Winter Blahs

“It’s the season of eternal phlegm, of hissing vaporizers and silver teaspoons full of gooey bubble-gum-flavored syrups that break fevers and dry up noses and end midnight coughs. All kinds of coughs; whooping coughs, barking coughs, wheezing coughs, hacking coughs, sniffling coughs. Some are wet, some dry; some are in the throat, some in the chest; some are from allergy, some from colds, and some from a mysterious planet called Virus. In the middle of the night, though, I’m not awake enough to classify coughs. I’m just trying to locate from which room they are coming. (Fate, pg. 165)”

 

Fate, T M. (2011), Cabin Fever. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

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“MINE!”

There is a squabble. The toddlers are fighting over the same toy. Seconds before they were each playing with their own, happily. But one looked over at the other toy and thought, ‘Hey, that’s mine. I want to play with that now.’ And she gets up to take what she believes is hers, even though the other child is playing with it.

You rush in as the responsible adult. You explain “sharing” as simply as you can, while taking the toy away. The squabble escalates…

How absurd is that concept; sharing! In toddler’s mind, everything is his and made for him. ‘Sharing…? You adults are so dumb!’

But do we grow out of “MINE?” Some people never do. And it creates a unique family dynamics.

A family is a little community. Each has a role in that space. It is a unit that learns to work together as a whole’ as an “US” entity but it does not always run as such. Many families do not operate in an “us, we, or ours” fashion. They chose or have learned by example to initiate a “mine” philosophy. A “mine” entity distinguishes separations in the unit and hierarchy and power are the result as it runs as independent pieces rather than as a collective connective whole.

Certainly a child is not going to pay rent even though a parent supplies shelter. Certainly a stay-at-home mother cannot pay bills when her income is based on a shared spouses income. Certainly a father’s income is not earned for him solely. As you build and create a family unit you are a whole unit and how you can operate collectively and interconnectively depends on how you assert what is yours or give and share what is “ours.” A family is not independent pieces of a unit just stuck together. It is supposed to be a sharing community that everyone connects to and learns to work with and consequently loves each other.

I have difficulty when I hear adults who live in family units talk about their things as “mine.” “My” car, “my” house, “my” table, “my” bed you sleep in, “my” food you eat…referring to family members as disconnects to things actually helping them thrive. It makes the member not a part of the money or object, but almost instills guilt that they are using or eating something not there’s and have to pay for it some other way. Have you ever heard a parent talk to a teen,  maybe on television, and say, “Don’t you dare put your feet on my coffee table…” And the teen takes his feet off. What that parent has established is that everything that is bought is the parent’s “mine.” The teen is not a part of it. Of course the teen did not buy it. But it WAS bought for the collective family unit to help everyone as a whole. The teen will not feel connected to it so he won’t care about it consequently, except for wrath for harming it and getting punished.

I grew up in a “sharing house.” Everything was collectively ours and a result of that was that we cared and loved it as our own instead of it being a “rental object” just put there with no love or connection attached. “Our” family car was not my father’s “mine.” It was “ours.” We all rode in it, we loved it, and we wanted to collectively take care of it because it belonged to ALL of us. We had a small cabin in the woods. My father did not tell us, “this cabin is “mine” and you all better like it. He bought it for “us” to share and make memories, and we did and love it and treat it with great respect. We felt that way about all of our things because it was given to us with love. There never was an intended feeling of being left out, or being disconnected in anything. Our family things were never an adult “mine’ but always intended for us all as a collective family unit; even as we built our own families. We are all family…always. And share collectively.

You may think this philosophy is absurd. If I work hard for it, I deserve to claim it as “mine.” This is so dumb…just as the normal ego-centric toddler thinks when a toy is taken from them. But ego-centric is vastly different than egotistic and independent. Aren’t we here to learn how to live together connectively.

If you think about it, the sharing philosophy, to help build families is much how God treats us as his big family and we his children. Everything HE has, HE offers to “US.” It is “OURS.” He never ever says, That’s “MINE.” “Get your eyes off my sunset.” “Don’t you dare drink all of my rain water I gave you.” “How dare you cut down my tree and build a house with it, did I give you permission for that!?” “You better eat every speck of my chicken because I can take it away when I want.”

You see…”mine” is only for toddlers…

The matter of believing

My three year old grandson looked directly into the eyes of his Lightening McQueen Car (The car does have eyes) and said,

“It’s okay, I’m right here.”

Some adults feel uncomfortable with pretend. Yet it is a very real developmental stage of children.

Piaget’s animistic thought means children give life to objects that are not living. It is their brain’s way of figuring out their world. There is so much literature and statistics and theories about the why’s and reasons. Some children keep pretending well into their early tweens and this is normal behavior. To play is acting out and creating social stories about real life and how they fit into it. Some pretend play is quite involved.

But what you should ask yourself is why you are so uncomfortable with it?

In the matter of Christmas the con chatter is a BIG lie you are initiating with the Big Man in the Red Suit.

“My children are smarter than that!”

But they are forgetting that children are not adults and their brains are not adult brains. Yet, even after they tell them…their children still want to believe and question why others do.

Santa Surprise

Do you remember the Christmas when you finally figured out yourself how it works, without anyone telling you? Surprise! That was your brain growing up. So many parents ruin the beautiful surprise of wonder and fascination by worrying that if they encourage enchantment it will give children false hope.  Yet on the contrary the ones who get to believe in the magical already are using their brain muscles to learn how to believe and have faith. Their own brains figure it out when they are ready and that is the key.

