Happy Birthday, Baby

I hear the sound of the stepstool being scraped and shoved across the tiled bathroom floor. I'm in another room helping your big sister with her homework. Your dad is somewhere else in the house, trying to tackle a science fair project with your brother. 

I don't stand up. I don't go to you. 

I'm a different parent than I used to be. Maybe you've benefited from that or maybe you were always this way and we both got lucky because I was ready for you.

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She's Okay

She's Okay

I asked why they were using the sirens and she distracted me by telling a story about how hard it was to get Taylor Swift tickets for her daughter, who was the same age as mine. I had managed to get tickets to a show in Toronto, while she had to get tickets to the show in Buffalo. We joked about the lengths mothers will go to make their kids happy, and then I started to cry. 

Will the baby be okay?

She held my hand.

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{GIVEAWAY} WHEN KIDS WORRY

when kids worry

I am the kind of parent that is thrilled to see my children trying new things and taking chances to satisfy a curiosity or embark on an adventure that gives them a sense of accomplishment. It amazes me to see them doing things I was never brave enough to try.

But I don't expect it to be easy for them.

And because of their temperaments—it's often very hard.

This school year is a big game changer for my kids. Two of them have switched schools and my youngest is beginning kindergarten. That leaves my third in the same school, but facing the uncertainties of being on her own when she normally has her siblings close by.

For many children, including mine, change can mean anxiety. And sometimes it can be everyday events or situations that cause a child to worry or feel anxious.

I worried a lot as a child, too. And I'm able to share that with my children. They take a lot of comfort from knowing I went through something similar and also had worried feelings. And their dad is great with being honest and open about things that scared him, too.

But we also want our kids to learn how to face their anxieties and worries head on and to believe in their ability to get through those feelings by using their own coping skills.

So we talk things out. A lot.

We find people other than us (teachers, family, friends) that we think are able to relate, and we encourage them to talk it out.

I think we do a great job of helping our children feel that we understand. But we are offering an adult perspective of how things will get better and sometimes they need to know that other children feel the same way right now. 

There are many resources available for families to use as tools to support their kids in dealing with worry and anxiety. I was recently introduced to a new book by certified school psychologist, Stacy Fiorile, called Scaredies Away!  and welcomed the opportunity to have my children read it and ask questions.

when kids worry

My eight and 10 year old were able to imagine themselves in the story and were nodding their heads at some of the feelings described in the book—which is written for a target audience of six to 12 years old.

The story offers scenarios and concrete strategies that kids can use to face the worry and get through it. The Magic Finger Countdown teaches kids to put their scaredies into their fist and then let them go by counting backwards from five until their hand is open and they can blow their worries away. 

when kids worry

I'm so glad to be able to give one of my readers a copy of this book. If your child struggles with worrying and anxiety, you will appreciate being able to share this book with them. 

For further tips and strategies for helping your child, here are some great resources from Kids Health and Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada. If you have concerns about your child and anxiety, please speak to your health care provider. 

This giveaway is open to Canadian and U.S. Residents only. Thank you and good luck!

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The book Scaredies Away! is also available for purchase on Amazon.

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Not Afraid To Be The Same

Beachfamilynologo

I was the same as anyone who dreams of a family.

I imagined them.

I wrote their names in cursive in my diary.

I wanted them to be different than me, to be more than me, to be less of me.

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When my daughter's eyes started to change, from the dark blue she was born with to the brown she now sees the world with, I was crushed. I had been dazzled by those blue eyes and the way they made her look more like her father than me. I didn't realize, until they began to look so much like mine, how much I had wanted her to take after him. 

And my son—who struggles so much with finding his voice—I wanted him to be the leader, the one who gets noticed, the kid who never has to hope he'll get picked. I wanted him not to have to face the same struggles I did. I tried so hard to help him change, until I realized I shouldn't.

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The last 12 years have hardened and softened me to the dreams I wrote down for my imagined family. Years of watching children grow, will change what you see too.

I can stare down the flaws I've always looked for in my reflection. Standing in front of the mirror given to me by motherhood, I can finally see beauty.

Because my children are so much like me.

The love that lands on your heart the very instant the weight of your newborn is placed there—it heals you, if you let it.

Because that love leaves you no choice.

When those flaws dance in front of you on the wings of your child, you will see they are nothing less than exquisite.

It is the acceptance of those flaws in yourself that will give you the grace to love unconditionally. 

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You will finally understand that your eyes make her beautiful, because she thinks they're beautiful on you. You will remind her that those eyes come from the incredible women of generations before her, and she will be proud of them. She will know that it's so much more than what her eyes look like, and really about what she holds behind them. 

You will be able to tell your son with truth, The day will come when you are always picked first, because you listen and you see everybody, and he will take comfort in knowing you understand. He will believe you, because he watches others seek comfort in your listening heart, and he will know how much this world needs him. 

And you will catch your messy and flawed reflection in the mirror from time-to-time, and smile at what you see. You will finally understand the story you wrote for your perfect family is coming to life, and it's more beautiful than you could have imagined. 

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This essay is part of the Messy, Beautiful warrior Project — to learn more, CLICK HERE.

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