Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Honoring Kami McBride

Kami and I have floated around each other for the last several years in this small Waldorf community. She has this amazing smile and style you just want to get to know better. But, getting to know her has been a challenge. Kami's the mother of a child that requires a lot of attention. Being an herbalist, this child could not have picked a better home. Kami and her husband have worked tirelessly to help their son. They've moved not once but twice to try to find the right environment for him. Now, they can finally breathe a bit. They found the right fit with Mulberry Farm. Her son, like many children, needs to really work his body in order to be calm and focused. Unfortunately, this does not happen in most schools. More and more, this is what's going to be needed for children and instead they're being offered less and less of it and drug companies are more than happy to hand over the meds. I know Kami's journey has been painfully hard and we can go back and forth with the whole discussion about medication, but really, I just want to celebrate her for a moment. She is giving it all she's got and more! She is no shrinking violet and the courage she has should inspire us all. Oh, and somewhere in there, she happened to write a book. Cheers Kami, you can finally see sunlight through the trees. Visit Kami's herbal world and sign-up for one of her amazing classes!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

We Can't Just Hand Them Back

  They handed me the baby... then I handed him back. The nurse asked if I was ok, "my ears feel kind of muffled", I said. She hit an alarm on the wall and the room filled with people trying to save my life. One woman read off my blood pressure, 50's/20's and one was screaming in my ear to keep me from closing my eyes. One nurse stuck me with needles and another was massaging my uterus, all her weight pressing on my abdomen to try and stop the bleeding. The phone was ringing in the background, family wanted to hear about the new baby and there was my husband, leaning against the wall holding our little boy in his arms. I lifted my head and focused on my husbands eyes, "I'm ok" I kept saying. I knew that baby needed me and I was determined to fight.

  We work so hard to protect our children when they're babies. Why then, as they grow,  do we give our power away and hand them into systems that don't fit?  We get so scared and intimidated by all the professionals that show up to tell us the "right" way. Afraid of making a mistake, we often forget to check-in with ourselves. How are these children suppose to learn to be in the world if they're drugged throughout these vital years of development? Is it just too much work to give them tools?
Oliver Fiddling at the May Faire

  Oliver's  life started out intense and continued to be so. A child with sensory processing issues, he's always been my teacher. We were told after about six 30 minute visits in an office, to try "several" different medications. When questioned, then of course, the Dr said, he was more worried about me. Oh, well that feels great! You want to drug my child because you're worried I can't cope? That helps! Great support  Doc! The Dr. was defensive...we left. I had piles of paperwork from the short stint in public school telling me how "high risk" he was. Eventually, I just had to throw it out. How could I help him if his fate was already sealed? I spent many a day waiting in the kindergarten yard for him to be sent out. Oliver and I would water the yard and look for creatures because he couldn't handle circle time.  Watching him struggle was the most painful experience of my life. I just wanted him to be ok. We both had so much to learn and we did. Through trial and error ultimately I realized the I WAS the professional. I knew what Oliver needed and I had to garner the courage to take it on.
Oliver Surfing

   He's learned so much since those early days. How to take care of his needs, to recognize what  triggers his emotions and how to work through it all. He's learning to take responsibility for his role in the dynamics that show up for him. Oliver has never been one to let things slide, you'll know just how he feels about something. He can't tolerate injustice and comes alive when inspired. Homework can be like running all of our nails down a chalkboard but we work daily on what's acceptable behavior and what's not. We've done private school, public school and homeschooling. We have learned to be flexible and are taking a year off from the Waldorf school he attends to do a bit of traveling. Schooling on the road! We're very excited!

  What happens to a child when we don't allow their life to unfold naturally? What happens when we mask it to make life easier in the short term? I know that people will say that some children really do need medication, and perhaps this is true, but how many are being medicated that just need time to grow into themselves? I just think we need to really step back and take the time needed for these very special children. These are very important questions to ask ourselves. It may not be convenient or easy but this is the path we have been set upon. It's so important to trust our intuition. If we get quiet enough, that gut feeling will tell us what's needed. Listen carefully and new paths emerge. We are stronger than they'll ever let us know.
Poppy Peach I am honored that this post can also be read on the amazing website
Piece of My Heart Productions.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tree Little Birds

Our cherry tree is full of fledglings all making crazy demands of their mothers who are continuously  feeding their loud, little beaks. Such is motherhood, we are always working to fill the needs of our little birds. My own little fledgling was up all night with a fever. Cool, wet wash cloths and lemon balm tea in tiny sips filled my night. It's amazing to me that my husband can sleep straight through it. Mothers are so dialed in to their children. One little whimper and we're up to check on them. Another day home from school. She's finally resting but those poor robins will be busy all day!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Simply Magic