Give them time to be children. Give them time to believe in enchantment and encourage it. It will be delightful for you as well as them. Santa Claus is so wonderful. But he is because you make him so…

Isn’t it fascinating that much of the world makes it so too…

How great is that!

Teaching the art of gratefulness #2

Gratefulness 101:

1. Say Grace and teach your babies to thank God beginning at age one. Explain , with love why you pray.

2. Go on child guided walks with time and electronics left home. And love earth with them!

3. Read stories then talk about the message after. This is a powerful teaching  tool with a cuddle moment as a bonus.

4. Take care of something living together; a pet, a plant, a bird-feeder, ducks in a pond, worms that you give scraps, etc. We share the earth we don’t just take from it.

5. Give your baby a teeny chore that teaches them they can help and that work is fun. We all can help. It’s funnest to do work together.

6. You can never express too much gratefulness in conversation especially directed to those feelings for your baby.

*Gratefulness is a spirit derived from love. Practice with a loving intent is how it is best received.

teaching the art of gratefulness

Having little Jane give auntie Sue a hug for giving her a present is teaching your child good manners on saying thank you.

But having little Jane learn how to be a grateful child is a long learning process that begins with mom and dad’s grateful heart. You must teach gratefulness by showing little Jane that you notice blessings in daily occurrences. You must show her and explain why.

Little children, like little Jane, are natural marvelers. They notice lots more things than adults who often loose their wonder because they are governed by time and more serious things. But Little Jane is noticing because everything is new to her. She is hardwired to learn about everything and why not begin with the dot on the sidewalk, right then.

But little Jane does not understand how to be grateful for the little dot until you tell her why it is so special. If you ignore wonderful things, or blessings, or amazing occurrences she will not know to be grateful for them. They will just be there as an entitlement with no connection.

A simple example at lunchtime: When my mother would make us sandwiches she would always make it from the inside pieces and then purposely chose the end pieces for her sandwich; even though there were other “good” pieces left. We all know the end of the bread are the two pieces no one wants. They are usually thrown out. But my mother grew up in a home with 12 mouths to feed and a very meager income. She and her brother would go to the back doors of the bakery’s pulling a red wagon and receive the day old or two day old bread that was usually fifty percent off. I did not ever have to worry about eating a piece of bread when I was a child. But my mother’s gratefulness for that end piece of bread was taught to me in a sweet way making sandwiches. She told me how she would wait for all of her siblings to chose their piece of bread and then she would chose, and most often it would still be a middle piece. But she would always notice that her mother would  take the end piece no matter if there were still good ones left. I asked her why. She replied, “My mother was always grateful for that bread to feed her little babies. No one wants the end pieces but they will eat the middles so she would take the ends so there will be middles left for everyone when they wanted them.” My mom said, “I want my family to eat the best parts of the bread and I am grateful I have bread to eat.” For some reason I always take the end when I make sandwiches. Just like my mom and grandma I learned the art of gratefulness. 

You are the ones who teach your children to be grateful human beings by noticing and telling them why our daily little tiny and big wonderful blessings are so special to us…

If you ignore your blessings around you so will they, and they will grow up ignoring them too. Gratefulness is not absorbed it is practiced and then taught.

God shows us

Have you ever thought about

how God chooses to open and close

every single day…

Sun rises come slowly, gently, and full of warmth and sparkle.

sun rise

Sun sets leave slowly, gently, calmly and comforting.

Sun set

Perhaps God tries to teach us

how we should welcome and close our days.

Especially with those we love the very most.

Because that is what he does.

 

Are you a monster?

Do you scare your child? Perhaps  not even realizing you do it?

Let’s face it the monster in us comes out in parenting no matter how great we are at it.

Which monster do you turn into most often?

1. Dracula-This is when we quietly watch our child do childish annoying things, but we are too weary, bored, or self absorbed to stop them but we accumulate the frustration like tiny droplets of blood, then in a furious frenzy that one thing tips our meter and we jump in for the bite completely unexpected. That kid never knew what bit him until it was too late–Scary!

2. The flipping Dr. Jeckyl/Mr. Hyde. This is when we are happy happy happy with our child then in an instant we turn “mad” or we are angry angry angry with our child then in an instant turn happy.  The child is constantly jittery not knowing when the monster will pop out for the scare.

3. The werewolf: When we howl and howl and howl and bear our ugly teeth and spit fowl breath over our children we think our children are getting our fierce message but if we keep making constant “noise” they tune out. But constant anger-yelping is just as bad as the bite and our kids stay in a constant state of overbearance and tension before they transform into werewolves themselves on a full moon.

4. Godzilla: This is when we grab things out of hands, kick toys out of the way, and use our strength and size to show who is superior. We are so angry we use force to thrash around while yelling and breaking things up. Our children look up with horror just waiting for the Lego towers to come crashing down or Hot wheel cars to go flying, and for them to be next.

5.  The Zombie: This is when our child has broken us to near death, but not quite. We don’t want to smile cute anymore. We don’t want to hear the little laugh or wipe another bottom. We shuffle along in a stupor, moaning and dragging,  wishing to be dead instead of hearing another version of a Silly song or picture book. If we see one more big eyed stuffed animal or step on one more action figure we will rip it to shreds.  This is when we snap and grab our child to get them to stop acting  so human…It’s usually the most dangerous parenting monster to become. It’s when we “react” with any number of surprise scares for our child. And they don’t know when it is coming.

Halloween comes once a year and we allow monsters to get loose. But parent monsters, BEWARE! WE often are the very things that create the jitters for our own little beasts.