Saturday, September 11, 2010

25 Distractions

I realized the other day, in the middle of a 4-year-old's meltdown, that all this time I thought the meltdowns were just going to fade away. I mean, a 2-year-old's meltdown is due to the terrible twos, and then there's the terrible threes and the frustrating fours.

Most of the time, these days, life is a total dream with the girls. Most of the time. It's not easy by any means but it's easier than it was.

And yet I realize all this time I've made mistakes. So many mistakes. The No. 1 mistake I make is that I often just try and convince them to just instantly turn their emotions off. Who does that? I've been extremely hurt by a friend in the last two weeks and as much as I wish I could turn off the hurt feelings, it's just going to take time. Why should I expect my 4-year-olds to do the same with much less world experience and much less understanding of what's important and what's not.

So, during a nice cup of coffee and writing my morning pages, I realized that I should have kept a list from the very start of their birth on what makes them happy, what distracts them, what turns them from being a hot mess to being a happy joy. After all, this is what I have to do with myself now that I am hurting, isn't it? Find ways to heal. Find ways to distract. Find ways to cope. Find ways to remember that there are better ways to spend our days than mourning something that isn't that important. In my case, that people, despite what you think, can be very mean spirited and lazy just to make life easier for themselves.

Life isn't easy. Our girls will learn that. But, for now, I am creating an energy list of sorts. A list that, at the drop of a tear, I can call upon to say: "You're sad/angry/frustrated and I'm sorry for that. I want you to feel better. How about ... X"

So, so to not delay any longer, here's the list of 25 distractions for kids, almost any preschooler can do, (that do not involve TV or movies):

  1. Hugs
  2. Silly dances
  3. Loud music
  4. Monster faces
  5. Chasing games
  6. Tickle bug
  7. Scavenger hunt
  8. The Art Box
  9. Let's take a walk
  10. Snuggle up
  11. Kid cleaning (adults should help)
  12. Surprises
  13. Tea parties
  14. Lemonade stand
  15. Bake something
  16. Science experiments
  17. Circle time/Story time
  18. Charades
  19. Duck Duck Goose
  20. Build a fort
  21. Rearrange a room
  22. Write a book together
  23. Go through old pictures
  24. Do a puzzle
  25. Hide and seek

Please feel free to add you're own distractions!

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Perfectionism + Motherhood = Dangerous

Over there on my other blog, I'm talking about letting go of perfectionism. I use a picture of one my girls playing dead.

Yes, playing dead.

I used the picture that looks most real. Here, I show you the same one, but with a smile on her face. I showed her these pictures today and she wanted me to print out the one with the smile.

Just goes to show that she found the whole playing dead thing funny.

I didn't find it so humorous. Our girls go to an inner city preschool. My guess is that death and guns and dying comes up a bit more there than say your average suburban child care center. I don't know. No one has died in our house but our pet fish. A family member's dog died and, well, they talked about that for years it seemed.

I am not comfortable with talking about death. This is something I have to work on.

But I tried hard not to tell them that. I just tried to change the subject when I thought their play had gone a bit overboard. They never actually kill anyone, just pretend to be dead. Whew, what a relief.

So many things that happen on a daily basis are things I never anticipated having to deal with, especially with girls, but especially because of how we try to raise our girls.

I didn't realize, of course, that they are smarter than we are and they go with their instincts and gut and natural reactions rather than what is popular or "right."

I let go of trying to be the perfect mom a while ago. But, now and then, she does pop up and I have to shush her like a crying child. Go away. You're not wanted here. These children are perfect just the way they are. They were born that way and there's not much more I can do but just keep them alive.

Yes, keep them alive.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Guest posting about Art + Spirtuality

Welcome to my Coming Out party. Please go over to Magpie Girl and read a Guest Post I wrote about my religion.

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

8 Things filling me up

Join *8Things

I've been following a blogging world full of creative spirits for a couple years now but it's been the last two years that I've really turned to this. And while I started out as a mommy blogger, unintentionally, I've long outgrown writing about my children. I thought long and hard about writing about all the artsy stuff I do with them but I knew I wouldn't keep up with that to maintain a following. Please check out my new blog called Live Laugh Write. I will still blog here occasionally.

But I've always written about trying to be creative while being a mother and so being a Creativity Junkie just sort of fits my life. I recently wrote a guest blog post for Magpie Girl and I can't wait to share that with all of you who still read here.

For now, how about I get a little started with this Creativity thing and let you know what's filling me up.

1. Writing. I recently learned a bunch of things were holding me back from writing and one of them was doing too much work writing. Funny how that works. But by letting the words flow, I have been more successful at writing. No more freelancing unless it feels right. No more blogging unless it feels right. I'm just creating now and that totally fills me up.

