Tag Archives: kids

The things kids say

Mom labelBefore I became a mom, people advised me to take the time I drive with my kids in the car as an opportunity to talk to them.  I’ve taken that idea on the road.  I love the moments of bonding with my kids, hearing about their day, singing songs and having heart-to-hearts.  The other day my son asked one of those really important questions during one of our drives.  He said, “How do you know if you are doing what God wants?”2004284_69

I was feeling very pleased with myself in a moment of motherhood eloquence as I answered his question.  I could tell my answer had an effecton him, as he was looking thoughtfully ahead into the passenger side mirror.  I knew he was deep in thought, perhaps looking into his soul.   When he spoke I knew it would be profound… “Mom,” (pause) “how do I not have a mustache right now?!”

And then the moment was gone.

It just whizzed by.

Gone.

I wish I could tell you that later the conversation picked up where it left off.  But in reality, I don’t know if he heard a word I said, as he was so engrossed in the mystery of his facial hair.

That’s just kind of how motherhood goes doesn’t it? 2004284_54

My daughter recently said, “When I grow up, the first one I want to be like is Jesus” (How perfect is that? As I hear this, I am mentally high fiving myself!), “and the second one I want to be like is you, because you are so awesome.” (can I say proud momma?), “I don’t want to be like Daddy,” (what?!), “because he is a man.  And I don’t want to be a man.” (the things kids say sometimes!)

I guess my kids are really thinking things through well…well at least they are thinking…even if they are saying things like, “It’s not my fault I am a good farter!”  (my son didn’t say this—my daughter did).  Or “My pits stink! They are wet and furry!”  (that one WAS my son).  Or my personal favorite quote, a commentary on my motherhood… “I’m hotness’s son.”  Yeah, I guess at least they are learning something.

I am a Hot momma.

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A Perfect 10

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When my son Nathaniel turned ten, I was shocked– I have been doing this mothering thing for ten years!  Wow!  Those late night feedings, comforting by walking the hall endlessly, stubbed toes, chasing him down, playing dinosaur/cars/train, have now melded into one sporting event after another and conversations about… girls.  He is now 12.  Wow. Wow. The other moms warn me, “those” years– the teen years are coming.  I have decided that my son will, of course, be a charming delight through his teenage years.

I was.

Really!  Ask my parents.

My husband and are dismissing the occasional first grumpy clouds of teen angst as dangerous teenage “experimentation” I hear about.  It will end.   Not long after his 12th birthday, a young lady told him that she liked him… Oh my, lets stop this ride!!  It’s not that I don’t trust my son; I think he is beyond awesome.  This young lady is an exceptional girl; he has great taste. NathanielWe’re even friends with her parents.  Honestly, he should marry this girl!  What?  Yep, I can see the young man he is becoming.  He is great, he will be a great man like his dad, I have no doubt; but still I find myself looking for the breaks!

I want to go back to when he was ten.  Then his interest in girls was observational– if they sat near my son, what words were said, if he perceived them to be having a good day or not, and each day I heard an account of how certain young lady’s day went.  Now it’s bashful smiles and conversations—I find comfort in the fact that without asking him to he gives me a rundown of the conversation… and then it hits me.  My daughter is ten soon… whoa… that means somewhere in the neighborhood there is a boy observing her.  I feel protective and irritated that any boy could see her in a “interested” way.   Back OFF!

I saw a boy at church hold the door open for her… he looked at her.  He is a nice kid.  Great parents.  I felt totally protective.  Why is that I found my son’s interest in girls okay, humorous even and proud that he was picking out such level headed academically oriented kids; but a boy holds the door open for my daughter and I suddenly want to move to the hinterlands?

I remember the heartbreak of my own girlhood…  sometimes that hurt came from boys.  I was still in “the becoming” and wasn’t the girl they were anxious to dance with. Of course it hurt.  Then there were the other girls – teenage girls.  I didn’t get it. I just didn’t get the emotions that come with the roller coaster of girl doom.Ailsa

I realize now, with terror, I have no skillsets to raise a teenage girl.  My teen friends were mostly guys- who I knew I could beat in an arm wrestling match any day.  My daughter is a perfect ten.  She is sooo cute!  She has it all: looks, brains and personality.  So much of my character and becoming the woman I am today came was from being overlooked by my peers– getting to be in a corner watching the world go by.

