Are we showing our kids a better alternative?-Noa’s Freestyle Friday

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As I reflect on all the children I met on my tour of Spirituality for Kids programs in Colombia and Peru last week, I am struck by how all children, from the poorest to richest, face similar internal challenges. Yes, the life of a poor child can seem to be very different from the life of a rich child, but in essence they are all vulnerable to the same major risks and share the same essential needs.

I see three main risks facing all of our children today. Being conscious of these risks can help us rethink how we interact with our children.

1. The risk of associating power with negativity

Through media and/or real life, kids today are witnessing gang and gun violence, bullying, political and corporate corruption, terrorism, wars, etc. Negativity draws all the attention, and it seems that being powerful and strong goes hand in hand with being “bad.”

When I looked at the eyes of the 8-year-old children in Lima, all I saw was pure Light. Then I thought to myself, “When does this Light get covered by fear, anger, and distrust? And how can we prevent that?”

As parents, we need to ask ourselves: Are we showing our kids a better alternative? Do we believe that our Light is more powerful than our Opponent? Are we helping our kids own their power with love and kindness?

2. The risk of not knowing how to deal with their emotions

How many times do we tell our kids to stop hitting, stop teasing, stop cheating, etc? We are focused on correcting our children’s behavior, but what tools are we providing them with to be successful in dealing with their emotions?

We all have strong negative and reactive emotions at times. Those feelings are valid and even necessary. But the real power lies in the ability to stop before I act and control my next move.

All children need to learn the difference between a reactive feeling and a reactive behavior, with the addition of a helping hand, not a punishing one, to gain the strength to resist.

3. The risk of not being able to overcome challenges

It is hard as parents to see our kids in pain, which is why we constantly try to prevent and save them from challenges. Doing so creates the same result as when we have fever and take a fever reducer – our body stops fighting the fever. We enable our children while taking away their need to fight and their ability to overcome.

And what about the kids who see their parents handling their challenges with violence, drugs, alcohol or depression? Are they being shown how to treat challenges as opportunities?

There are so many steps that we can take as adults to help our children, and we have explored various ones in many of our previous blog posts. But the first step is being aware of these risks the next time we interact with our children at home or in the classroom. The biggest risk of all is when we don’t step up to be their role model.

 written by Michal Berg
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Mommy, what happened!?

It’s 6:13 AM, and I can barely open an eye. Little’s doing his I’m-about-to-wake-up stretches. I hold my breath, hoping with every fiber of my being that if I don’t move, he’ll magically fall asleep. Fat chance. He abruptly sits up, looks at me with his sweet brown eyes, looking quite refreshed actually, ‘Mommy, over dehr!’ He points to the living room. This means he wants to play.
‘One more minute,’ I whisper.

‘No!’

‘Please.’

‘No!’

‘I’ll be your best friend.’

‘No!’

‘I can’t move.’

‘No!’

Like that ever works. I sit up, too fast. As I wait for the dizziness to pass, Little examines my face.
‘Mommy, what happened?’

‘I sat up too quickly and blood rushed to my head. I’m waiting it out.’

‘Mommy, what happened?’

‘My head is spinning a little, but I’m fine’

‘Mommy, what happened?’

‘I got an ouchie, but I’m ok’

‘Mommy, what happened?’

‘Someone woke me up at 6 AM’

‘Mommy, what happened?’

‘A unicorn came by and took my phone’

He seems good with this one. This is hubby and I’s favorite game. We go back and forth with Little, until he gets an answer that satisfies him and he no longer asks the same question. We like to guess which answer does it for him. First we start with the truth, then we embellish, and sometimes we just make something up for fun.
Little and I head over to the kitchen where I make his milk, and explain that it takes a short while to warm it. We are still working on this one. Toddlers never quite understand why they can’t have what they want at the immediate moment they want it. We sing the ABC’s to help with the wait. 

As he drinks his milk, I lay on the couch and actually fall asleep for two minutes. This is usually a seemingly inviting time for Little to jump on my head. 