2. Sunshine. We have a lovely pool at our new house and wow it has transformed our lives taking me back to what it felt like to be a kid again just sunning and swimming all day. We actually stayed home for a whole day yesterday. The sun fills me up so much.

3. Music. I'm experimenting with new tunes on Pandora. I've discovered that I love Indian music. It's crazy but wow it makes me so happy. I also have known that I love Indian food and one of my MONDO BEYONDO dreams is to learn to cook it and then have a dinner party. I've also been experimenting with what music does to my writing.

4. Dreaming. I just love to sit around with a notebook and pen and dream about life. I'm taking Mondo Beyondo and a couple other classes right now that are filling me up with dreams and actions to take those dreams on a journey.

5. My girls. When they are swimming or running in the sunshine and being true little kids, it's the best gift in the world. I see so much of ourselves in them and that is crazy filling.

6. The simple life. Homemade ice cream. Lemonade. Grilling outside. Picking strawberries. Spending time in nature -- deep wood nature. Watching the birds and listening to them.

7. Meditation. Yes. When all else fails, it's all I can do to fill back up.

8. Creative friends. I have a few and am working to build a tribe locally. I have a book club debuting at my house this coming week. I'm excited to release this dream into the world. I also started an art group for the girls to get them building these creative friendships sooner.

To read more *8 Things lists, go here.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Things I love ...

I have virtually no readers left here, which leaves me in a strange place of writing mostly for myself for the first time in a really long time. Perhaps, ever?

Nonetheless, it's still my home and I do plan to redecorate this summer and turn this into something a bit different -- more like a retreat than a blog.

If you are here, thank you. Truly. Thank you for sticking with me all these years.

Here's a list of things I'm loving right now:

Lush grass.
Wide open spaces.
Flowering trees.
Little girls barefoot and bare legged. How did their legs get so cute this winter?
My new turquoise coffee mugs.
Relaxing on the patio under a blanket.
Walking and walking and walking.
Warm rainy nights.
Spring morning symphonies by feathered friends.
Hatching butterflies at home!
Seeing the wonder on my daughters' faces each day at spring's renewal.
Bunnies. Sweet baby bunnies eating forsythia in our yard.
Watching my husband slide down the slide at the playground for no reason other than a laugh
Farmer's market shopping.
Making time for being creative and knowing it's a choice.
Feeling gracious. Finally.
The love of great friends who are and have been carrying me. I am full of love for feeling loved. Finally.

And, above all, finally knowing the very thin, fine line of what I want from my day, how I want to spend it, and with whom -- while staying happy, joyful and within the framework of my values.

Blessed be.

How about you? What do you love? What are you craving?

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Joy is hard when insanely busy

It's a three-day weekend, so I have some "extra" time.


Since I began working full-time a little more than a year ago I have struggled more with the issue of time than ever. Mostly because of the "time lost" with my girls.

And yet I spend every second with them -- when I'm not working.

When I was home all the time, I felt no guilt leaving a few hours on the weekends or missing a bedtime here and there.

Now. Oh, now. Is it guilt? Is it missing? Is it an emptiness? I have yet to put a finger on what it is that keeps me tethered to them even when I know I should leave, that it would be best for me to leave them.

This Washington Post article impressed me today. I don't know how. Or why. Just that it did. Perhaps knowing that my insane schedule isn't just my inability to plan or organize well enough. I've known for about three months that, if I'm lucky, I get a half hour of quiet time in the morning before the girls wake at 5:55 a.m. And, I "get" another half hour to an hour at night -- after they are asleep -- before I zonk out of pure exhaustion. And, sometimes, all I want to do is sleep with my "spare" time so I'm often found going to bed at 8:30 p.m.


I have been meditating. And I owe HER for this. I can't give her the credit, though. I have started this on my own, when the time was ripe, when I was ready to just surrender to stillness. I understand, therefore I can.

I have found that it is truly my only real time for me. Not shopping. Not meal planning. Not even the thought of yoga or walking. Just being with myself.

I can't do anything well or right. I sometimes can't do anything at all. But sitting, being quiet, ah ... that I can handle. I can do it in pitch dark first thing in the morning, or at night when the stars are bright. It requires nothing but me and the floor. And, well, a little commitment on my part.

Do the thoughts of the to-do list badger me? Oh yes! Yes! Just this morning, after some sun salutations, my meditation included lots of things that need to get done today -- our last day together before the work-week begins again.

I want to bake with the girls, exercise, unpack a couple mysterious boxes, write out the meals for the week, and tackle two easy art projects -- painting a chalkboard in the kitchen and painting a stool for the girls' newly decorated bedroom.

It's a full life. There is so little time. But, it's all mine and that's why I've chosen to make JOY my word for the year. I have to keep it going. Joy can hardly be found when you're up with a vomiting child in the middle of the night -- such was the case Saturday night.

And yet, here, I am writing this morning. Something's gone right.

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