Sunday, September 30, 2007

Goodnight, My Angel

Goodnight, my angel

Time to close your eyes

And save these questions for another day

I think I know what you've been asking me

I think you know what I've been trying to say

I promised I would never leave you

And you should always know

Wherever you may go

No matter where you are

I never will be far away

Goodnight, my angel

Now it's time to sleep

And still so many things I want to say

Remember all the songs you sang for me

When we went sailing on an emerald bay

And like a boat out on the ocean

I'm rocking you to sleep

The water's dark and deep

Inside this ancient heart

You'll always be a part of me

Goodnight, my angel

Now it's time to dream

And dream how wonderful your life will be

Someday your child may cry

And if you sing this lullaby

Then in your heart

There will always be a part of me

Someday we'll all be gone

But lullabies go on and on...

They never die

That's how you

And I

Will be

(c) Billy Joel
He left today. I sat down after saying goodbye and watched him slowly disappear. I was smiling and crying at the same time. I can't help but smile when I think of him even though I was upset about the weekend coming to an end and about a certain situation that caused a bit of tension during his visit.

I was sitting there imagining that he would come running back to hold me again one last time. I was hoping that his plane would be canceled so he would have no choice but to stay one more night.

I stayed at the airport for a while, waiting for his plane to leave and waiting a few minutes afterwards, daydreaming about him changing his mind about getting on the plane at all.

LastMinuteTravel.com

My imagination works overtime lately. I find myself wondering what life would be like if I had the freedom to move or pick up and go whenever and wherever.

I am torn between my role as mom and just being me. The Mom in me focuses primarily on my son, wanting what's best for him and working hard to create a life for us.
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The single woman in me focuses on me and wanting to create a life in which I can be satisfied and loved and making a life with someone who is equally focused on our mutual needs, wants and desires.

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My life has taken me in a direction that I never expected. Here I am, thousands of miles away from the people I care deeply about and I find that I'm always missing someone. I know now how my son must feel pretty much all of the time. If he's with me, he misses Dad. If he's with Dad, he misses Mom.

I feel so guilty for putting him in this situation. At the same time, I know I didn't really have a choice. My instincts kicked in when I hit rock bottom and I realize now that things had to change in order to establish a healthy environment for my son.

After fully healing, I finally recognize the strength I had in order to crawl out from the darkness.

I'm happier and healthier (emotionally) than I've ever been and I now have so much to look forward to. Everyone needs that. It's what keeps us going, the future, and I'm excited about mine.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Impulse Buyer

A while back, my son and I had a discussion before heading to the grocery store about not coming back home with a new toy. We both got into the car voluntarily, knowing that our agreement was that we could only look at the toys and that there was a possibility of our purchasing something on our next trip to the store.

Halfway down the toy aisle (When did it become necessary to have a toy section within the grocery store?), I noticed a pink metal container with what appeared to be a set of dice on the cover of the box. It said BUNCO in big, pink letters and so I picked it up.



Immediately, my son looked at me and said, "Mom, put that back. We're only looking." I couldn't help but laugh as he repeated a phrase that I have found myself saying time and time again. But it worked. I put the box back on the shelf and enjoyed watching my son decide, after much deliberation, what toy he was going to buy next time.

We spent a long time in that aisle, probably much longer than we would have if he actually was able to purchase something. Luckily, he has not inherited my shopping habits (at least not yet).

I'm what they refer to as an impulse buyer. When I'm standing behind someone in line, I almost always add something, last minute, to the purchase.

I am trying to become a much more sensible shopper these days and I think I learned something from my son that day. Knowing the dollar amount that he's typically able to spend on a toy, he realizes rather quickly that the bigger toys are out of the question and continues to pick up the smaller boxes from the shelves.

In my case, however, the smaller the box, the higher the price tag usually is so maybe that technique won't quite work for me, after all.

Still, I enjoy shopping with my son. Yes, I said it. I enjoy shopping with my son. I didn't always, though.

It wasn't until I took the RCB course myself that I learned the most valuable lesson of all. There are 4 Goals of Misbehavior (Attention, Power, Revenge, Avoidance). When a child behaves in such a way that makes a parent want to react (in whatever way), it is the child's attempt at trying to have a particular need met.

My son is spoiled now that he has me all to himself since the little time I do have with him, I of course give him 100% of my attention. It's nice knowing that my son needs, wants and craves my attention. We've all heard about plants and flowers that thrive when people talk or sing to them, right?

I see other parents shopping with their little ones and talking on their cell phone or not allowing their child to participate in any way and it irritates me. Having a child around is so much fun, although certainly challenging at times, but I look at everything I do with my child, whether it be shopping, eating dinner, trying to get out of the house, or helping him put away his toys, as an adventure, a game of sorts.

