She's My Inspiration in Life

Not many people get to see the fun, sweet, creative and inquisitive daughter of ours. She's an observer. She's an old soul. She might not tell you "hi" or "thank you", or openly give you a hug, but she speaks from her soul. She's 5 and feels shy a lot. She lacks confidence in some areas of life, but has an inner drive to climb mountains. She inspires me to keep doing more and more to help our youth. Those that have patience with her and show her their silly sides will win her heart and hear her beautiful words. I hope you can be one of the lucky ones!

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The Leaf Man

I just love her creativity!

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Is the Easter Bunny Real?

As we sat in silence on a long car ride, I could sense that Millie was in deep thought.  I let her be and encouraged the silence.  Then she speaks.  "Mommy, is the Easter bunny real or just dressed up?"  I was amazed that this 4-year -old was already curious and questioning life's BIGGEST questions.  With a big smile on my face, I responded with, "That is a great question."  I continued to tell her the truth.   " I only have met "dressed up" Easter bunnies, but that doesn't mean there is not a real one.  I believe anything is possible."  She seemed to be happy with my answer. 

A few weeks later, on another silent car ride, she asks, "Mommy, who built the world?"  I am just amazed and excited to here her questions about life.  Again, I answer in honesty.  "People have different ideas about that.  I believe God, the Universe and each and every one of us created our world, but one day you might have a different feeling or opinion about how this world came about and that is okay." 

I love these teachable moments created by Millie's curious mind.  I want to encourage her deep thoughts and her questions.  I want her to know that she might have a different opinion than others and that is okay.  I hope she learns to respect that we are all on our own paths with different knowledge and opinions.  I will guide her in learning these valuable lessons through my actions, my emotions, my responses and my own teachable moments.  As I teach her, she teaches me. This is what parenting is all about and all relationships right?  We challenge others as they challenge us.  We learn from each other and we grow and expand into our true self.  It all starts with a curious mind, a question and some courage.

Traveling with Millie

Last week my mom, Emilia, and I flew to Canada to see family.  This was Millie's second plane ride.  She was too young to remember her first ride on an airplane so this was basically her first time.  I loved to watch my daughter's excitement about getting on the plane.  It's refreshing to witness a child's excitement about something that has become a hassle to most adults.  The best part of the trip was being able to just enjoy our moments together.  I didn't have to worry about starting dinner, cleaning the house, or walking the dogs.  Millie had an opportunity to get my full attention.  We went to sleep together listening to people read us stories on storylineonline.net.  We ran around with laughter and not a care in the world.   We had true quality time together.  It is nourishing to our relationship to get away from the hustle and bustle of life every once in awhile.  Our relationship becomes deeper each time we have these nights and days away from home.  I am so grateful for these opportunities.

The Dreaded Swimming Lessons

Last summer, when Millie was three years old,  we attempted swimming lessons.  The first one was traumatic.  I cried.  This was just your basic 8-week swimming lesson course.  She had a hard time.  The next lesson was canceled and then the pool had to be shut down for maintenance.  Millie got lucky and didn't have to go back.  This summer I signed her up for private swim lessons.  I wasn't aware how intense the lessons were going to be.  I guess I should have known when I found out the lessons were 10 minutes and only four days.  The first lesson was immensely painful for her and me and even Justin.  Justin almost pulled her out. We were not prepared for this intensity. She cried "Mommy" over and over.  It hurt me to not save her.   I have heard about these type of swim lessons, but I opted out of these kind because I didn't think Millie would do well with the intensity. Somehow I signed her up for the lessons I was avoiding.  I was avoiding them out of fear.  I fear watching her suffer.  I just realized that I fear something more-her falling in a pool and not being able to swim.  I have to continue these lessons for her safety.  She will gain so much confidence from this experience.  Update:  She is a swimming machine!  She wants to swim everyday.  Everyone in our family learned a valuable lesson from this.  Just because you are scared doesn't mean you shouldn't do it.  Our fear keeps us in our comfort zone too much.  I think Millie learned that its okay to be scared, but not okay to not try. 

