Keeping Our Children Safe: A Community and National Priority — September has many days and weeks dedicated to issues of safety; however, none stir the emotions as does Patriot Day which honors those slain the terrorist attacks. Along with honoring the victims, safety officals want parents to be ready in the event of another disaster whether caused by terrorists or nature. Here are their top tips from Mary at Mary-andering Creatively.
  • A Complete Family: Merging Pets and Offspring — Ana at Panda & Ananaso shares the ground rules that she laid out for herself, her big brown dog, and later her baby to ensure a happy, safe, and complete family.
  • Be Brave — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about helping her kids learn to be brave so that they can stay safe, even when she's not around.
  • Catchy PhrasingMomma Jorje just shares one quick tip for helping kids learn about safety. She assures there are examples provided.
  • Know Your Kid — Alisha at Cinnamon&Sassfras refutes the idea that children are unpredictable.
  • Surprising car seat myths — Choosing a car seat is a big, important decision with lots of variables. But there are some ways to simplify it and make sure you have made the safest choice for your family. Megan at Mama Seeds shares how, plus some surprising myths that changed her approach to car seats completely!
  • I Never Tell My Kids To Be Careful — Kim is Raising Babes, Naturally, by staying present and avoiding the phrase "be careful!"

Friday, September 06, 2013

7 Takes, 2013.25

With Jen at Conversion Diary!

1. We took Hannabert camping. It poured 3 out of 4 nights. Listen below

2.  We actually had a blast. Especially when we decided the best way to travel was putting him here:

and (when we let him into the car) muffling him like this

3. I loved not showering for about 4 days. We all enjoyed it. I told Horn it must mean we love each other because even after 4 days of 80+ degrees and hiking each day, I still didn't think he smelled.

4. We almost ran out of gas on the way to Catalooche (taking rural Hwy. 32 - 28 miles of dirt and minimal civilizations). Worth it to see this

5. We had a picnic at one of the historical buildings. Hannabert thought that the house was his and offered guided tours to a set of visitors from Arkansas. What amazed us was that hit was built around the same time as our old rental house....and in much much much better condition.

6.  We broke in a new tent on this trip. 14x9 - larger than some of the bedrooms we saw during our house search. It has two rooms and more than comfortably fit a queen size mattress and a twin mattress. We could STAND to get dressed!

7. Per tradition, our regular shot at NewFound Gap

Bonus picture
You can BARELY see this (thanks camera moisture a la #1) but Hannabert has 2 specs of dirt just above his toe knuckle. He thought it looked like a smiley face.

See enhanced