Monthly Archives: June 2009

Infants, Crying, and Parenting

parentingMy son will turn three at the end of July. So, it is often that I peruse the web and come across parenting information.

I understand that everyone parents differently, but I have to open my mouth in awe when I read information that tells new parents to leave their newborn infant to “cry it out.”  I mean, really, how does this make any sense?

I also understand that not every woman is thrilled to become a mother, and that the instant mother-child bond that I felt with my son the second I peed on the stick and saw two lines…doesn’t always happen to mothers. That in itself is a sad epidemic in my eyes, and to be frank, I don’t even remotely understand how a mother can not feel not only an instant bond with their child, but also the immediate unconditional love that forges between parent and child.

I am not claiming expertise in the parenting field, but I do know that I never once allowed for my son to “cry it out”, especially when he was a newborn. If he cried, he got picked up, changed, fed, or simply cuddled with. Sometimes just picking him up and allowing for him to nestle as close as he could with me soothed him enough to end the crying. Infants need human contact, they need their mother, and they need attention. For more information on this, please visit www.attachmentparenting.org.

My son also sleeps with me, as I mentioned in a previous post. He has since his birth. It feels natural to me, to have my own flesh and blood right next to me. Nestled into his mother’s arms. He’s so content, even at three to be so close to me. He frequently asks me for hugs, and he never gets denied. I don’t care what I’m doing, I’ll always take time to hug my son. I’ve seen some moms, one of whom is my close friend, completely ignore her son when he asks for a hug. It’s appalling to me that a parent wouldn’t want to hug their child. But again, it’s not my place to judge how others parent their children, and I’m no expert.

Everyone has different views on how to parent, that’s no secret. What I would like to see research on, so please point me in the direction of any if you are privy to such information, is why some parents are not close to their children? Was it because they were not close to their parents while growing up, or perhaps they resent becoming parents in the first place? The factors are numerous and monumental I’m sure. A lot goes into why and how you parent your child(ren) the way you do.

Please, share your stories and theories. I’d love to hear them.

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Father’s Day

father and daughterFor as far back as I can remember,  my dad was awesome. He was always there for my brother and I, fixing our bikes, or getting dirty in the sand box with us. He was a fantastic father, and he still is.

I’m turning thirty in a few days, and I have to admit that it wasn’t until my early to mid twenties that I truly appreciated my parents. I finally understood all they gave up so that their children never had to go without. I’ve also realized that I’ve learned so much from each parent.

From my mother, I learned to appreciate being a woman, how to be my own person, how to be a fantastic mother to my son, to follow my dreams, and to live my dreams. Mommy taught me that in order to become someone, you have to be someone first. Find out who you are, be comfortable in your own skin and with yourself, and never listen when someone tells you you’re not good enough or that you may not make it. While I was growing up, she showed me time and time again that a mother’s love was powerful, life giving, unbreakable, and most importantly, that it was unconditional.

But so much of the person that I am today is also because I had a loving father in my life. Dad taught me how to ride a bike, how to mow a lawn, plant and maintain a garden, be a woman that respects herself, be a daughter, be a role model to my son, and most importantly, my dad taught me to how be independent. He told me to never rely on anyone to get what you want. If I wanted something, I simply achieved it. There was no failing, dad said it simply wasn’t an option.

Having a father’s love surround you when your a female is something that’s hard to describe. It gives you such a sense of being wanted, of being adored, and respected. I was never afraid of anything with my dad around. The fact that he was a big Italian guy that had a permanent puss on his face was enough to scare people in the other direction anyway. But just his presence around me made me feel invincible. I felt I could move mountains if I wanted to.

I am the woman and mother I am today thanks to both of my parents. But it is because of my father that I am a strong and absolute female. A father’s love and attention cannot be replaced. And having that strong fatherly shoulder to cry on when your young and adolescent years flash before you means more to a daughter than any boyfriend ever will. I learned that when it came time for me to find a man in my life that I had no other choice but to emulate my father. After all, he was the only male authority figure that I had to go on…that I had to clone.

I enjoy manly men, thanks to my dad. I love a dirty guy – an auto mechanic, a construction foreman. But I also love an authoritative gentleman, a man that knows what he wants. A handsome fellow in an Armani suit and tie grabs my attention as well as any bookstore. My father was the man I wanted to duplicate because I had so much respect for him.

Father’s Day is a wonderful chance to say thanks to the man in your life that picked you up when you fell. The man that held out his hand for a firm handshake when your boyfriends came to pick you up for your dates. But most of all, the man that you have enough respect for to call Dad.

Thanks to my dad, and also to my mom, for making me the center of their world.

Please share your stories, my readers and I would love to hear them.

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A Writer’s Thoughts

words“But words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling, like dew, upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.”  – Lord Byron –

It’s no secret that I’m a Byron (and a Poe) fan. His above quote ignites a rush of ideas that have been nesting within my loins, simply screaming to be written down. I think it’s the same for every writer that lands upon whatever it is that gives them inspiration. Be it the flowers outside, the birds singing their harmonic tunes, or the gentle breeze that ruffles the fall leaves, inspiration is all around us.