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Our Sweetheart

Today I left Millie's school feeling proud and so very happy.  Her teacher told me that millie is "our sweetheart ".  She is laid back, kind, and always giving. She never gets upset. I was a little shocked that she never gets upset, but it makes sense she would get more upset at home than at school. I teared up and realized that I know this about my daughter, but I do not take enough moments to notice it and enjoy it. The most I could pray and hope for is that she is kind.  I don't care if she is a leader, makes lots of money or changes the world. I just want her to be kind, and truly at peace in life.  In this way, she will change the world.  As Gandhi said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."  This will be my focus as I raise my daughter.

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My Happiness Alarm

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Millie, my daughter, has become my little happiness alarm.  She knows immediately when I am feeling sad or angry.  When she feels it, she says, "are you happy?".  She asks me this question with a big smile.  If I say no, she gives me a hug.  One time she sang me a song to get me happy.  Of course, as soon as she asks me if I'm happy, a big smile comes across my face.  I feel like she puts me in check.  It's like she is there to remind me that the small frustrations do not matter and I need to stay present.  Everyday I am in awe and in amazement of what this soul, who happens to be my daughter in this lifetime, can teach me.  I wonder what other lessons we have taught each other in other lifetimes and I am curious as to what lessons we still have for each other.

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Is Your Child Growing You Up? Insights from Chapter 5 of "The Conscious Parent"

I have been getting great insight from Shefali Tsabary's "The Conscious Parent".   Chapter 5 really hit home with me.  She mentions in the first paragraph that if our children observe us inviting opportunities for introspection and our ability to admit our faults then our children will be fearless about their flaws.  I take this to mean that our children need to see us make mistakes and admit that we make mistakes and be okay with the fact that we make mistakes.  This will help them continue to try new things without having the fear of failure.  Our children pick up many habits from us.  They notice how we wake up in the morning, how we react when something breaks, and how we react to that very annoying traffic. Tsabary says we need to "face up" to our reactivity. Our children awaken our unresolved emotional issues, which cause us, as parents, to react.  It's not our children that are the problem, but our own unconsciousness.  We need to realize this in order for transformation to occur.  She says we have inherited an "emotional signature" from our parents.  This means that we have absorbed our parents' emotional energy and our children will do the same with us.  Most of us were not taught to access our inner stillness as children.    We didn't learn to observe our emotions and just sit with them and accept them.  Because of this suppression of emotions, we are triggered by people who evoke these emotions in us.  Tsabary emphasizes "that no one could evoke these emotions in us were they not already part of our shadow."

Tsabary goes on to say that the parenting journey evokes more emotional reactivity in us than anything else and this is an opportunity for spiritual growth.  I love how she says, "...where every moment is a meeting of the spirits, and both parent and child appreciate that each dances on a spiritual path that's unique, holding hands yet alone.  As parents, we are susceptible to being triggered because our children are always around us and continually in need of us.  Take time to sit with these triggers and look within in order to shift out of reactivity and give a response that is more grounded.  "When we resist the way life manifests itself in our children, our intimate partner, or our friends, it's because we refuse to accept life's as is form."  Tsabary really resonated with me when I read this.  It makes sense to me.  At this point, I think it's more helpful to me when thinking about my husband.  I've reacted so long to his lack of not wanting to be social, but I think I am finally coming to a point where I accept what it is.   Tsabary says to chant the mantra, "It is what it is."  This really helps me.  When Millie refuses to eat her dinner, I don't try to bribe her anymore.  I just say to myself, "It is what it is."  It's silly that these words help me relinquish control, but they do.  By relinquishing control, I am engaging in life from the stand point of seeking to learn, which is one of the greatest lessons learned.  When Millie has a tantrum and I find myself accepting it and just letting her go through it, I am able to pause and find a better response rather than yelling at her to stop.  Children feel their emotions in waves.  They feel sad one minute and happy the next.  This happens because they do not block their emotions like adults have come to do. It seems like with maturity comes emotional blockage.  We learn to suppress our emotions instead of learning to deal with them appropriately.

To tame our anxiety, according to Tsabary, we need to accept it.  If we accept it, it will wash over us, but if we react to it, then it will turn into a tsunami.  She says, "life happens, pure and simple", but it is a willing partner in our journey into awareness.