I lost my train of thought here and what my point was in posting this. Regardless, I'm off to go get some much-needed attention and to share my love and attention with my son. It's the best part of my day.

Perhaps maybe we'll make a surprise visit to the toy section when I pick him up from school. After all, he did inherit my love of shopping.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Long-Distance Relationships

I went to Vegas in March of this year to celebrate several life-changing events with some close friends. Although I've seen them separately on different occasions, the five of us girls had not all been together for about ten years.

Times had changed for us, drastically. Four of the five of us had become mothers in that time, three of us had gotten married, two of us were separated from our husbands and one of us was, and still is, childless and never been married (she's also the smartest out of all of us).

We all went in different directions over the last decade and are now spread across the map. One of us went off and joined the Navy and bounced from WV to NC, MT, GA and ended up in Costa Rica (of all places). Two of the five of us graduated from college. One went on to graduate school and is now employed in a profession that she loves.

And then, there's me. I had a miscarriage, dropped out of college, moved to San Diego, bought my first car (used), got married, landed an awesome job, had my amazing son, bought my first new vehicle, and suddenly found myself adjusting to life as a single, working mom as my husband filed for divorce and moved out, in that order.
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I went to Vegas again in June with some girlfriends from San Diego. The one thing I never expected out of this quick weekend get-away was to meet someone who I would end up having a relationship with three months later who lives in a different state, a different time zone, on different schedules.

Technology has allowed for long-distance relationships to be possible since we are able to text, phone and email from just about anywhere. In this day and age when people are jumping into marriage and just as quickly trying to jump out, it only makes sense to distance yourself from those you care so deeply about.

As I mentioned already, my family and friends are scattered across the map. While I have connections here in San Diego, most of my loved ones are living in MN, WI, MT, TX, Costa Rica, NH, MD, CO, WV, FL, GA, Northern Ireland, and Northern California.

While I do love to travel, I don't enjoy missing the people I care about, but with work and the daily routine that makes the days whiz by, it's no wonder that we are able to enjoy the time we do have together, 100%. After all, it's quality, not quantity that matters when it comes to relationships and that's the secret most people don't discover until, perhaps, the second-time around.

I have, and will not ever, forget all of the people who have helped me get to where I am now - a place in my life where I finally feel comfortable and balanced, satisfied and proud of where my life is headed and sexier than I've ever felt before.


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Oh, and just in case I forgot to mention it, the March trip to Vegas celebrated several thirtieth birthdays, the birth of our children, the loss of our unborn, marriages, divorces and most importantly, the love of friends and family (they're one in the same).

And if it's another ten years until we are all together again, I know that it'll be the laughter that we will remember as we share the secrets we have learned from another decade of growing stronger and wiser.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Nature vs. Nurture

Much has been written and talked about regarding the memoir, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. I tried to avoid much of it before reading the book since I enjoy reading books fresh. In other words, books that I have no pre-conceived notions about, one way or another.

Having grown up in a family where addiction played a key role, this book struck a chord, although I certainly could not relate to much of the narrator's experiences, as my family was intact and had no visible signs of any dysfunctions, at least that I'm aware of.


Somehow the author / narrator steps outside of her unusual and unimaginable life and speaks about her experiences as if she was referring to someone else. I had to keep reminding myself that this was a memoir and not a work of fiction and that these were situations that were not created but recalled, and with such vivid detail.

There are four children in the Walls' family, all of whom turned out quite differently and whose experiences brought them to different places in their lives. Unfortunately, we only get to hear the perspective of one of them here and it is quite unlikely that the other three grown children remember the events the same way.

Since I studied psychology in college, I was intrigued by the notion that despite their upbringing, these children, with the exception of one who we hear little about as an adult, turn out as normally functioning members of our society. Educated, too.

It is quite apparent after reading this story that one does not need money or a plethora of material things to "make it" in the world. In fact, perhaps quite the opposite is true. Would the Walls' children learn the lessons they did if it weren't for their parents showing them and teaching them (without trying) that hard work and responsibility bring you certain advantages in life? After all, these children had to scrounge for their own food and learned to survive without their parents and in fact, spent many days and nights, most likely, worrying about them and taking care of them, both physically and emotionally.

These children saw their neighbors and classmates in a much different light. While people looked to her with pity, Jeannette sees others much differently than they see themselves and is inspired and motivated by simply wanting more, wanting to have enough and not go hungry.

One could argue that these children were neglected and that it would've been better for them to be removed from their home as children and brought into houses with warm food, warm beds and warm and loving 'parents.' One could also argue that being taken away from the only home and the only family they know could've done more harm than good.