Like most, right now I'm feeling the rush of May and not in a good way. Things have seemed so out of control and I've been left feeling depressed. This morning, the kids stayed home with me and it's been so magical for all of us. Oliver's enjoying putting his body to use in the garden with weeding, trimming roses and artichokes. The girls helped pick more onions and leeks out in the big garden. The magic of it all brought me back to such a happy place. Seeing their feet beneath the long, weepy branches of the mulberry and poppies filled with honey bees. What you won't get in theses pictures are the sweet smells of berries, the earthy good humus and the sounds of children truly in their element. Very, very happy. Good day to all!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I Am Not Enough?

Isn't this our worst fear as mothers, to not be enough? So the media strikes us at the core. Divide and conquer. If we want to encourage more mothers to breastfeed, then we must support one another not compete. Education and leading by example, not the confrontational, in your face, holier than though soap box routine, is what will inspire. We need to share our insecurities and frustrations. We need to be honest. Then we can be sisters and raise our children in an ever growing village of empowered women. I don't ever pretend to get it all and struggle daily with my choices as a mother. Right in this moment, my kids want a conversation and here I sit typing away. We all struggle with guilt, housekeeping, finances, discipline, not to mention our relationships with our partners. The more we can share our struggles, the more we laugh at our imperfections, the healthier our communities will become.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Busy May Pics

May Faire at the Davis Waldorf School
Daisy Chains in Pacific Grove
Sea Anemones on Molly's Field Trip
Molly at the Tide Pools
Oliver Freezing in the Jeep! It's a little colder on the coast!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

She Saw a Faerie

When Molly was little, she saw a faerie sitting in a flower in her aunties garden. She described it in beautiful detail and yet I can't remember what she said. There was no doubt in what she had seen. She was certain and I was not surprised. Children are so open and dreamy. I was, however, surprised when she whispered in my ear the other day that she had just seen another one. She's quickly approaching her early teen years and I catch glimpses of her letting go of her little girl ways. Breathing in and out, she flutters between growing up and needing to be a little girl. Perhaps the faerie came back one more time to say goodbye. A song comes to mind.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

An everyday chance not wasted - by Poppy's husband, Michael Nichols

...with Poppy and our daughter off to a wedding shower, my son and I have some things we need to accomplish on this sunny, breezy and mellow Sunday.

Our son has been mowing a few common area lawns last Summer and this Spring and has decided that he would like to do more...and make a little cash!  He has some hand drawn flyers around the village and has gotten a few customers.  He has plenty to learn about communicating with people about schedules and payments; and he also has plenty to learn about doing a thorough job of mowing a lawn.  Some of the customers' lawns needed mowing today and another one needed some follow up communication.  All of these people (customers) are perfectly capable of doing it themselves, but they're giving him the opportunity to work.

...and in that, was revealed MY opportunity.We got out there together and got into some great father/son stuff.  I was afforded a chance to work with him on communicating with people directly, making a schedule and sticking to it...and some hands on training with the mower.  The special part was that it allowed me to be in the moment with who he is and how he learns and really try to recognize how he best took it doing this, I received the gift of patience and connection. Not only connected with him, but also my connection to fatherhood.

We definitely do not all do things the same way, and I always hope so badly that I am doing it right.  I am also aware that I am not the first person to have that hope.  My most important gift today was in the form of this lesson: to always try to recognize the subtle opportunities to help my children learn and to do it in such a way that leaves a lasting impression, no matter how long it takes, how many times through it and how different it may be from how anyone else may be doing it.  When the connection is there - I am doing a good job.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Very Important Tip!

If you have a child that already struggles with anxious behavior, adding a high carb diet on top of it can drive everyone to the edge. Setting the day up right by starting off the morning with a breakfast that is higher in protein will give you, your child and the poor teacher a more joyful experience! This doesn't have to mean meat, although we do eat meat, but a handful of almonds is perfect. Oliver carries a baggie with almonds to snack on throughout the day and he tells me it really helps him focus better. Try to avoid juice, cereal and breads in the morning. I just notice a huge difference! I always laugh to myself when someone says their child is taking meds for hyperactivity and they're sucking on a juice box playing video games. Unplug, reduce sugar and give the poor kid a chance! :) It CAN be that simple!