I want her to stay as she is now, surrounded by her stuffed animals, playing with her American Doll and thinking I have all the answers.  I can take her turning ten, but let’s stop there– at the perfect age of ten.  That, to me, is a perfect ten.  This growing up stuff is overrated!

Last night I kissed my daughter as she was being tucked into bed and whispered to her as I have ten thousand times “Never forget how much I love you.”  I may not have all the answers to help her navigate the next ten years, but I can do what my mom did and see her as the perfect ten that each daughter of God is.

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Stranger Danger

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From the time we are little, we are taught about the danger of strangers.  We’re told scary things about how they lurk with menacing plans.

My dad owned a small trucking company.  When I say small, I mean small as in my mom was the other driver, and we kids were the set-up crew.

Dad was often the stranger who stopped and helped the car on the side of the road with the hood up.  It wasn’t uncommon for us to find a lady with a car full of kids.  Dad would tinker on her car and soon have it up and running.  He always had extra fan belts, duct tape and rope on hand, saying “you never know when someone could use it.”  The people he helped often thanked him for his kindness with tears running down their faces, but Dad didn’t do it for the glory or any reward.  He knew it was the right thing to do, and he quietly helped strangers.

I remember one late night in the middle of a snowstorm Dad saw a car stopped on the side of the freeway.  He stopped and helped get the man’s car running.  As my dad was leaving, the man gave him his card and said he wanted to help out my dad in return someday.  That man was an internationally known dentist.  It just so happened that not long after that stormy night, I was in a serious bicycle accident.  I knocked out three of my teeth.  That man was the one that came to the hospital, and made sure I got the care I needed; even though my parents were in-between insurance companies.  This stranger saved large portions of my upper jaw bone.

My mom loves people.  She says she never meets a stranger.  One time we were out hiking, my mom went ahead to make lunch for us at the car.  When I got to the end of the trail, I saw Mom sitting on the tailgate of our tan Toyota pickup truck surrounded by bikers, laughing with them and giving out sandwiches.  I imagine some women would be horrified to find a pack of bikers around her vehicle, but not my mom.  She offered them food and drew them with her wit.  She learned one of them was a fan of Shakespeare.  I’ll never forget seeing them quoting Shakespeare to each other over sandwiches of white bread, bologna, and that horrid cheese you have to unwrap the plastic from.

For me, the worst pains of my childhood didn’t come from strangers.  It came from those who were in a position of trust who violated that trust.

So, when I became a mother I had a decision to make; to teach my children about the danger of strangers or to teach them that they needed to trust their inner voice, regardless of who the person was.  I chose the latter.

This is what I tell my kids.  If someone asks you to keep a secret from your parents it isn’t okay—ever.  If someone touches you in your privates it isn’t okay—ever.  I tell them they are people and their feelings and opinions matter.  They know the voice of what is right and what is wrong speaks inside of them.  I tell them to listen to that voice, and if they do, they will recognize danger.  I tell them that while using that voice as a guide, they can have enriching experiences like meeting a biker that is a poet; a dentist that will save their jaw; a single mom whose tears of gratitude will teach lessons.  I try to show them, like my parents showed me, that helping others when it may not be convenient is always the right thing to do.

Our new Polish friends

I think they’re learning it.  The other day at Costco I started a discussion with a couple in the line behind me.   As we stood out by the carts they told me they were from Poland.  We talked of hard work and their years of living under communism.  They told me what makes a good Kielbasa sausage and the pride they feel in their children. They hugged and kissed me, told me I was beautiful and a good mother.  Soon after, my daughter told me she wants them over for dinner.  I do too… and after our discussion, I had better buy the right Kielbasa sausage.

The Words our Mirrors Say- a deeper look into the book

While writing my book, many people, places and events inspired me.  This blog is to help look deeper into the inspiration behind some of the moments in my book, How to Embrace Your Inner Hotness.

The quote above was inspired by a woman I met at one of my Hotness Workshops.  She was a mother of four children that were close in age.  As so many of us do in that process, she lost a tinge of sanity, a lot of peace and the figure she had before she became a mother.  At the workshop, she shared with the group a powerful story of how she learned about positive self-talk.

One day, after she got out of the shower, she looked in the mirror and felt that what she saw was not flattering.  She was struck by the changes in her body.  She said, “I grabbed by tummy, disgusted with myself that I was this fat!  How could I let this happen?!  I started to call myself names… and then I felt something stop me.  Hadn’t this body birthed four healthy babies?  That was a gift.  I felt an impression that I was never to be so unkind to myself again.  I felt that it was from God.”

