Thursday, October 13, 2011


Lately, in my relations with other parents, I have run into quite a few who believe that their child sharing with my child is extremely important. So important at times, that they have actually walked up and physically removed their child from a rocking horse because my child asked for it or took a toy out of their hand to give it to my son or another child in the room. In society, that is a pretty common request of parents to even the youngest of babies, so I am not surprised I am seeing it again and again. It has inspired me to write on the topic once again though.

When we become parents, our hopes and dreams for our children are strong, even severe. And as they grow and start to assert themselves, we want so badly for them to be kind, caring, and compassionate people. So we start making requests of them that many adults have trouble doing with little understanding of what they are developmentally able to handle or even any knowledge of the best ways to help them become those compassionate people in the long run. We cannot really blame parents, we are only doing the best we can with the knowledge we have. It is even hard to say that we should have read more parenting books to gain that knowledge as the shear volumes of these books available, with so many different view points, can deter anybody.
How can a parent possibly know where to begin?
By reading my blog of course.... ;)

So for now I am gonna write about sharing and taking turns since it is such a focus of those around us (and because I cannot find the articles I wrote for the preschool so many years ago :( ).

Just imagine this scenario for a moment:
You have just gotten a new car and are in love with it. You want it to stay clean and undamaged and are enjoying your time in it so much when another person comes up to you who is bigger and stronger and says, "It is now time to give Susie your car. You have had your turn, and Susie wants it now."

Think about how that would feel to you as we explore the reasons to NOT ask your child to share:

1. If you have taken even a basic class on child development, you know that young children (as defined as birth to age 8) are egocentric. To get them to think of others before themselves is a very difficult, some would even say developmentally impossible thing for them to do. Does this mean we don't talk about our effects on other people, or model to our children the ways others should be treated, absolutely not. But it does mean, that when you force something like giving up a toy that they had first, you are actually forcing them to do something that so often leads to them thinking even more about themselves. How can they get it back? How angry they are that mom took it away. Tantrums often follow.

2. They are losing an opportunity to work on problem-solving with another child when we step in and force the issue. For two children to come up with their own plan on how they can both have the bike is so much more effective than the adults in the room coming up with what the adult thinks is the fair plan. Children have incredible ideas, they think outside the box and often they come up with ideas that they both agree too that an adult would never have thought of.

Which leads to the next point,

3. It can seriously disrupt relationships. When you play the police officer of fairness in the room, it often leads you to not consider the feelings involved and to simply make judgments on a situation. Feelings are very powerful, they need to be acknowledged, and no one likes to be judged. So it can really drive a wedge between you and your child when you take the one item your child has coveted all day and determine 10 minutes is long enough for him to have had it.
In addition, how do you think your child is going to feel towards the child that now has been given this coveted item? If your answer is warm and fuzzy and thinking about how it was rightfully their turn, you are seriously mistaken. S it can also really interrupt any chance of a budding friendship between children and lead to more bickering and racing to get toys in the long run.

4. Every item that a young child has is so important to them as the new car example in the beginning. It is "theirs" regardless of the adults determination of ownership. How unfair does that seem then to take it away from them?

5. We all know that children learn through play, so consider that every time your child has an item, even as simple as a leaf in their hand, they are on the verge of a great discovery. Maybe they are exploring gravity by dropping a ball over and over, or figuring out balance on the bike, or finally understanding that blue and yellow make green when you mix those paints at the easel. When we force children to share, we are deciding that the learning should stop dead in its tracks.

But how then can we help our children be the considerate people we hope for them to become.

1. Don't rush them, growing takes time. Just as crawling needs to come before walking, so does possession before sharing. Children need to fully experience ownership and understand it before they can know how and why to share. Every child that I have seen whose right to have whatever they have had in their hands is respected have been much more likely to share. Knowing that when I have something, it will be respected. Not knowing if you will ever be given the time you need with something and that it could be taken from you at any moment will make you a lot less likely to give it up whenever you again have it in your hand.

2, Model, Model, Model. Share with them, your friends, other children. Don't become a preacher of being a good sharer, but put into practice the values you hold dear. It will come across in the end.