When Little was around one, people would repeatedly tell us two is an increasingly more difficult age. I would get so angry, asking hubby why people are always so negative. Negative or not, they were right. Two is hard. So much going on in their little bodies. A lot of new information coming in on the daily, they don’t know how to control the intensity and shifting of feelings from happy to sad which happens in a matter of seconds. Their thoughts and feelings hit them so intensely, they battle between independence and comfort and security. It’s tough being little. Tougher than we, as adults could possibly understand.
But it’s tough on mommy’s and daddy’s too. Sometimes I’d love to drop to the floor, kicking and screaming. I imagine it would be a great release. Since that would be a little ridiculous I try to anticipate the feeling and take little breaks here and there. Whether it’s to go to the kitchen and grab a coffee or promising myself a treat or some “me” time when Little goes to bed. It helps. 
Or you just hang on to the little voice that sincerely says, ‘Tank yew, mommy. Olive you.’
Olive you too, buddy. 

Baby steps and this phase too shall soon pass,

Roxy

  

Who farted?-Noa’s Freestyle Friday

Many times you hear people talk about the advantages of breastfeeding. I wanted to write about some of the challenges that I, as a mother of 2 breastfed babies, face.

In one word, GAS! As much as it cracks me up to hear our lil girl waking up to a big fart (I know, I’m lame),it also saddens me that neither our son nor our baby girl got their dad’s resilient stomach. Why?

Because I’m sensitive to pretty much everything and my girl (and son when he was her tender age) is even more: some of the major ones I can’t have are: fruit at night, quinoa, sugar, ginger, garlic, raw spinach, dairy, gluten, legumes and the list goes on and on., so when I’m uncomfortable my lil one is uncomfortable. REALY uncomfortable and that translates into this heart breaking painful cry that’s resolved only by laying her down on her tummy, putting some infant probiotic on my nipples for her to feed and putting a drop of Arak on her shirt and pressing against her belly. I take probiotics every day and avoid going to restaurants where I don’t really know what they put in my food.

The upside? The baby weight is coming off. Fast. (woohoo)

The downside? I’ve turned into an unsocial, restaurant snob that can’t eat out.

I’ll take it. And I know that soon her digestive system will mature and be able to handle this mama eating out every now and then.

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To our kiddos,

Noa

My Breast Ran Away

My breast is playing hide and seek. Except I’ve been seeking and I’m pretty sure it just said, “Fuck it” and ran off. I’m sure a handful of you mamas out there feel the same. I really hope so. Not because I want you to have lopsided boobs but because I’d really like to laugh with you.

I was super excited to get some voluptuous breasts while pregnant. Like, super excited. I’ve always been considered “flat”. I’m not offended by the term. Not that I think people should be calling each other names based on their body parts, but I fully accepted the size of my breasts. As a sprinter and athlete, it worked in my favor. I also could wear super low shirts with pretty lace bras and not look provocative. At least I liked to think so. Then pregnancy hit, you ladies know what I’m talking about!! You small breasted beauties definitely know the feeling of, “Damn, girls!!”.

Then baby came along, and the milk kicked in. I didn’t think I could be more impressed by my breasts. I soon realized “impressed” could be taken two ways. Negatively impressed and positively impressed. When my milk first “let down”, I was impressed. Impressed at the pins and needles that filled my breasts as the milk squirted out. Impressed, when I got mastitis for the first time and fell sick to my knees. How could breasts make you so sick? How could the production of milk make you so sick?

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Then months pass, months and months pass of you feeding your little precious boy or girl. So sweet. Until one breast says to the other, “You got this girl? I’m out.” Either that or my daughter sucked my mammary gland out while nursing, or she’s leaned all her weight on it so much that my breast tissue has just dissolved into a million pieces and is gone. That’s right, my breast is gone. I’m aware that’s not plural. I’m totally cool with it. I look like two different people. And you guessed it, my nipple sizes match. I mean, don’t get me wrong there is not a five inch difference between my nipples or anything, but there is a slight difference, maybe a little more than slight. I would apologize for TMI (too much information) but I clearly don’t believe in that.