After she told her story, the room was quiet.  We all knew we were guilty of being unkind to ourselves and even bullying ourselves at times.  Her experience spoke that truth into our hearts, in a clearer way than I could ever express.  The truth was that God doesn’t want us to feel poopy about ourselves.  Don’t be mean to that amazing body you have!  It was made ON purpose for a purpose.

Choose to be nice to you.  Honor yourself with your thoughts.  Feed your mirror kind things.

If you want help with this, my book is available by clicking here.

I Killed the Little Pig…

Kids with Guinea pigI killed my kid’s guinea pig.  I didn’t mean to.

I imagine being a guinea pig can’t be too exciting- living in a little cage, walking in your own poop- and for a reason that I can’t understand- you (the guinea pig) pooped and peed in your own food bowl.  This sort of behavior doesn’t seem to bother the little pigs.  They are super cute and the kids love them.  I like them too.  I had to pick a favorite, it would be Ricky.  Ricky wasn’t prone to peeing on you like Lucy would.   Technically Ricky was girl (for better population control).  My son “owned” Ricky and my daughter “owned” Lucy.  Back to my issue— I just can’t imagine how living in your own mess in a small cage can be a good life.  

I had this dream that we portioned off an area on the front deck with chicken wire and make an enlarged enclosure for the piggies.  They could run wild, poop and pee to their heart’s content– and with weekly cleanings, such a large area wouldn’t be so bad.  Full of this vision, my daughter made little houses from boxes with doors and windows cut in.  She attached several of them with little tunnels.  We even put up a blanket for shade and as a wind breaker, and an area for the guinea pigs to hide from the Kestrel hawks in our area.  Really, we thought of everything for their comfort and happiness.  We just knew life for Ricky and Lucy was going to be awesome at the Greene house.  We brought out their little cage and opened the door to their new enclosure—one that provided almost total freedom.  We reveled in them exploring.  I thought I was rocking the mom job.Spoiled Guinea Pig

Well, evidently guinea pigs are susceptible to heat stroke— I found Ricky peacefully dead the next day.  I felt sick.  I ended up telling them that night… and tears flowed, sad bitter tears… and I remembered the pain of my cat dying when I was young (I found my cat, a dead (partially eaten) bird… and my young CSI mind deduced the cat choked on a bird bone.)  The passing of this guinea pig was the first Pet Death of my children’s life—and it was my fault!  My hubby, in just five minutes of Google-smarty-pants research discovered that guinea pigs don’t deal so well with the heat.  I didn’t even think of that when I made their awesome new home.  I thought the outdoors would be heavenly for them… Bad pun? 

That night, as midnight was approaching, I was outside with a head lamp burying our dearly departed guinea pig.  My neighbors, who were up late painting, had a horror movie moment when they looked out the window and saw me burying things in the dark of the night.

So…I killed Ricky.

pig4I couldn’t apologize to my kids enough.  They didn’t seem to blame me, but I sure felt bad.   When kids are young, a mom can kind of solve everything.  I want to protect my kids, hold them and make life as perfect as possible, while I prepare them for everything I can—and just like I tried for Ricky, I want to make a good home for them.  When I was looking out for dangers for the guinea pigs, I thought of the wind and of the small Kestrel hawks that frequent our street; and I tried to protect Ricky and Lucy from those things.  But it was what I didn’t think about—what I didn’t see as a threat—that ended up getting to Ricky.  As I held my tear-soaked kids and wondered what snot was being wiped on me, I felt guilty.  My kids are getting to the age that I can’t soothe every pain with the ease that I could when they got a stubbed toe at age three—and now, they’re old enough that I may not see what dangers are lurking for them.  The one thing I hope is that I am being a good enough mom that they will have the good sense to escape the hawks of life, and that they will ask for help when they need it.  

We all have a weakness to something.  For a guinea pig, it’s the heat (how is that possible?  They are from South America!  It’s hot there.)  For me, I like to sleep.  I love sleep— it gets in the way of getting everything I would like to accomplish done.  I also have a weakness when dealing with manipulative people.  I don’t like it.  I think I would die of exposure if I had to live in poopiness. We all have our thing. 