This is quite an interesting and thought-provoking book and one that will most likely become required reading as it focuses on survival and reveals how young people today no longer rely on their instincts. Their own survival skills are not tested since they are provided with every opportunity, and an overabundance of choices which could possibly take away the chances of their ability to "make it on their own" once they step into the real world.

The Results Are In

Concerned friends and family members have been sending prayers, warm thoughts and good karma my way ever since I scheduled my biopsy. Luckily, the news I received from my doctor wasn't as bad as I thought, although I do have a condition now that needs to be treated and is something that I have never heard of, of course.

Lichen sclerosis (aka lichen sclerosus) usually occurs in post-menopausal women. Clearly, anyone who knows me can understand the irony here and can appreciate why I found myself laughing out loud when I first read this fact online.

I've always been mature for my age and have, in the last few years, been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, begun to gone gray, no longer get carded at the bar, and will most likely be wearing bifocals by the time I hit the big 4-0.

Besides this new condition, I'm pretty lucky, health wise. I don't have high cholesterol, I'm not obese or falling apart emotionally, and I have all of my digits and can function properly on about 5 hours of sleep (and a Triple Grande Soy White Mocha, no Whip). I really shouldn't complain, and yet, I find myself asking, "Why me?"

This past year has been quite the challenge and yet somehow I can now laugh about the bad luck, or karma that's come my way. In fact, just today, I spoke with my therapist about finally ending our sessions together due to the fact that I'm doing quite well, considering everything I've been through. (For once in my life, I'm in a long-term relationship with a man who, at the end of our nearly two years together will celebrate with me for finally reaching a state of complete sanity.)

He's been a part of my life for so long that I come to think of him as a friend, which is strange, considering the fact that I pay this friend to listen to my problems (and for the countless boxes of tissues he's supplied). Nonetheless, I'll miss the fact that he listens to me, feeds me every once in a while and humors me when I tell him about the drama I create in my life with men.

But, all good things must come to an end and I'm proud of myself for getting through this last year (separation, rebound relationships, court dates, financial hardship, working 3 jobs, divorce, potty-training, starting my own company) without having a complete breakdown. The partial meltdown was bad enough!

I shared this link with just about everyone I know, including my therapist, but I wanted to include it here because it's just so darn healing to laugh at yourself.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Shopping Spree Sunday

Since it was first announced that Baby J would be arriving this month, I've been on the hunt for new products and companies to find unique and high quality baby clothes, toys, books and accessories.

I spoil the little tots in my immediate circle so it's only fitting that I update my shopping sites from time to time. Here are just a few items and websites that I've discovered recently.

HAPPY SHOPPING!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

L'Enfant

Baby J arrived Friday, September 21st at 4:55 am. Mom, Papa and Big Sister K are doing fabulous as is the healthy baby boy (a Virgo).

I haven't had a chance to see him in person yet but once the family is settled and back home I will make my first visit, introduce myself and fall in love.


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Babies are amazing. Watching them grow, realizing how quickly they absorb and learn and especially noticing how much we as adults learn from them makes their presence that much more precious.

Bienvenue au monde.

Big Sis K taught me some basic French while she was in my care. Being exposed to Spanish growing up made me wish I had learned a different language in high school so I'm pleased that I'll be learning, slowly, a bit of French as I spend time with this beautiful family. Who knows, perhaps one day my son and K will take a trip to France and elope.

Now that's thinking way too far into the future, but the fact that the two of them get along so well now, and the fact that I already love her parents makes me want to play matchmaker already. I suppose I can wait...a few more years.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

BABY, BABY, BABY

I just got "the call." My good friend is in labor and I'm on my way to her place shortly to stay with big sister. I feel slightly panicked and ironically, my friend sounded freakishly calm on the phone.



I've never experienced labor pains since I had a scheduled C-section with my son. I suppose I probably would've had a panic attack if I had to go through the whole contraction thing and timing them. I'm so impatient and I cannot be asked to watch the clock under normal circumstances let alone when pain is involved.

The reason why I'm not in my car and driving right this second is because my friend isn't quite sure she's ready to head to the hospital. Luckily she's not that far from there and I'm not very far from her, either.

I'm anxious, nervous and excited for the new baby to come. I'm sure I'll be awake until I hear how the delivery went, but with the way things have been going, I'm sure it will be quick and painless. At least I hope so. She's got alot of work to do!

;)

Baby Watch

My dear friends are expecting their new baby any minute now. I'm on Baby Watch, officially, as I'm on call to stay with their daughter when they go into labor. I have my bags packed too and I'm anxiously awaiting "the call," continually checking my phone to make sure the ringer is turned on and bringing it with me everywhere I go.