3. Listen to your child's feelings even when you think they are being selfish and unfair. Sometimes all a child wants to hear is that you understand that they really love that firetruck and could play with it all day. Once they know you know that about them, they can become much more likely to share it.

4. Ignore what other parents think about your parenting. So often we interact with our children in ways that we think others believe we should. When we do that, it is almost guaranteed that we will forget about what our own parenting goals are.

5. Trust your children, they will share in time.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Settling in?

How are you settling in? The question I get asked most often now by our new neighbors and our friends we left behind. I'm not quite sure how to answer that because it really depends on the moment.

We have a lot to adjust too:
Josh has a new job, with new classes he has never taught before, he works more now because it is a boarding school and you have to be on duty, sometimes until 11pm.

E has gone from eating almost every meal with just me and Josh to eating every meal with 200 people. My child is not one who does well with noise and chaos to say the least and there are frequent outbursts of high pitched screaming that ensue.

I have gone from having a ton of friends I never could spend enough time with to having none. NONE.

I am filling our days with lots of rhythm and exploring our beautiful surroundings and it helps. There are times I look out my bedroom window and see the hills covered with white split rail fences, horses grazing under the oak trees and I think this was the right decision.

And then there are the days when all I want to do is see one of my friends, one that truly understands me and doesn't think I am a freak for cloth diapering or nursing my two year old, or even less being a stay at home mom.

I have to tell you that the hardships of this move have come down to frequency. Those we saw most frequently and the things we did most often are what we miss the most.

E misses Elias, Lala, Baby Charlie and Monty, and the farmers market.

I miss my playgroup, all the kids and amazing mamas there and if I am to be completely honest, I miss my friend Francesca. I feel like I have done something wrong by leaving her. Is that strange? Anyone who is lucky enough to have her for a friend as well probably knows a bit of what I mean. We have only been friends for a year, but we saw each other many times a week. We were the only ones each other fully trusted with the care of our children, and we knew all that was happening in each others lives living less than half a mile apart. But I know it is more than that. Proximity alone cannot build the bond we did in such a short time. I cannot read the book she gave to Elijah and I when we left without tears flowing... still... 2 months later.

Well, there are more obstacles to our adjusting fully, organic eating, less money, no doctors or midwives we cherish, we even miss our loud quirky neighbors. And we are saddened by the relationships that are not staying in touch, those we know are going to disappear for one reason or another.

So now I will go back to focusing on the parts we love about being here as I try to do each and everyday we are here, but I needed to get this out to all of you.

You are missed with all our selves. Come visit!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Long Beach has always held a special place in my heart. I went to school here as a child and when my mom moved my family away (for the final time) in the middle of high school, I was devastated. I am not even sure that is a strong enough word. Depression definitely set in for a while after that. I had very strong relationships here and my parental connections were extremely shaky so my friends were my family.
So when my husband and I bought a condo in Long Beach just before we got married, it was sort of like returning home and I felt at home again.
I knew this was not the city I wanted for my family long term and having a child like mine that needs space outdoors to RUN, the feeling of wanting to move away from here became stronger and stronger.

And now it is happening...

But those feelings from childhood are streaming back to me. My husband and I were talking about all the wonderful memories we have in our first home and all the things we will miss about this city we called home.
Things that made the list: Walking to all our favorite restaurants, taking the bus to the Queen Mary (or anywhere for that matter), being a block from concerts in the park, fireworks on the fourth, and the beach bike path that leads us to shoreline village or Belmont shore in just minutes.
And then of course, the memories in our condo include seeing that positive pregnancy test, talking about our child, picking out his name, laboring together in the wee hours of the morning to bring our baby into this world, bringing our little boy home here, watching him crawl and take his first steps.

And then there are the people, those tears have been right at the surface all week. We have so many people we love here, we even have doctors we adore. How do I do this again? How do I leave all those people who support me and my crazy ideas and move to a place where I know NOBODY.
This sadness is compounded by the fact that my son has made very strong connections here. People who love and adore him and that he loves and adores. So I feel in a way I am the one pulling him away now. Kind of ironic.