Luckily, my husband thinks I’m a babe with either size breasts, oh wait, I mean both size breasts. Now, I get the best of both worlds. Nice and full and oh so flat. The issue isn’t the size, it’s more so of finding bras and bathing suits that fit. Either one nipple hangs out or one side slides off. I love a good challenge. Who knows, maybe our next little boob sucker will favor my itty-bitty-titty and even things out.

Cheers to breasts of all sizes,

Raffaella

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The haters will hate-Noa’s Freestyle Fridays

Why do people show more empathy when you tell them you had a difficult labor or when you tell them you’re having a hard time being pregnant or that you’re post birth recovery is challenging… Why can’t the same people be happy for you when you tell them the truth and the truth is I had an amazing time being pregnant, despite being sick and being connected to IV’s almost all the way through. I had an amazing time giving birth to our little girl despite the painful contractions and the ‘back labor’ and I’m having an amazing time being sleep deprived, food deprived and juggling being a working mother of two. Why? Because life is Yin and yang, push and pull and you don’t get the good without (what seems like) the bad.

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My mom is a smart woman and she says that when she shares something with her girlfriends she always makes sure to ‘spice’ it up a bit and so she lies about something being bad in her life. I told her its crazy that she needs to find new friends. Now I see she might have been right.

I’m so thankful for every challenge and blessing life has presented us with and I am going to let the haters keep on hating. I don’t care, and if you want a sob story don’t come ask me how I feel, because l will always look at life a bit differently and I’ll always tell you how things are FOR ME.

 

 

Shabbat Shalom,

Much love to the mamas, papas and kiddos,

Noa

You yell, I yell.

Today was shitty. Straight up, shitty.

Little Kanga is on a streak! She is hollering at everything that catches her eye. She sees it, she wants it, in her hand—immediately. If she doesn’t get it she yells even louder, and if she doesn’t get it in her hand—immediately, she cries. The girl has found her voice and is using it like crazy! Whilst yelling at me all morning, she pulls out every little thing off the shelves, out of the cupboards, out of the recycling bin, closet, every single thing in the house, on the ground. On most days it makes me happy. It makes me happy to know she is so active and curious, vocal, healthy and happy. I usually could give two shits about the mess on the ground. Today, not so much. Today I wanted to yell with her. I wanted to walk out of the house yell to the world then curl up in a ball and cuddle with my babe. I wanted to cuddle all day and not do a damn thing. But with a little one year old in the house, those cute little cuddles are not happening. Just madness and irritability because surprise, surprise, some health issues have arisen, again.

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We are eleven weeks pregnant with our second babe and this Mama’s body is feeling the stress. I am still nursing my daughter in the evening while growing a babe and it’s a lot of energy out. I am 26 years old and my body has already gone through a good amount. From hormone imbalances, gut dysbiosis, constant urinary tract infections, kidney infections, rashes, the freaking list goes on.

So, today I went to the doctor to try and find some answers to what was going on this time around. To add to my discomfort, our insurance was giving us trouble, again. After sitting in the doctors office, texting my husband while he’s on the phone with the insurance company, and going back and forth with the biller, I got up and walked out full of frustration. I wanted to cry and couldn’t. For whatever reason, I couldn’t just let out a good cry. After being told insurance wouldn’t cover the prescription or a procedure the doctor wanted to do, I still didn’t cry. Just wanted to curl up in that ball and take a break for a little.

I met up with my husband to pick up our girl and the craziness ensued. Kanga is growing up and she is growing up loud, proud and in charge. Holy shit. It’s amazing and maddening all at the same time. We went home and she yelled, she cried, and yelled some more. Kanga yelled, fought sleep, yelled, cried, then passed out. She then woke up from her nap yelling. A little side note, I still didn’t cry. I am super proud and completely confused  as to why I haven’t, yet. I didn’t know what to do. I have been frustrated all day, for so many reasons and wasn’t sure how to handle it.