Not that it's unusual for me to have my it nearby, but it's come to the point where my son will say, "Mom, you forgot your phone," if I leave the room momentarily without it.

The big question that we're anxiously waiting to be answered: Will Baby J be a Virgo or Libra?

Zodiac Babies


Being around a new baby is so healing and especially since I enjoy being a mom so much, it's hard for me not to get the yearning for at least one more. Considering my current situation, I realize that I have no time in my life for a major responsibility like a new baby but still, the craving kicked in when I went to pick out clothes for Baby J.

I was touched when I was asked to take care of their daughter during the time they're in the hospital bonding with their new baby boy. I think it's been the biggest honor and greatest compliment, that they would trust me wholeheartedly with their firstborn.

I've had a chance to bond with Big Sister lately so I trust that we will have a wonderful few days while Baby J is preparing to come home. And I can't wait to see the four of them together, this beautiful family that I have been lucky enough to be a part of.

I can just picture them, introducing Baby J to his proud sister and as they circle around the baby, I will slowly make my way to the door so they can enjoy their family time and I can go home to my son and bond with him as I tell him the story of his birth and how truly blessed we are to have one another.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Five Questions

Thanks to Kane/Miller, I have been lucky enough to work with authors and illustrators from around the world during my six and a half years with them. Several of these individuals have been quite friendly through email and some have even offered to show me around should I ever make it to their homeland.

Trudy White is one such author/illustrator. She is the creator of a very intimate book, Could You? Would You? I say intimate because you cannot read through the questions and instructions in this 96-page picture book without taking an intimate look at yourself, or those who you might share it with.
Inspired by the responses of several kidlit blogsters, I have taken the time to answer the five questions that Trudy selected for her mention in this past weekend's Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast posting.
  • How would someone find you in a crowd?
I'll be the one with the purple glasses and the tattoos. Oh, and I sort of look like Emma.
  • If your house had a secret room, what would be in there?
My secret reading room would have plenty of natural sunlight shining down through the skylights along the vaulted ceiling. The room would have built in, wall-to-wall bookshelves. Oh, and there would be a wine cellar (and a small bathroom) not too far away.
  • Where do you like to walk from your house?
I enjoy walking up the street to the playground which is on the campus of a community college. It has tennis and basketball courts, a community swimming pool, baseball and soccer fields and a volleyball court. There are always happy people and children there to inspire me.
  • How will you change as you grow up?
I hope to never grow up in that I enjoy living in the moment and seeing the world from a child's perspective. I would imagine that as my son grows and changes I will too but I can only hope that I will be even more happy, healthy and hip than I am now! And au naturel.
  • What sort of animal would you like to be?
I liken myself to a snake, seemingly vulnerable yet powerful and strong, moving smoothly and constantly shedding my skin.
The questions and instructions from Trudys' book that would make great first-date discussions:
  • What is the best thing about you?
  • Can you wiggle your ears like a rabbit?
  • Draw a picture of your family.
  • What is the best thing about where you live?
  • What special thing will you keep until you are old?
  • What makes you smile?
  • What makes you angry?
  • What is the funniest thing you can remember?
  • What helps you feel better if you're sad?
Oh, and just in case you're curious, Trudy and her partner recently "bought a block of land by the beach along The Great Ocean Road in Victoria - an hour or so from Melbourne."

I'm looking you up when I get to Australia, Trudy. I have some questions for you.

The Waiting Game (Warning: Somewhat Graphic)

The biopsy went as planned. Monday morning I woke up, drove to my friend's house so she could accompany me and we drove to my doctor's office while talking about the arrival of her new baby (she's 39 weeks pregnant).

As my doctor explained, there would be a slight pinch as she numbed me with a Novocaine-type shot. She asked me not to move, but said that yelling out would be OK. I did yell out loud when the needle pinched and then burned but, immediately, the Novocaine went into effect and I could no longer feel any pain. She began to cut out the lesion with a scissors.

She worked quickly and before long, she was done and sending me off on my merry way. I was walking a bit slowly at first since it was slightly uncomfortable, but the pain did not kick in until I sat down in the car and realized that sitting was going to be the most unpleasant thing for me while I heal.

My friend drove us back to her place where she made me a latte and we sat for a while until I felt ready to go back to work. Yep, I went back to work, although the worst part of the whole thing was that I of course did not get any sleep the night before, so I was exhausted, uncomfortable and in pain.