So all I can do is hope we have made the best decision for us as a family. I know every time Elijah asks for his friends there I will cry. I think we will all spend some time lonely and sad there for a while.

Thank you to Long Beach, NHBCNS, our birthing center, our doctors, and all those wonderful people we love so much.
Thank you for the memories. You have made our time here unbelievable!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"I Boy!"

For the most part this blog for me is about venting. Having a space to share all the thoughts that go through my head, the passions that wreck havoc on my brain, to solidify my opinions, and hopefully in some small way to educate.

But today, I want to write about my boys. I usually save this stuff for Elijah's journal or special notes to Josh, but today there are some things I would like to share with everyone.

I will start with the littlest one...
When I was pregnant we did not find out the gender of our child before he was born. I really would have been happy with either, but if I am completely honest, part of me wished it was a girl. I am not sure why I wanted a girl other than I am girl and I feel like I know girls. Maybe it has a little something to do with the rough and tumble, sports crazed, hyperactive stereotype that exists around little boys. All I can say for sure it that it had NOTHING to do with pink.

But the special boys in my life have always been more than that stereotype and many times have had many of the characteristics typically associated with girls. My nephew is an exceptionally sensitive soul very in tune with his emotions, "my" Nicholas is a caretaker. He loves children younger than him and is so sweet and gentle with my son.

Speaking of my son, he is all BOY in the gender sense. He is active, he is rough, he is easily overstimulated and can turn into the Tasmanian Devil with an arm that resembles a pitching machine. There are times when anything he touches gets chucked across the room. But he is gentle too, LOVES real live babies probably more than his vehicles (although I am sure some could argue the opposite at certain times), enjoys changing his dolls diapers, and can make a mean "asta" in his play kitchen.

The there is my Joshie, my partner, my confidant, my rock. He is the single most sensitive man I have ever met. His emotions are always written all over his face. And he is a baseball fanatic. I swore I would never marry a man that was obsessed with sports. So much for that plan! Instead, I married a guy that avoided asking me to marry him at Dodger's stadium ONLY because he thought it would make me say NO. He was right ;).

For the past week, my son has started to play around with gender terms I assume in an effort to understand it better. He asks "Daddy boy?", "Mommy boy?" and so on including the cat and strangers on the street. He FREQUENTLY throughout our day will state, "I BOY!" Not just once, but several times in a row almost as a song: "I Boy, I Boy, I BOY!" When he wakes up from nap, "I Boy!" When he is angry, when he is sad,"I Boy!", when he is walking down the sidewalk otherwise lost in thought he will whisper, "I Boy". It has really got me thinking a lot about his discovery of this term, what I hope he grows up defining a BOY to be, the kind of person and Man I hope he becomes.

And then I think of Josh, the ultimate example of what a man is to our son. Tonight I saw the sides of Josh integrate. We went to his baseball banquet for which he is the head coach of the JV team. As with each year, my husband delivered a speech about each of the boys on his team with such detail and insight. He was able to clearly illustrate their strengths as well as their weaknesses. He was confidant in his knowing of these children. His love for the game of baseball and his love of coaching and working with his students on and off the field poured from him with such sincerity it eclipsed all of the CIF baseball MVP's in the room. I was so proud to be his wife.

There are times when I worry that Elijah will learn from stereotypes to define being a BOY as limited to only those things typically associated with such and I shutter to think that he will ever utter a phrase like, "pink is a girl color". But when I really step back and remember who he has as a father, I realize the worry is for naught. The example my husband gives him day in and day out is enough to make any little boy a phenomenal man.

So yes Elijah, you are a boy.

I adore my BOYS!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Minimalism Defined

Over the last few months I have read a lot about minimalism. I had heard the term before, but little did I know how much it described the person I aim to be until recently. I believe it is a term that will continue to define me more and more in my future.

To me, minimalism is not doing without, but more about returning to a simpler life. A life that respects the environment, one that makes more room for family time and personal connections, one that focuses on the FACT that stuff does not make you happy (and many times can distract you from true happiness) and most importantly, a life that revolves around being the change I want to see in the world. Modeling to my son on a daily basis these values is what ultimately drives me.