So, after reading this chapter I ask myself, "Is my child growing me up?"  And I say, "She is most definitely growing me up in ways I never know I could grow."

Sometimes when I read these words of advice from spiritual teachers, I think...Do these people really live perfectly like this?  Always present and aware with every moment?   Does Tsabary stay nonreactive with her children?  From what I've read from her, I think she says that we are always in process and always striving to get there.   We might start by just being aware of our reactivity and that it is coming from our unconsciousness.  Then, we start to slowly lessen our reactivity by sitting with the emotion or maybe just having less and less of a reaction from our unconsciousness.    Tsabary says the conscious parent lives by this dictate, "I expect to be triggered, entangled, overwhelmed, and to engage in egoic parenting at times.  However, I will use the lessons embedded in these occassions to evolve as a person and to help my children evolve as well."

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Meltdown Central

Millie has been a fairly temperate 2-year-old thus far.  This week she has shown me more of the 2- year old moodiness and most of it has been tolerable, but this afternoon I had to sing the Daniel Tiger song about anger over and over.  Do you know what song I am talking about? " If you're feeling really mad and you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four!" I was singing that song to help myself and hopefully help Millie at the same time.  It all started when I did the most horrible thing of taking the iPad out of the iPad case.  For  a 2- year- old I guess this is detrimental. She is so used to having that case on that it threw her into a tantrum. She ran off crying "my iPad my iPad" over and over.  I find myself starting to react.  I want to scream and throw myself on the floor too.  So much anxiety and reactiveness builds up inside of me, but I don't let it blow.  I stopped myself and just let her do her thing, while I did my thing (which is down a shot of tequila..just kidding...no really...just kidding).  I took some deep breaths then grabbed her and started the bedtime ritual early.  As I am starting her bath, she decides she wants to brush her teeth first.  I say, "Let's take a bath first, then brush our teeth".  Well, that didn't make her happy and she went into another tantrum.  Why didn't I just let her brush her teeth?  I should have.  What's the big deal?  The big deal is that getting Millie to brush her teeth correctly is something I dread every night.   She just sucks on the toothbrush and doesn't actually brush.  When I try to help her, she screams.  It's an ongoing battle.  So this is why after dealing with one tantrum, I just wanted to mellow out while she mellowed out in the bath.  Getting her to fall asleep was also a struggle.  I can assure you that once she drifted off, I was having myself a bubble bath of my own.  So looking back on the day, what could I have done differently?  I think maybe I should have held her and showed her that the ipad was okay without a case.  I, also, could have just let her brush her teeth before her bath.  I want her to know that her decisions are important too and I should let her make decisions when it's an appropriate time and place for a 2-year-old to make a decision.  Now, I just need to find the strength and energy to stay calm and present at the end of the day when my energy has been drained.

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Spilled Milk

I always told myself to not be that mom that freaks out over spilled milk. It, literally, happened this morning. My precious two- year-old daughter does not always sleep well. She was up, on and off, throughout the night and then wakes up at her usual 5:45 am. It's hard being a tired mom. I think all moms are tired. It's hard being a mom no matter what the circumstances. At least, if you are trying to do the best you can do, it's hard. After a restless night and an early rising, I actually spilled some milk. As I grunt and whine, I hear my daughter say, "Are you okay mommy?" My heart melts and all frustration has left me. I smile and say, "Yes, I just spilled some milk. Thanks for asking." I think to myself that she probably thinks I'm always in a bad mood. I don't want her thinking that. I need to try harder at being aware and conscious in this life. I need to do this to make myself happy and to show my daughter how to be happy in life.  One day, bubbles will not make her smile and giggle so easily, but it doesn't have to be that way.   Once she realizes not everyone in this world will be nice to her, I hope she can realize it doesn't need to affect her happiness. I want to teach her to have inner peace and awareness. My journey into my own inner peace and self awareness is always in the process, but has really started to come to life since I had a child. Something about the experience started my awakening.  I work on being conscious and just Being with my child everyday, but it is a constant struggle.  I'm a parent trying to raise a conscious child as I, myself, try to live in the present moment. I'm letting go of my anxieties and frustrations starting now.

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