For me, inspiration speaks in forms of words, quotes, colors, sounds, and writing. I find that simply reading calms my soul. When it’s so quiet that you could hear a pin drop, the silence itself is astounding. I’ve always been a fan of solitude. Not just for the fact that I get to know myself, but also because silence speaks volumes without saying a thing. Cliche, I know…but true nonetheless.

So when writers begin writing, whatever it is they may be thinking of at that moment, something magical happens. Ideas mix with feelings and words intermingle with dreams, all producing a masterpiece that now has bore an audience. Once words amalgamate with paper, a story is given new life. Characters find friends, mothers bare children, men become fathers, and something that just a moment ago was nothing…now has been given a voice. And sing it shall, just you watch.

A single word, sentence, or paragraph means a world of difference from one person to the next. You may read a story and gain nothing, while the person next to you reads the same story and allows for the tears of their triumphs to rain down. Words are powerful, life giving, and tremendous. And never underestimate their influence over complete strangers.

I doubt that when iconic writers such as Byron, Poe, Melville, and Shakespeare were penning their thoughts, they allowed room for an audience. From studying them through college and on my own, I’ve learned that all the aforementioned wrote because their souls commanded it. Poe wrote The Raven inside a farmhouse while battling depression. I’m sure he highly doubted it would reach publication, let alone be canonized in high school and college classrooms today.

For all of you that are writers presently, and for all of you that are scared to write down your thoughts, my advice to you would simply be to WRITE. Write more…never less.  Whatever lives in your thoughts needs to be authored. It needs a home among the greatest literary geniuses that continue to live on today through their writing. Find the courage to start a journal, a blog, or even a book. You never know whose life you may change simply because they took the time to read your persuasions.

Please, share your writing thoughts. I admire other people’s determination when it comes to writing.

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Co-sleeping: Yay or Nay?

co-sleepingCo-sleeping…touchy subject I know.

However, in my opinion, co-sleeping with your baby is Heaven. I’m an advocate of it 100%. My son, who will turn three at the end of July, has been sleeping with me since birth. When in the hospital, I chose not to leave him in the nursery. I requested that he be in my room at all times unless otherwise medically necessary.

And when he arrived home, I knew that instinctively I wanted him to be as close to me at all times as humanly possible. Infants are utterly helpless. They need their mother (or care giver) around the clock. Therefore, I thought it was insanely natural to have my son sleep with me, and according to the information I’ve read on the subject, it is. So much so, that I didn’t even purchase a crib. I didn’t add a crib to my registry and I instructed all my close family members to not even be on the look out for a crib, I flat out didn’t want one.

I enjoy my son being close to me, even now as he gets ready to turn three. He’s still helpless and he needs his mommy.

I adore the smell of my son and the way he nestles into the crook of my arm when it’s nap time and bedtime. I love crawling into bed at night after I have put my son down and pulling him close to me so that we can cuddle and become as close as safety allows.

If you’re a new mother and you maybe worried about any dangers associated with co-sleeping, I direct you to Natural ChildMothering, or CoSleeping.org. Those three websites will give you all the research and statistics associated with the topic.

I can also tell you, as a mother who co-sleeps with their child, that when my son was a newborn I hardly changed positions while sleeping. This wasn’t done deliberately. Your natural mothering instincts take precedence. You know your newborn is sleeping next to you, and for me, that was enough to tell my body not to move. It may sound like it was uncomfortable, but I can assure you it was not. I found it amazing that the exact position I went to sleep in, was the same one I woke up in. I’m sure this doesn’t happen for all moms, but in my case, it did.

The benefits of co-sleeping are tremendous for me and my son. He was never a sound sleeper and he woke up quite often throughout the night until he was about two, and maybe a little older. He would wake up to eat, or reach for his pacifier that fell out of his mouth, or simply to nuzzle closer to mommy. It was so much easier to lull him back to sleep with him right next to me, and he slept for longer periods of time when he was an infant. And that meant that mommy got to sleep decently as well. Sometimes, we could go up to four hours before he wanted to eat again. And I see that even today, when he wakes, he is extremely well rested from getting a full nights sleep.

While co-sleeping may not appeal to all mothers, it worked for me and my son. If I have another child, I will absolutely co-sleep with them as well. And when I feel the time is right, I will transition my son into his own room and bed. But for now, there’s nothing more sublime then taking in the smell of my son, or feeling his drool land on my arm, or even allowing for the faint sound of his little snores to help lull me to sleep.

Please, share your motherly outlook on co-sleeping. I’d love to hear your side of the story.

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My Favorite Places to Write

empty-park-bench (1)I’m a person who needs silence when writing.