But minimalism has so many facets and how it relates to my life I am still defining. I think I was a minimalist way before I knew a term. I have always said that I wished I had lived in the prairie times when they got by with so little, spent so much time together, worked harder than any of us can imagine, and appreciated so much more (at least that is the way it seems to me).

So my next few posts will be about my journey through this, my view of what this could mean for our world if more people embraced it, and simply why it is so important to me.

I hope you will share your insights and ways in which you may embrace this even if it is just one area of your life that it applies. I want all the ideas I can get.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Greener Pastures...

Recently our little family accepted a job in Los Olivos, Ca. (just outside Santa Barbara). We will be working and living at the Dunn School. The picture on the front page there is seriously what it looks like ALL THE TIME. The beautiful Santa Ynez Valley and mountains surround us there as well as farms in every direction.

Many of you know that the city life has never really cut it for me. I have this dream of my children growing up on a farm surrounded by a back to basics life and one that includes the birth and death of animals, the change of seasons, and a calmer, more relaxed churn your own butter kind of life. As much as my son loves living next to the busiest fire station in Long Beach, I want more for him than car rides to the local nature spot. I want nature out our front door. I want to be able to be able to leave the front door unlocked and even let my child out of it without fear for his life.

Dunn and Los Olivos has so much of what we are looking for. There are no big boxes in the entire town, there is only one main street that when you drive down it instead of walk, people stop to see who that is. Wildflowers bloom in the spring and cover the hillsides. Does this picture not seriously remind you of the opening scene to Little House on the Prairie? The school has an organic gardens, pigs, and soon a chicken coop with fresh eggs for the taking. The schools dining hall (3 meals a day are included) throws nothing away. It is all composted, given to the pigs, or recycled. Elijah is welcome anywhere on the entire 50 plus acres. There is a pool, tennis courts, a gym, art studios, music teachers, and about two hundred over qualified teenage babysitters.
Oh and did I mention the chickens are coming? I have been assured of this and will build the coop myself if I have to.

Dunn has a strong community and one I am excited to be a part of.

By living at a boarding school, we can see daddy for lunch every day. We can give him a kiss in his office whenever we want. He no longer will spend two hours of his day in the car away from us polluting our precious Earth (even though he does have a hybrid), and we will be getting rid of one car (gets a bit closer to my goal of a minimalist life and zero impact living). There is a Waldorf school in Santa Barbara if we go that route either for my work or Elijah's education, and we will be closer to my child's grandparents who also live in Santa Barbara. And even if we were to drive every day to Santa Barbara, what a difference that would be. When we are in the car here, we are passing an advertisement every 10 seconds at least, buildings, and other cars, but driving in Los Olivos, the only things to look out the window at are rolling hills, cows, Lake Cachuma, and vineyards.

But here is the hard part.
We have a life here. Even my son of a mere 20 months has strong friendships to say the least. He has a second "mama", "brothers" and "sisters" and people who would die for him. I have a community, one that began with my school or even before with my job as a nanny and has continued with life long friendships that nurture me like no other. My second career of providing parent education is beginning to flourish. Even the midwives and doctors I love are here.

We have to start over. :(

Doing so will be the hardest thing I have ever, EVER done. So many faces have been flooding my head since making this decision. Tears are frequently just at the brim.
Knowing that Santa Barbara is only a 2 hour drive gives me hope that I will not loose all those precious, precious faces.

So with that I say, we are off for some new adventures and a new daily life taking with us the experiences and people who have made us who we are today. Always know you are in our hearts and souls forever. Yes, YOU!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Parenting Book List

Here is a list of all the books I think should be "must reads" on a the list of anyone who works with children in any capacity. The books are in order of my preference in the beginning, however, different books are better for differnt areas of parenting and child development so it depends many times on what speaks to you... ENJOY!

Unconditional Parenting
Punished By Rewards
No Competition
by Alfie Kohn
*you can also read many articles of Alfie's on his website.