Cup of Coffee by Various Foreign Newspapers


I didn't stay long at the office. I went home and took a much-needed nap before picking up my son from preschool. After not seeing him for 3 days it was great to be able to bond with him and spend time just watching him and listening to him explain his weekend, his day at school, and all about his favorite toys.

The waiting game begins. My doctor says it'll be 1-2 weeks before the results come back. My patience is already pretty thin, so I'm wondering how many more sleepless nights I'll have until the results come back.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

G.E.M.s

My son was with his dad this past weekend, which means that I dropped him off at preschool Friday morning and saw him again yesterday when I picked him up in the same spot. For a while after his father and I separated, our son had a very difficult time transitioning after the weekends.

It seemed as though it took a whole 12 hours before he adjusted to calling me Mom instead of Dad and remembering what the rules in my house are and dropping the volume of his voice a few decibels.

Now that I have the lessons I've learned through the RCB course in the front of my mind, it seems as though things have been going much smoother between my son and I. Tantrums don't even exist anymore and when I ask my son to do something, he still sometimes says, "No," at first, but then I just stand in front of him or kneel by his side and wait for him to look me in the eye.

When he finally does he usually says, "OK, Mom" or, "I will put my toys away," instead of, "You do it," like he had been saying in the past. Often times he'll ask me to help him and he's definitely picked up on the fact that if someone makes a mess, whether on purpose or not, that someone must clean it up.

Just the other day his friend came over to play and the two of them dumped out a big bucket of Legos before running into the other room to find other ways to make a mess.

LEGO

I let the Legos sit there until it was time for his friend to go home. I asked my son if he would start picking up his toys and he looked at his friend and says, "You have to help me because you helped make the mess." And the two of them put each and every one of the Legos away without complaining.

I also had the opportunity that day to use the techniques I learned from the Sibling Rivalry workshop with regards to their fighting over a toy. It seems that my son doesn't want to play with a certain toy until someone else decides to pick it up. The struggle is more of the play that they enjoy rather than being the one to end up with whatever it is they're fighting over. As soon as one of them either gives in or decides to take turns, the fun is over, no more fighting and for that reason, the particular toy gets ignored and they move on to something else.

At dinner last night and before bed, we shared plenty of G.E.M.s which are Genuine Encounter Moments, situations where we bond and enjoy being in the same room with one another and focus our attention on each other. At dinner we held hands (I ate with my left hand which wasn't easy) and at bedtime he sat on my lap as I read him stories and I held his hand again as he laid down to fall asleep.

It's these G.E.M.s that make up the time when he's away and strengthens the bond between us. In the morning, he usually wants to sit on my lap or have me hold him for a while before he officially wakes up.

This reminds me of a recent article I discovered that, although published in 2006, is still relevant information and confirms why these G.E.M.s are so important to families and loved ones.

In the article published in The New York Times, Tiffany Field, the director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine states,
Based on what we’ve seen, when we get more physical intimacy we get better relationships, whether a mother and an infant or a couple.
Share a G.E.M. with someone you care about and see what difference it makes in your day. No talking is required. Holding hands is the easiest way to do this, or rubbing their back, or placing your arm around them. You'll find yourself more relaxed, more in the moment, and more willing to hear what the other person has to say.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Symbology

There have been a few votes for my next tattoo although it's currently tied with one vote for each of the three choices.

To help visualize what I have in mind, I thought I'd highlight the symbols and icons themselves and let you know more about where I want them placed and what they look like. Eventually, I'd like to get all three but for now, I want to focus on which one will be next.

My son is a Capricorn, born December 30, 2003. For a while I was debating whether to get his name tattooed somewhere, his initials or a symbol in honor of him. This is the Capricorn sign that I'd like to get on the top of my wrist.



Looking back at this last year I've had, I realized how strong I truly am. The people in my life who support and inspire me are even stronger. The Chinese character for strength is a simple and beautiful design. I would like to get this on the top of my other wrist. Would the two clash seeing as how they are so similar and yet not related in any way?



Finally, I'd like to complete my back piece by putting a hummingbird on the back of my left shoulder. The hummingbird would be holding a piece of ribbon in its mouth that would loop around and go over my spine and down the back of my right shoulder and wrap slightly around my right arm.



Cast your vote and send me some feedback, suggestions or questions. I'm already working on more ideas for when these three have been added to my walking canvas. Send me photos of your tattoos to inspire me or let me know if you have an artist in Southern California that you suggest I use.

The voting area is on the sidebar a few scroll-downs below my profile. I realize there's no option for those of you who may think I have too many tattoos already. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but tattoos are an addiction for me, one of the healthier ones I could be burdened with, I might add. It costs just time and money and a few odd looks from passers-by, but I've wasted time and money in worse ways.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Seven Years of Bad Luck

I'm working at the bookstore this weekend. There are a number of mirrors around since we sell jewelry and eye wear. People like to see what they look like with reading glasses on or a necklace or earrings.