Therefore, crowded coffee shops don’t quite cut it for me most of the time when it comes down to writing for money. I prefer to be home, with my feet up on my over sized ottoman, hot cup of tea in hand. I am also a person who prefers cooler weather to hot, so when the winter time hits and I’m curled up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa and my pink bunny slippers on, life just doesn’t get much better. My laptop is my best friend when I’m getting my freelance writing and editing done.

However, if I am writing for my own pleasure, then I’m a person who prefers writing long hand. To sit down with an open, lined notebook or journal, my favorite pen, and my two cats at my feet, is simply heaven for me. Computers are grand, don’t get me wrong, but there is just something insanely relaxing about putting pen to paper and allowing your hand to guide the pen in upward strokes across the paper. To really focus on and savor your writing is a fairly cheap form of therapy for me. Long hand also allows me to become one with my words. I also read aloud my writing often. I prefer words that linger on the palate and appreciate being sung by the tongue.

It is this writing for my own pleasure that sometimes takes me outside to write. I appreciate an empty park (bench or grass) and an ice cold tea with a splash of lemon to help alleviate the sometimes stress of being a mother. I allow for the freshly cut grass to dance in between my toes and take in the smells of the flower gardens nearby. I never bring my laptop with me when I’m writing for my own pleasure. I simply would never be able to engross myself in the semi-trance-like state that writing puts me in. That horrid key tapping sound would ruin the rhythm of my prose and interrupt the dreams I allow room for in my writing.

Sweet, playful i-dotting and t-crossing…that’s all I want to hear when I’m writing for my own pleasure in an empty park. I want to gaze lovingly at a brand new, jet black Moleskine journal and feel that little bit of anticipation that builds right before I take it out of it’s wrapper. And when my heart fluttering subsides and I open it up to the first page, I can’t wait to grab my Paper Mate and allow the two to become one. The mating of pens, journals, and a passion for recording your innermost thoughts.

Share your favorite places to write, I’d love to hear the inspiration you gain when being there.

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Forgetting Children in Cars

question markSo here I am, perusing the web with my coffee in hand, and I start my day with this post from momlogic “Baby dies in hot car.”

Fantastic way to start my morning…not.

For starters, can parents please tell me how you forget your children in the car? Anyone?

I’m a mom, I travel with my son in the car daily, and I have never even come close to forgetting him anywhere I am, let alone in a car.

It’s such a preposterous act that I simply don’t understand it. You go through all the trouble of strapping your children in a car, then you find a parking space, get out, and lock your car up without taking out the human being you strapped in ten minutes earlier? I can’t…I just cannot comprehend the absentmindedness of parents some times.

There is no excuse, as far as I’m concerned, for leaving your children in a car. Period.

Please do share your thoughts and opinions on such a weighty topic.

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The Presence of a Parent

A parent's presenceYour children need your presence more than your presents.  ~Jesse Jackson

 

Ain’t that the truth, huh?

Parents know how important it is to be a dominant presence within your child’s life, but sometimes I’m convinced they don’t understand it. 

Speaking from my own experiences, I am a stay at home mother to my son. I only have one child and therefore I’m sure that it’s much easier for me to give 100% of myself to my child than say – a mother with three or four kids – or even two. But I can’t speak for those moms, because I’m not one. I have only one human being who longs for my attention and my presence. The only thing he asks of me is “mommy play.” My son, at three, has no idea if we’re rich or poor, and he doesn’t care. If he only had one toy to play with, and a mommy who sat on the floor with him all day and played with him, he’d be happy. 

Parents tend to replace their presence with presents. You know who you are. You think that buying your child that Big Wheel will replace all the long hours that you put in at the office. Newsflash: it won’t. From birth until old age, kids need their parents. Not just to feed, shelter, and comfort them, but to be there for them and be parents to them. To sit on the floor and play Matchbox cars or Barbies means more to your children than any toy you could buy them.

Please, don’t get me wrong. I’m not claiming to be an expert on child rearing, and here’s another newsflash for you: no one is. Every child is different, and every parent is different. You parent exactly like your parents did, if you had a good upbringing. Or, if you had a horrible childhood, you parent completely different, hoping to give your children a better life. Either way, you’re a product of your environment. 

For me, I choose to shower my son with my presence. I spend hours each day playing with him, coloring, cooking, playing cars, or kicking a ball around. Your children want you around, never forget that. Make your child your priority instead of your job, or whatever it is that may take precedence over your parenting. I know, for some, it’s easier said than done if you’re the sole money maker. Regardless, your children are only their age once, you will never get back today. And your children will never forget that you weren’t there when they just wanted your attention, or to spend some alone time with you.

I chose to make myself a stay at home mom because I never wanted to miss a moment with my son. I think he literally grows before my eyes. To think that just three years ago I brought him home from the hospital, it seems like yesterday to me. I’m glad that I don’t have to put long hours in at the office and miss out on my sons first anything. My company means more to my son that any Transformer action figure I could buy him. Presence versus presents, they sound exactly alike, but carry an entire world of difference to your children.

Please share your thoughts and opinions. We learn best when it’s from each other.

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