Parent Effectiveness Training (PET) by Thomas Gordon

Siblings Without Rivalry
How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk
by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlich

Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne

Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

Parenting Well in a Media Age by Gloria DeGaetano

Endangered Minds: Why our children don’t think and what we can do about it
Failure to Connect: How computers affect our children’s minds and what we can do about it
by Jane Healy

You Are Your Child’s First Teacher by Rahima Baldwin Dancy

Caring for Infants with Respect by Magda Gerber

Smart Moves by Carla Hanaford

Reading Magic: How reading aloud to your children will change their lives forever
by Mem Fox

Between Parent and Child by Haim Ginot

Speaking of Sex
More Speaking of Sex
by Meg Hinckly

The Hurried Child by David Elkind

Discipline Workshop Notes

Thank you to everyone who came out to Granola Babies to talk about ways of working with the most important people in our lives! I had so much fun.... I think I may be turning that workshop into a 3 week series though, since there was so much info to cover.
Let me know if you have any questions....

Discipline Workshop
When you think of your child as an adult, what attributes do you want them to possess, what words would you like to describe them?
Why No Corporal Punishment, Punishment, Rewards, and Praise- all along the same spectrum and achieve only one thing: temporary compliance and they do so using extrinsic control, conditional love, and a focus on self rather than others.
1. Manipulation- any relationship based on this is doomed…. Conditional vs. unconditional love
2. Reduces self reliance- our opinion of what they have done, who they are vs. theirs. 2 year olds rarely look for your opinions… we teach them this.
3. Steals their pleasure- tells them how to feel vs. letting them figure it out (scribble on a piece of paper= beautiful)
4. Loses interest/changes focus- start to see task as a means to an end (reward) instead of the intrinsic motivations to begin with AND gets them to focus on self rather than others (sharing example). What about toilet learning?
5. Reduces Achievement- Pizza Hut book it program, old mans plan, must up the anty continuously to get them to do something they previously did on their own.

“It is not enough to love children, they need to know they are loved unconditionally”- Alfie Kohn (for who they are not what they do)

All these attributes are not achieved in this way and can be undermined by the spectrum of tactics. Never in all my years of doing this workshop have I heard: obedient, got into Harvard, got an A’s in math, cautious, quiet, stays out of other people’s way, etc…

Discipline is different from all of these things: It comes from the root word disciple which means “to guide”.

-Our entire society is based on the work of BF Skinner and his theory of Behaviorism (rats, pigeons and applied it to people)

3 things to always keep in mind when working with a child….
1. Trust the child, they know what they need.
2. Think of what YOU would have wanted from the adult when you were a child when in a moment with a child (This never fails you)
3. This too shall pass and WAY TOO QUICKLY, try not to be in a hurry (we take ourselves too seriously)

*When we apply these concepts to infants, it is easy to accept, but as young children grow, we start to see them as manipulating us. In reality, there is a NEED behind EVERY behavior. Children do not have all the skills adults do to draw from when they are trying to express a need.

*AP parents will do these with infants, but at some point as it gets harder and children get older, many people stop because children discover new and interesting ways of getting what they NEED (ways that can drive us crazy at times, but also ways that are so endearing and lovable)

While you are on the phone, children cannot say: “Excuse me please mommy, I am feeling a bit off today and would really like some extra attention to meet some of my need for closeness and comfort right now so could you please cut your phone call a bit short.

When disciplining, we need to do 3 things:
1. Ask ourselves if what we are expecting or experiencing is developmentally appropriate? Question yourself? Is what you are asking really needed and is it fair? Is it really hurting anyone? Why do I want my child to do this? BE reflective
“Sometimes when children don’t do what they are told, the problem is with what they were told to do.” –Alfie Kohn
What children cannot do: Sharing, taking turns, collect information, cannot empathize ( saying please, thank you, I’m sorry), sitting for long periods of time, etc….
2. Figure out the need! -why wont they stay in bed at night? Million different reasons….
“We should attribute to children the best possible motive consistent with the facts” – Nel Noddings
3. Stay calm and follow through

