Archive for September, 2009

eggs, pancakes, and bridges

natural bridge, santa cruz

The conversation at breakfast this morning focused on feelings and giving value and attention to our children’s feelings. But the question arose: how do you bridge the gap between the kid’s feelings and concern for others feelings?

I like to think that modeling is enough. If we focus on our kids feelings, honoring them, responding to them, and express our own feelings as well, then children will automatically care about another person’s feelings. But my opinion was challenged this morning. Are we teaching children that only their feelings matter?

What do you think?

Does a kid have to go to school and get beat up to understand that hitting hurts?

Do they have to have an insult hurled at them to recognize that words hurt?

What is the bridge?


September 30, 2009 at 6:54 pm 1 comment

i feel… tired


Even with every intention of keeping things simple, all that loving we’ve been receiving has worn us out.

2 grammas

2 great grammas

2 granpas

2 uncles

2 aunts

2 neighborhood girlfriends for xi

and more…

We’re not complaining, well actually I guess we are. Not about the showering of love, we want that, but about things kids complain about when choosing love showers over sleep. Like snacks not being quite right,  sisters using the exact toy they were just about to use, finding missing shoes.

I can’t point fingers either. Today I pulled myself together enough to use the preferred phrasing: “I am feeling really frustrated.”

But then I added with great force: “BY YOU TWO!”

Oh well. I’ll try again. And again. And again.

September 29, 2009 at 11:11 pm Leave a comment

i feel… love


We took those plane rides to get to this guy.

It was his birthday on Saturday and a huge team of helpful loving people worked together to surprise him on his 65th birthday. My loving partners Kris and Nathan are holding down the Feeleez fort while I am away, my mom secretly picked us up at the airport and showered us with grandmotherly love (including paintings sessions in her beautiful studio), my stepdad made meals for us, and my stepmom bought the airfare and concocted this grand plan to give my Dad the BEST GIFT he could imagine. And surprised he was! We walked in to the party like regular guests and SHOCKED him. He was in a hazy daze of love and gratitude for several hours.

Echo leaped into Grandpa’s arms and stayed there the duration of the party. Watching these girls flourish under the safe wings of their extended family makes me think: even if you make every parenting “mistake” in the book, if you can surround your children with people that adore them and love them unconditionally you are doing them a great service.


September 28, 2009 at 4:05 pm 1 comment

do over…(airplane style) or, “they were so good!”


Xi, Echo, and I just got off an airplane. The girls had had plenty of food, water, sleep, and entertainment, so we were fortunate, they had a good time. Inevitably we received that particular comment that makes me squirm: “Oh your girls were so good!”

I feel squrimy about it because the girls are good people no matter what kind of experience they have on an airplane. So I wonder what that person means. Does she mean they were quiet? Does she mean she wasn’t too bothered by my parenting style?

A do over of this interaction, for me, would include talking about the feelings that fellow traveler was having.

What if she said: Oh I feel so grateful that your kids were content. I feel so anxious when I hear children crying. I am happy that everyone had a good time!

or: I feel so relieved that your children were quiet. I am so nervous when I am on a plane and I was worried that their noises would make me feel more agitated.

or: I feel so great being around children so I am so happy that the girls were entertained. It gave me an opportunity to watch and enjoy them.

or: I feel really terrible when I see people parenting poorly, so I was happy to see that we agree on how to treat children.

even if they said: I am so glad your kids kept their mouths shut! I’ve had a hard day and loud, upset kids is the last thing I needed. 

I would even appreciate the last version. I want real conversations that reflect the particulars of each person’s perspective and the feelings that come with it. I want the girls to know they are good people even if they feel upset on an airplane. I want them to know that all there ever is feelings and reactions.

September 27, 2009 at 3:12 pm Leave a comment

cut and paste empathy

rescuersThe Rescuers is a book about two mice rescuing an orphan girl named Penny from a raging red head bent on finding diamonds. They are successful, of course, but in the end she is not reunited with her parents and family because she has none.

Let’s remember that in our house the large frying pan must be snuggled with the small frying pan because they are mother and baby. So the fact that Penny is still without a mother even after her traumatic adventure is too much for Echo, just too painful. So one night after  bucketfulls of hugs and:

“I know you’re really sad. You want Penny to be with her mom. Oh wow you’re really sad!”,

with no end in sight to the tears, we got out of bed and found the pens, scissors, and glue. I squeezed a mom in between Penny and the newsman (who is acting as a papa).

Sometimes empathy can look like this, not the “right” series of words thrown at a crying child, but a way of seeing them and their world, a way of being with them through their struggles, and in this case literally crafting a solution.

September 25, 2009 at 3:33 pm 3 comments

you just never know

Our Feeleez poster is on the way to the bathroom, so must of our impromptu poster sessions come not during a particularly emotional moment but more from a passing opportunity. And the longer the poster is up the more we find out about our kids. They are not always pointing to what they are feeling, more often they use is at a jumping off point to talk to us about their world. In this video we find out that for Echo each Feeleez is either a mama, a papa, or a kid, highlighting for us once again how highly she values kids being with their parents.

September 24, 2009 at 8:24 pm 1 comment

so your kid is looking at you like this…


So your kid is looking at you like this. Where do you even begin? Hard to name this one, and let’s be honest, a series of “are you feeling mad?, “are you feeling angry?”, “are you feeling…?” might not be welcome. So what to do? In this case you might want to scroll through your mental list of what your child needs and start there. Here are some common needs:





















to matter





Space. Now that one might apply in this situation. You never know.

September 24, 2009 at 3:52 am 2 comments

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