mental collage

July 17, 2010 at 2:10 pm 1 comment

I’ve been a little out of touch with my thoughts and feelings as of late, basically too busy to watch them float by, and never, ever, alone. Well there is the six-minute ride to yoga class but it goes by really fast, and then once I’m there my mind fuzzes out into hamstring awareness. After class I usually meet my brood at our coffee shop, I am afforded four minutes of transit time between class and latte but after bending and breathing for an hour I’m like a leaf floating down the alleyway river. In fact yesterday I was so airy and blank that en route to my family I allowed myself to drift right into the arms of a sidewalk solicitor. Usually I steel myself with a ready answer as to why, thank you very much, I don’t have a few minutes to save the environment. But yesterday I couldn’t formulate any thoughts, couldn’t drum up any resistance, and thus, was netted immediately. I forked over the contents of my wallet and signed up for at least a year of unwanted emails and environmentally themed phone calls before the tide sailed me forward to my waiting family.

Short story? No concrete helpful musings.

But there are bits and pieces that occasionally surface:

1. For all those waiting in suspense, (ha ha), my new bikini is day-glo melon-orange, a color that looked fabulous on the white shores of the turquoise gulf but feels a little blingy on the banks of the Clark Fork. But then again, after I squat on some gravel, or shove a few more toddlers in toobies up a sandy slope, it might just be dingy enough to pull off. I’ll give it a go and let you know.

2. Nathan and I have been reading Magical Child by Joseph Chilton Pearce and feeling newly inspired to raise our children with consciousness and magic. One thing Pearce describes is the almost super-natural abilities that children possess and can utilize if certain elements are in place, particularly the belief on the part of the parents that these powers are perfectly normal, almost a given. So when Echo picks up the novel that I have been reading aloud to her and says that she is reading it by herself now. I believe her. If she wants to skip letter identification and sounding out words, and move right on to instant comprehension-at-a-glance, perfect. Acting as though that is reasonable is the first step in making that a possibility for her. There is more, so much more in this book. It is mind bending stuff and really exciting. Magical Child is a dense read but worth it.

3. Empathy can be accessed quite easily by taking out the “but” from all of our parental explanations.

Mom! I want my other sock.

I know you do honey, but I can’t seem to find it anywhere.

Waaaah! I fell and hurt my arm!

Oh, you sure did. You scraped your knee, but, you know that wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t been running. I told you that running isn’t allowed at the pool.

Mom can we watch a movie, pleeeaaaasssse?

No, my love, we aren’t watching a movie tonight.

Ah! But I REALLY want to watch one!

I know you do honey. You really like movies but it’s just too late tonight. It’s almost bedtime.

If you remove the bold print the result is empathy, pure empathy. Explanations and information are really important. Never explaining the reasons behind our decisions is not good parenting, but so many of us rush past the empathy part, mush it right into the explanation, which neuters both.

4. Nathan has been writing some really incredible articles over on “A Beautiful Place of the World”. At times I feel a bit inadequate, as my posts are generally anecdotal first and educational/helpful second, and Nathan’s are like well thought out, mini-research papers, but most of the time I feel proud, and so glad that these ideas are entering the world so gracefully.

5. I’ve got a running list in my mind of reasons why one should never split from the father/mother of their children. The newest addition is summer scheduling. The amount of time Nathan spends figuring out how the girls we share can make it to the various summer events is equal to a part-time job.

6. Children are good for getting over body image bullshit. Days on the river mean days in bathing suits, which can be difficult if you are tinkering with thoughts about what your body should look like. If you don’t have children you might set yourself up in a flattering semi-reclined position, on a clean towel, with a chic, thigh-hiding sarong close at hand. But if you do have kids, or if you have our kids, there is no reclining, semi or otherwise. Our days at the river include trekking, in a bikini, toddlers on hips, up the most traveled biking/walking trail that runs through the middle of town (basically the most exposed you will ever be in your entire life), and dipping back into the river to float back to our pile of bike trailers and snacks. And when athletic-minded little boys are with us, the day also inevitably includes a foray onto the nearby football field. A bikini by the river is one thing but a bikini on a football field requires a different kind of confidence.

7. I’ve also been reading the Red Tent by Anita Diamant, and musing over rites of passage. When I got my first period I slumped sadly in the living room. There were no songs to be sung, no dancing in the moonlight, no gathering of loving matriarchs. I feel sad about that and want to do things differently for the girls in our community, I want to celebrate with them, guide them into womanhood with pride.

There might be more, I’m sure, but there are currently three little beauties, with summer reading charts in hand, ready to cash them in at the library for ice cream coupons.

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Entry filed under: empathy, parenting principles. Tags: , , , , , .

how we roll Broken Record

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Amy McGregor  |  July 17, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Wow. A lot of things comments I want to make on this post- I’m relating heavily! Shared parenting=super lame… but we discussed that today. Any way you look at it it’s nearly impossible to do it “right”.

    I’ve never been into the idea of a bikini, but I’ve been seriously rethinking this position being pregnant for the last time in my life. Maybe I should just take advantage of how I feel most beautiful 😉 if only for a couple of months.

    I had a long story to replay about giving empathy, but my world of young girls is not allowing me to relay this scenario without constant distraction and now I’ve lost my steam and momentum- but we should talk about it soon.

    Lastly, I’m SUPER excited about what you’re saying about a red party! I just read an article from Mothering aloud to Jae about having a first menses party and she seemed really excited about it! It was anti-climactic for me- not traumatic or devastating, but not special either. Have you ever read any of the articles from Mothering on this subject??? We’ve got a couple of girls on their way- let’s discuss!

    Right now I can hear Jae upstairs yelling at her sister and our sleepover guest. I’m going to sit here until I can convince myself how illogical it is to yell at her for yelling at them, and acknowledge that her rough evening stems from the same issues as to why I feel extraordinarily ornery right now- heat and exhaustion. Empathy, empathy, EMPATHY!!! Whew! This stuff is hard!

    Reply

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