I, personally, like to use them to make sure I don't have any food in my teeth, or hair out of place. I was a bit sad when I learned that two mirrors were broken recently. I was also relieved that I hadn't been the one to break them. After all, I've had enough bad luck (or karma) in the last year and a half to make up for most people's seven.

Relocating

I checked out a new apartment yesterday but I'm trying not to get too excited about it since it would be rather selfish of me to move. Or is it? Some people think that I should get a fresh start, finally, and getting a place of my own, on my own, would be a major step in this direction.

The place I looked at was a 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment with a loft above the kitchen. This would be so ideal for a home office and the fact that it isn't really much farther away from my job than my current place is now is an added bonus.

I think I'll sit on this idea for a while and get some more feedback. I'm sure those with kids and those without, or those who have been through a divorce and those who have not will have different opinions on the matter.

My son has lived in our current place with me since he was born so I can't imagine what life would be like for him after another major adjustment like relocating. It's hard enough that he is still trying to adjust to his new classroom and new teachers.

I stayed for morning meditation last Friday when I dropped him off. My son does meditation and yoga on a daily basis at his preschool. They start out their day this way and the few times that I've stayed to participate, I can truly see the benefit in doing so. I just wish I had more will-power to be able to do it on my own.

Something about meditating with 3 and 4-year-olds is inspiring to me. I can see them watching me (their teachers have their eyes closed, but I know better) and I sit up straight and tall, trying to be a role model as I follow the instructions.

Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. Criss-cross apple sauce (they used to call it sitting Indian style when I was in kindergarten). Hands palm to palm at my chest.



If I had been introduced to meditation at a young age I doubt I would've gotten involved in drinking and smoking like I did. I hope that my son continues to practice yoga and meditation as he gets older. It is a wonderful way to start the day, clear the mind, and center one's self.

Now if only I could figure out a way to meditate while driving.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Batteries Not Included

Here's the deal. This blog is dedicated to all things that help parents to become happier, healthier, and more hip. The hip part is something that either comes naturally, or not at all.

For those of us who need help in this area, I'm pleased to share these amazing companies and products with you that I've discovered in my search for toys that do not require batteries. I cannot even tell you how many times I've opened up the box to one of my son's new toys only to discover that he won't be able to play with it until we've installed the batteries.

Usually, when batteries are required, they're for loud, obnoxious toys that don't have a volume button for some reason, or toys that light up or blink with such frequency that I feel as though setting my son in front of the TV might actually be less stimulating.

But, I digress. Here are a few companies that I've discovered with products that will keep you coming back for more.


HAPPY SHOPPING!

And just for the record, some of my favorite toys do require batteries, but that's another story...

Too Much Information

I have a biopsy scheduled for Monday. It was actually supposed to be yesterday but I had to reschedule it. I'm hoping that I can take the day off and recover but since I'm such a workaholic I will probably end up going into the office afterwards.

If you Google the word biopsy, you come up with all sorts of medical sites that use words like pathology and malignant and cancer. CANCER.



What a test for someone who - in just the last 15 months - has been through a high conflict divorce, tried to maintain 3 jobs while raising my son and has had a different sort of health scare.

My gynecologist, who's been my doctor for 8 years now, recently discovered a mole that has grown considerably in the last year. I noticed it prior to the visit but although I knew that it was something to be concerned about I still chose to ignore it. She, of course, cannot, and was very adamant about removing it right away.

The fact that her reaction was so reactive is what startled me about the whole thing. I knew it was not something to be ignored so the health scare that brought me into her office in the first place actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I probably wouldn't have caught it, or brought this to her attention, otherwise.

I recently turned 30. It seems like everything is coming at me at once now. Don't things usually happen in 3s? If that's the case then this would be the third and final strike against me.

My hair is turning gray, probably from lack of sleep and stress. But, it's better than the alternative so my plan is to grow older gracefully and continue to just let it be.

Just this past week my mom came out to visit. It broke my heart having to tell her what's going on with me and I could see the pained look on her face when I told her about the procedure.

And then there are those who I haven't said anything about this to. My sister, my friends back "home." I figure that I'll wait to see if there's anything worth mentioning. After all, it could be nothing. It could just be the thing that makes me focus on the future and to be sure that I get what I want from this life and share it with the people who mean the most to me.

Luckily I have some very good female friends here who I can talk to about these things. A few of these women have been through similar experiences.