Disciplining Skills:
*Wants vs. Needs: If you are going to ask your child to do something, you need to be prepared for them to say No and for that to be OK. Otherwise, do not ask!
-When you put your foot down on important issues, make more room for choice in other areas.
*Follow Through - one of the biggest issues is that we stand in another room and ask our children to do something over and over again. This is developmentally not appropriate. So if you are going to tell them to do something, you need to follow through.
* Problem Solving:
“It is better to talk than to yell,
It is better to explain that to talk,
and it is better to elicit their ideas, than to explain.” –Alfie

Steps to Problem Solving: Kids learn to make good decisions by making decisions, NOT by following directions.
1. Diffuse the situation: Active Listening: (between two children, this could be stopping the pulling of hair ).
*** never talk to children in a way you would not speak to another adult (this includes tone of voice).
-Children need to feel heard before they can move on and listen to you
-You may have to active listen many times
2. State the problem
3. Ask for ideas first, then offer ideas. If the problem is between two children, I only offer my ideas if both of the children want to hear them. *** with younger non verbal children, you will offer your ideas and this will look a lot like redirecting.
4. Come to an agreeable solution for all parties- this will take time and does not always need to happen in the moment.

*Modeling Time Outs: When you get worked up and cannot stay calm, YOU need a time out. Step away and model for your children a time out. Breathe, go into another room, have spouse take over, etc…. whatever will make you calmer and able to work with your child again.
Time outs for children: There are never moments when I would use time out in its traditional super nanny fashion, however, there are times when a child’s safety is at stake or the time needed to problem solve isn’t possible, or a child simply is unable at a particular moment to live up to their end of the agreement when I would hold them or shadow them or remove them from a situation, but always there with them, listening to them, explaining, and allowing them bodily freedom whenever possible.

When they HAVE to, but don’t WANT to:
1. Use least intrusive strategy- don’t argue or yell, be prepared to repeat yourself, allow for bad days, children have them too, speak to them with respect (not in front of other people)
2. Be honest with them- acknowledge when something is not much fun, tell them you don’t like it either….
3. Explain the rationale- they are entitled to a rationale and not just “because I said so….”
4. Turn it into a game- toothbrush airplane game
5. Set an example- all rules apply to adults too
6. Give them as much choice as possible- with whom, what, when, where????

Rule #1: If you are in public, ignore everyone around you! The more worried you are about how other people will judge your parenting skills or your child’s tantrum, the greater the chance that you’ll respond with too much control and too little patience. This is not about what people think of you, it is about what your child needs.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

parenting book review: The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff

The front cover of my book has a quote by John Holt that states, "If the world could be saved by a book, this just might be the book."

After reading this, I was expecting quite an eye opening experience. A friend told me I would feel quite guilty after reading this book. Neither of these things happened for me.

I was expecting a list of rules, a background on where attachment parenting came from, and well.... a plan to change the world. I also got none of these things. I never usually disagree with Holt.

The book is an anthropological view of the Yequana people in the South American jungles and how they function especially in regards to the care of infants and young children.

It was fascinating to hear about this culture which guides the premise for the entire book. The culture is one that seems to have been untouched by the western world which is always so inspiring to me. There were many things about how they view life, work, and relationships that refreshed in me the goals I have for myself and for my family.

There were moments of utter sadness as the author describes what it must be like for an infant left to cry alone in his crib at night or one who is left in a car seat and not held against a loving adult. This is the section I think she got right on, it definitely hit a chord in my soul

There were moments of guilt when I would read about how these creeping and crawling babies are left to explore their surroundings without fear that they will get hurt. She describes a situation where a baby was playing just next to a five foot gaping hole and would go right up to the edge but never over. This happened multiple times in her observation. The idea that children have instincts to protect them from danger and we do not need to do all of that for them was quite a revelation to me while I spent my days keeping my toddler from dashing into on coming traffic. Could it actually be my overriding of his own instinct that possibly diminished part of all of this natural tendency to protect himself?