My daughter told me she forgave me because it was an accident and she knew I was trying to do something good.  My son told me that he was glad that Ricky didn’t suffer and he didn’t blame me either.  I guess that is the most we can do— just do our best and hope we don’t kill the tender feelings of others.  We can go through our lives and try not to cause pain purposely and when we do—we can take responsibility for it.   We can apologize, and when needed, stay up late (even when we are tired) to bury the pain we cause and ask for forgiveness.

There is something else we should learn from guinea pigs— don’t walk around in your own poop.  If you have read my book you know what I am talking about.  What does that have to do with my story?  Not much, but it’s still a pearl of wisdom. 

I should mention…we have two cats they are doing well.

What’s your SuperPower?

I heard this story of a mother telling her son to wait for her at the corner. Instantly, the son runs past the corner. The mother was frazzled. When she caught up to the boy she was angry that he didn’t follow her instructions. She asked her young son, “Why didn’t you wait for me at the corner?!” The boy, in perfect innocence, says, “Mom what is a corner?”
The kid wasn’t trying to disobey, he just didn’t understand the words his mom was using.  We say a lot of thing to each other and to kids, but do they really understand what we are saying?

Just like bullying; we hear that word a lot in a world of the faceless social media. It’s easy to hurl insults and not see or think of the hurt we are inflicting. Words just typed can be very easy to misunderstand as they have no inflection, no body language and no facial expressions to clarify their meaning. Words in of themselves yield immense power but we are not always able to control the direction.

What does the word bullying mean?
To single out someone.
To make fun of them with words or physically harm them.
Purposely verbally or in writing attack someone.

Bullying isolates and creates fear.

Children often don’t know what the word “bullying” means. Yet they probably hear it everyday at school. When I have asked young children if they have been bullied they say ‘yes’. I get down, look them in the eye and ask them what happened and I hear stories like ‘a kid butted in line in front of me’ or ‘they didn’t play with me’. Do we have a definition problem here? I have also heard stories that fit my definition of what bullying, kids being made fun of for something that is different about them. I believe that when we choose to see our differences as a strength then we are more confident and can thwart the would be bully. Bullies are really just insecure and are seeking to put others down to feel more powerful, popular, liked and above all to not be a target themselves. As children are experimenting with cause and reaction, developing their sense of who they are bullying can happen and if not discussed can lead to even more. Like not being played with one day to not being played with at all or physical attacks. The bully will attack when they feel they can get away with it. The confident child isn’t as easy a target.. that is if they are not different.

Studies show that when rapists were interviewed and asked what makes a woman a target the results were startling. They talked about a woman who was alone, perhaps already exhibiting fear or discomfort or maybe distracted. The least likely ones they would attack were women who would look them in the eye when she passed. women who seemed confident. This really struck me. What makes us a target as an adult could also be what contributes to making us targets when we are young. The problem being, children haven’t had the years to work on their confidence. Confidence pops up as a deterrent to both adult attacks and childhood ones too.

Who among us doesn’t have holes in their confidence? Places, situations, people that make us feel vulnerable—we all have those. If you say you don’t, be real. Or I guess you live too much in your comfort zone. A dose of confidence is needed for young or the more mature when we face the playgrounds of our lives.

My son is a confident child, perhaps too much, which I have encouraged. I think my children are pretty stinking fabulous. I don’t think they are better than your child, I just think that my kids are amazing. I love being their mom and I love their personalities. Though I do hate whining. But when my kids are not whining then I couldn’t be a bigger fan. Last year my thoughtful, fun, confident, handsome, smart son started coming home with reports of a kid he was having misunderstandings with. Soon it was clear that my son was being targeted.  I couldn’t figure it out. I tried coaching him on ways to deal with it. Why was my son being teased? One of the boys had even been over to play and was a nice kid with good parents, teaching him right. The ring leader was from a home that had problems. I talked to my son about what this boys home must be like so he could be understanding. We talked about what friendship means and we talked about compassion. I volunteer weekly in my kid’s class and I could see that the one boy didn’t have, as I put it, “control of himself”. I saw my son being kind, even playing well with these boys, but then at least three times a week the efforts seemed of naught and their would be incidents. I talked to the teacher but she had her hands full with other in classroom situations.

When it turned physical and my son was being pushed to the ground and kicked I talked to the other one of the moms. The one child was moving, much to my relief, but still I wonder how that boy is managing with all the upheaval in his life. The other boy, with his mother looking on, I lectured him firmly. He was encouraged strongly to apologize, his mother was mortified, as I am sure I would be if the situation was reversed. My son, in one of my proudest moments as a parent, looked thoughtfully at the other boy and said “I forgive you.”  Later as the boys were back in class and the mother and I walked to our cars we were doing what women do, verbally processing the events. She said to me that her son really couldn’t be fully blamed as my son did funny things with his body.