I have a pretty positive attitude despite the fact that the results of this biopsy are going to either make or break my future plans. I do anticipate buying a lifetime supply of wigs if need be so if it comes to that, you can guarantee I'll have photos posted with my new hairstyles. Maybe I should plan for that either way.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Judging a Book By Its Cover

I was asked by a colleague to answer a few questions about on line dating for an upcoming article she's writing. It seems that since I'm one of the few single parents that is in this particular circle, I'm suddenly an "expert" on the subject.

For a very short while after my husband and I separated, I joined Match.com after a friend convinced me to put my profile on line. Not a good idea. I had to describe myself and what I was looking for in a potential partner. (Can I just say that if I couldn't get it right the first time, how in the heck was I supposed to know what I was looking for a second time? Or third? Or...)

I did not include a photo at first since I couldn't find one that I wanted to advertise to the world. But I soon learned that this was the only way I was going to get anyone interested in communicating with me.

A few men showed interest but once I saw their photo - I didn't even read their profile. I grew very disappointed with the prospects. A couple of men asked me to send them a photo. I did and, of course, never heard from them again.

Once my photo was on line I started to get a ridiculous number of emails from older men. And by older, I mean 15 or more years older. No, thank you. Needless to say, my on line profile did not last long.

Single Parent Dating - Sign Up Free!

I've dated a few men in the last year but only those that I first met in real life. What I forgot about the dating scene that is so wonderful is the physical aspect of it. And by that I mean eye contact, seeing his reaction to what I'm saying or how his voice changes when he talks to me. None of this could be done on line.

It's nice to be able to lean in close when talking and smell his cologne, hold his hand as we're walking next to each other or brush my lips gently against his as we say goodbye to one another.

The sparks that fly between two people are what makes dating so exciting. Regardless of whether we end up with someone temporarily or for an extended period of time, the truth is, we all enjoy a little affection and knowing that someone is interested in what we have to say.

On line dating is not for me, although I have heard of people who have had great success, fallen in love and are now married. Will they end up in the storybooks like the others who live happily ever after? Who knows?

What I do know is that I look forward to dating, to hold hands with someone who makes me laugh, who respects me, and who listens to what I have to say.

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Thanks to Grandma J for sharing this adorable video!

Ouch and Oh No!

My son cut me with a razor blade last night. I know. It sounds painful, which it was, but it was more devastating to me that I wasn't paying attention to the fact that the razor blade was within his reach.

To make a short story long, my son wanted very badly to help me hang up a new wall fixture. I took out the tool box and grabbed the hammer. He climbed up on the stool with me and was helping me pound in the first few nails but he got pretty bored and decided to climb back down the ladder while I finished the project.

So, there I am, two steps up the ladder, pounding the nail into the wall with one hand while trying to hold on to the fixture with the other and I suddenly feel this painful and somewhat familiar feeling on my leg and before I even look down, I know what's happening.

Sure enough, there is my son, holding a bright yellow razor blade which he pulled out of the tool box and dragged down my ankle towards my foot. I took a deep breath - stopped myself from screaming at him like I wanted to do - and stepped slowly down the ladder and asked him to hand the razor blade to me.

I pointed to my leg and the blood dripping down my foot and asked, "Did you see what just happened?" His face went white as he realized that it was blood and that he was responsible.

I had one of two options here. I chose to focus on the blood first so I insisted that he help me clean it up and put bandages on. Since it was a nice, straight line down my foot, and since I did not want band-aids with Winnie the Pooh characters highlighting my new boo-boo, it took 4 standard size band-aids to cover it up.

He knew that he did something wrong but seeing as how he was merely experimenting with this new tool, I really couldn't punish him. After all, he has never seen a razor blade before and had no idea what would happen when he used it the way he did.

We had "the talk" where I pointed out to him that Mommy made a big mistake in having the tool box out and not paying attention to what he was doing. I told him how important it is to not touch tools unless an adult says it's alright.

If I had to do it over again, I would've put the tool box back in the cabinet where it's usually kept - above the refrigerator - where even I have to get out a step stool to retrieve it.

If I had to do it over again, I'd take the razor blade out of the tool box and replace it with this awesome Klever Kutter that I recently discovered through one of my favorite sites, PreschoolRock.com.


My son is now at that stage where I need to take home safety issues more seriously. After all, he's his father's son, which means he is curious, confident, and especially comfortable with tools so it's no surprise that he would pick something up and test it out.

Luckily, he was not hurt. And I have learned a valuable lesson. And, while I should know better, I have to wonder if single parents end up in the emergency room with their children more often than those with a co-parent in the same home?

I'll have a scar, no doubt, from this little experiment, but I am going to be much more diligent about home safety and keeping tabs on him.