There were moments of doubt when she would take every anti-social personality trait and link it back to deprivation in infancy. While I do believe that deprivation in infancy can cause some major problems and I will even give her that all the things she mentions could be from a lack of these "continuum principles" as she calls them, I cannot believe that it is the only possible cause. Also some traits she mentions are to me not negative attributes at all like becoming an actor for example. I do not believe all actors had a deprived infancy and therefore need to be loved by all. So this chapter was a little far reaching for me.

The book also ends talking about how we can get back into preserving the continuum in our daily lives. The suggestions are good.

Overall, this was not a groundbreaking book for me. It was very interesting, but as far as a great parenting book, it does not make my list. Those needing guiding principles for attachment parenting, there are so many other books I would recommend:

The Natural Child by Jan Hunt
and simply
Attachment Parenting by Dr. Sears

However if you are looking for anthropology or deep look at why attachment parenting principles are so needed from this view, this would be a good read.
Basically, if you have lots of time for reading, put this on your list.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Things that keep me awake at night....

I have said before that it is very difficult for me to even go out in public and watch parents interact with their children, I have told you the story of when I stepped in quite passionately (some might say interfered, actually some did) for the child being hit by his dad, and I have mentioned to you how leashes on children make me cringe.

These are not just ravings of a complete lunatic (well, maybe a little). One of the main reasons I write this blog is to get this stuff out of my head and into writing. I need this blog. I need it because I don't have a school to run anymore as an outlet to help families, I need it to remind me of the parent I never want to become, but mostly I need it so I can attempt to sleep at night.

Let me give you an example of what it is like to be me. While visiting with another family, I watched the dad walk up behind his baby and wipe his nose startling the baby in the process. Not once did this happen, not twice, but three times. If I had not known better, I would have thought the dad was purposely trying to be a stealth agent whose main goal was a surprise attack. The fourth time it happened, I was holding the baby and he startled me in the process too. I told the dad that later on when he least expected it, I was going to walk up behind him, grab his face and wipe HIS nose!

Now I did say it in a rather funny joking tone because well I guess I was trying to get the point across in a way that would make the most impact. Those who know me well, know that I have always struggled with this. Most people don't say everything they are thinking. When it comes to children and parenting especially, I DO. People have told me often that I could make more impact by changing my delivery. You know, the whole you get more flies with honey concept. Over several years of learning the this the hard way, I do it somewhat better, but here is why I continue to struggle with it.

Lets say I was at my sisters house and I came up behind her when she wasn't expecting it and wiped her nose. Now knowing my sisters and their families everyone in the room would probably laugh hysterically, everyone except maybe my sister. But imagine that I repeated it over and over again. Eventually, people in the room would at the very least say, "Tracy, knock it off!" There may even be a few that thought it was immature and I am pretty damn sure my sister would be pissed. And no one would question those people who stood up for my sister, not one person.

Well, that father was the one who was irritated, it was all over his face. How dare I tell him how to raise his child? How dare I interfere? Why don't I just keep my mouth shut and mind my own business?

Because I can't! I cannot keep my mouth shut when people treat babies and children in ways no one would stand if it was happening to an adult. It boggles my mind that so many people see children abused or at least disrespected frequently by the ones who are suppose to love them the most.

This situation is probably one many people would not even notice. And if I am to be honest, it is not the worst thing in the world to do to your child. I choose this example because it illustrates my point well and because it is one most people would not think twice about. Some might step in if this father had hit his child, but many would not. Most people would step in for foul treatment of a dog before anyone would question a parent and child interaction. And just think about how many things we say to children that we would never utter to our best friends.

So I will continue to work on the phrasing of things, but I will not stop speaking up because when I keep quiet, it implies that the action was OK and I will not teach my son that it is OK to treat small people this way.

Maybe I worry too much... maybe I AM a lunatic... I know I offend people often!

To me I guess it is the price I pay for being me and for not allowing these things to simply tear me up inside.

And as for sleeping at night.... I don't see this coming any time soon.

Meanwhile, I will continue to write, to read, and to educate when given the opportunity. I will begin here. Over the next few months, I will be starting a parenting book review on my blog. Many of these will be reviews of my favorites, but I also want to read all those popular ones out there and give my two cents on those as well. It should be worth months of free therapy! Bring on the books!