Okay, this is when I was dumbfounded. It seemed to me that she was trying to justify her son’s actions because my son was different! That I was almost blinded to what was causing my son to get bullied.
I wasn’t blinded and I don’t have a problem with what makes him “different”. My son has Tourettes.  Tourettes is not spontaneously swearing as Hollywood has chosen to focus on. it is a tick disorder with 3 or more verbal and/or physical ticks. This mother’s comment shocked me deeply coming from someone that seemed so sane.

So I ask, do we as a society think it is okay to hurt, belittle or bully someone simply because they are different? We are all different. Every single one of us is not the same. Why do we strive for sameness? Why not embrace what makes us unique? It goes back to being insecure, we want others to validate us because as a society we have a hole in us. (I even have a whole book coming out on this topic). The bottom line is that after a certain age it is not others responsibility to make us like ourselves. As a mom, it is my job to guide my children into being amazing people that give back more than take. I teach my children to feel good about what makes them different. Noticing differences are not the problem, what we do with that information is. I think that we all have a super power—mine is I can talk a lot and really well. I also have ADD and as a young girl I had to learn how to focus my super power. People close to me were not always kind. My son has already in his short life experienced that others may not always be kind. That is part of being a superhero you, get forces against you.  My son has a super power too, he has an active mind, he is inquisitive, orderly and an active body too. He has a lot to do and just like his Dad, watch out world because Nathaniel will take on the challenges and face them with character, strength and determination!

Forces combine against the hero in any story. Would it not be better to teach our children that what makes them different is a superpower in development than something to be hid behind a wall of sameness?

Evidently I am not the only parent that thinks Tourettes is a superpower. Local author, Richard Paul Evans, has written a book in honor of his son’s Tourettes. Michael Vey, the main character, has superpowers. I am excited to go read this with my own super hero.

Bullying is not going to be removed by slogans and logos, it will be removed when we as a people accept ourselves first for what makes us different and when we really like ourselves we wont have a need to hurt, belittle or hit others. Bullies, regardless of their age, are just people who don’t like themselves. That is what I tell kids when I do school assemblies. We need to teach our children not to bully themselves but also to see themselves as the superheroes of their own life, responsible for how they yield their own power. I think most bullies don’t realize the hurt they really are causing. That they rationalize it as the other person is different, or they asked for it. Instead we should be teaching our children that they are powerful and that they can impact others. That they are responsible for themselves. That being an adult means there is no one to blame for their actions or thoughts but themselves. Teaching them that differences are strengths to learn from and about discovering what makes us unique guides us to seeing what our gifts will be in life.

Why do we label, shame and categorize people?
Because we do it to ourselves, stop being a bully to you—after all you are a superhero too.

Why Women Wear Lipstick

As our month long blogging on lipstick comes to a close (no this won’t be the last time you hear us talk about lipstick,) the question “why do women wear lipstick?” is forefront. Makeup, specifically lipstick, is seen by some as uneccessary and put on simply to attract and hold the interest of men. While this is not true, well not entirely true, there must be a reason behind the lipstick and other makeup we put on. In fact, there is. We like it. It makes us feel pretty and fun, mysterious and sexy. Maybe the truth really is that as girls we loved messing around our mothers makeup drawers and begged her to put even just a small dab of her lipstick on us for the day or at least until we had to leave the house. Many of us have this experience with our daughters. From very young ages – even as early as 15 months – children are fascinated by our makeup. Wearing lipstick as adults channels us back to those simpler days when all that mattered was having the stuff on our lips no matter how well it was applied, if it matched perfectly with what we were wearing or what would the other girls would think of it.

We continually look for new products, colors and application techniques to improve our look. As unique as each of us are, lipstick can be just as unique for us. It lets us say what we want about ourselves – be it confidence, sexiness, security, or even that maybe that’s all we had time to do and it makes us feel more put-together. For all you women reading this who don’t wear lipstick, we lipstick wearers might understand your perspective as well-you’re just not into it. To which we say – good, more for us. Not really. Honestly, to each his own. Women should just do what makes them feel beautiful and not follow along because that’s what society tells us we should do.

Finally, I’d like to answer the question with a question. Why not wear lipstick?