Yep, another reason to vote for me for the Parent of the Year award. Have you heard of it? Do you have your own parenting stories to share? I sure hope so because I'm feeling pretty down about the situation and could use other people's stories to help me focus on the fact that there are other parents out there who may have regrets about what they've said or done. I can't even keep track these days...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Rough Night

My son had a great day at school. Or so I thought when I picked him up. He was wearing different shorts and there was a plastic bag filled with what I assumed were his wet underwear and shorts that he was wearing when I dropped him off this morning.

"Did you have an accident?" I asked, assuming that he had pooped in his pants since this was something we'd been working on. He told me that he had peed and I didn't make a big deal of it but added, "You didn't make it to the bathroom in time?" He shook his head, "No," and then grabbed my hand to leave. He was the last child there for the day so he was ready to go home. So was his teacher.

I didn't notice the bandage on his knee until I was getting him buckled into his car seat. I noticed his right knee and mentioned it to him. That's when he showed me his left elbow and the bandage there. I asked him what happened. He said he fell. I didn't ask any details but made a mental note about the fact that his teachers didn't mention anything to me about him falling.
Little Bruiser Toddler T-Shirt
He didn't have much to say on the way home. I kept trying to ask him questions about his day, and trying to keep him from falling asleep.

Everything was fine until it was time to hop in the bath. I took of his bandages and noticed that his elbow was pretty raw. He looked at it as soon as the band-aid came off and immediately started crying. I cleaned him up as quickly as I could and tried to comfort him at the same time.

When I realized that there was nothing I could say to help him to calm down, I asked him if there was anything I could do to help him feel better. He said, through his tears, "Yes, you can not send me to school in underwear anymore." I was completely confused but figured that he was upset about the fact that he had an accident and was tired and was thinking about school and his day and all of his emotions were unraveling at once.

"You don't want me to send you to school in underwear?" I asked, hoping he could somehow make sense of it for me. He went on to explain that he was outside playing when he realized that he had to go to the bathroom. He ran to try to make it in time, but ended up tripping and falling. He was still crying pretty hard while he was telling me this but he told me that he fell, didn't cry, but then didn't end up making it to the bathroom in time.

I'm hoping that after a good night's sleep he'll be ready to put on his clothes for school and march in there ready for a brand new day. He's pretty brave and the fact that he didn't cry when he fell made it that more heartbreaking to see him have a meltdown over the situation when he was given the opportunity to talk about it.

He's a sensitive little man and I'm proud of him for being able to express himself with me. I tell him every day that he can come to me and talk to me about anything and everything.

It wasn't until he had fallen asleep for the night when I thought back to the time when his friend had an accident in school and when his father came to pick him up at the end of the day, had taken him aside and reprimanded him for not being able to do his business on the toilet.

I can't imagine what would happen to the bond between my son and I if instead of letting him take his time and explain the situation when he was ready, I had punished him or made him feel bad about having peed in his pants.

It's so easy to make the wrong decision or react in a way that might not be the way we would do things under different circumstances, but it's great to see that my patience and allowing him to be responsible for his emotions has helped him to work through his thoughts and gather the strength to share exactly how he feels. Not every little boy (or girl, for that matter) will hold on to this ability but I'm working on teaching my son how wonderful it is to be free to cry, laugh and remain silent when the words just aren't there to be said.

Bite Marks

My 3.75-year-old son bit me this past weekend. Not that he's never done this before but this time he left a mark, a very large bite mark that has now turned into a major bruise. It turned black and blue instantly, but is currently an ugly yellow and is not looking as though it will begin to fade for quite some time.

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As a newly Certified Parent Educator through the International Network of Families and Children (INCAF) I think it's only fitting that I start out this blog by saying that no one is perfect. Neither parent nor child are going to go through life without conflict and frustration. That would take away all of the fun, right?

I am a perfectionist, however, so my intention is to help other parents learn from my (plethora of) mistakes by using my own examples in the Redirecting Children's Behavior (RCB) 5-week course and individual workshops that are offered through my newly formed company (and the name of this blog), Happy Healthy Hip Parenting (HHH).

Somehow, I feel as though admitting to having made mistakes along the way will not only help ease my guilt, but to also provide an atmosphere where the participants in my course look to me as a peer and not someone standing in front of them telling them what to do or how to be a better parent. Because, after all, each child is unique and each situation will require a different solution. I am here to offer a supportive and open environment where parents learn new skills, learn from one another, and learn more about themselves and their children.

I also think this will help me to learn to laugh at myself more often because they say that laughter is the best medicine and I am all about self-medication! ;^)