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I filled the tub, dumped a few toys in it, grabbed my girl and we took a bath together. We played and laughed, we splashed and then Kanga leaned on me and tucked her head between my arm and my breast and laid there. And in that moment she saved me. We sat in the tub for a while and just hung out. We finally calmed down. The both of us cooled off. I could feel both of our frustration flying away. And in that moment I laughed. No matter what age, we are all going through something. Her little mind, body, and soul are growing so fast. She doesn’t have the words to express the feelings, which means I can’t give her what she wants or needs as quickly as she may need it. There is a lot on my plate but she doesn’t know that. She feels my frustration, she sees my facial expressions and can read my body language but she doesn’t know what is going on.

As frustrated as we get and as much as we want to yell, grab and shake something, tear the house up, as angry and upset as we are that we are unable to achieve or reach something we want, we desperately need each other. As much as my daughter drives me fucking bonkers, she saves me on a daily basis. Her laughs, her love, her genuine kindness, curiosity, and fierceness saves me.

And the first tear comes streaming down.

Cheers Mamas, to our health and our children.

As they say this isn’t easy but it is so damn worth it.

Raffaella

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Please don’t call my child a picky eater

It took awhile, but we’re finally getting somewhere. Little is actually eating real food on a continual basis. Not just pretzels. Not just Apple Crushers. Not just Cheerios. Real food, friends. I wanted to share some things that worked for us, and hopefully will work for any struggling parents. Firstly, read this, ‘Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating.’ Awesome book on educating parents/caregivers on the reasons behind struggling eaters. I picked up a handful of ideas from this book, then implemented some of my own. A lot of trial and error. But, I’m feeling good about where we are. 

I started a routine; Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner. I tried not to waiver too much from this, but adjusted the timing when I needed to. For each meal I put three to four options, including a ‘safe food.’ The book discusses the importance of a ‘safe food’ quite a bit. A ‘safe food’ is basically an item that your child will eat no matter what. For Little it was corn or peas. So either of those was served with just about every meal, so that something familiar and comforting was always on his plate. 

According to the book, Kids often feel a great deal of pressure to eat. Pressure increases anxiety and decreases appetite. It makes kids like food less. Even praise and acknowledgement is considered as pressure, because they may feel that if they don’t eat their food tomorrow, they are failing you.

So we cut out all praise, any conversation about food…we completely stopped. I’m not going to lie, This was actually really difficult for me. I didn’t realize how food-centered our conversations were. In the beginning, I had no idea what else to say. The book actually lists things you can talk about with your child while eating, because apparently a lot of parents struggle with this. Sometimes, we wouldn’t even talk to him while eating, and I’d notice that he’d venture out and try different items on his plate. Why? No one was hounding him, bribing him with dessert, asking him why he wasn’t eating, telling him what to do, or forcing a bite into his mouth. No anxiety.

I tried to focus on my job; what he eats, and when he eats. That’s it. How much he eats, is up to him. This took the pressure off of myself too. So at the end of the meal, when he would get up from the table with his food almost untouched, I told myself that my job was done, and that hopefully the next meal would go better. 

And it did. Some days are a lot better than others, but I’ve just accepted that it is what it is. Not everyday will be a success. To me, success is the fact that Little demands almond butter in his oatmeal now. And he’s obsessed with cashews, and cucumbers. I would have never thought I could say that a few months ago. 

The toughest part of of this process has been explaining the plan to others. Some people think I’m crazy. Some people think I’m over-doing it. Some people just don’t get it. How is it possible that I try not to say one food-related thing to him, other than are you all done or do you want more? How is it that I don’t constantly ask him to eat his chicken? Why is it that I don’t want people constantly commenting that he’s a good eater or bad eater? Why am I ok with him not touching his food, and not encouraging him to eat? Why don’t I promise him dessert so he eats his food?

Million dollar answer, because I know my kid. As soon as I say anything about his food, he will start playing with it and eventually throw it. When he hears people talking about how much or how little he eats, his ears perk up and to a certain extent his attitude changes. Once I promise that dessert, he will stop eating his food. 

I’m not saying I’m perfect, I’ve made a lot of mistakes myself, it’s a learning process. For any parent who struggles with their child’s eating, they can empathize with how stressful and frustrating something as seemingly simple as food intake can be. But fortunately if you stick to what feels right for your child no matter what kind of feedback you get, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Baby steps, and courage,
Roxy