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The Damage it Does to Families to Report them to CPS January 23, 2009

Filed under: parenting,personal growth,social interaction — Thinking Woman @ 11:46 pm

Today, I finally had an opportunity to discuss with the other mom who was wrongly reported to CPS what it is like. We both have had close to a year to distance ourselves from this evil thing. We both feel so very suspicious and  bitter over this. We both changed from being completely forthcoming and joyous, very out and about moms, to much more private, isolated, suspicious moms. For the first time, we compared notes on who we thought might have done this. We both felt highly suspicious of two people in particular. Not good! Not knowing means that the suspicion is still being directed towards some innocent people and the underlying hostility we both try to keep in check is undeserved!

Our children have most certainly suffered. Were there good intentions for us having been reported? Not really. Did anything we do in the way we parent change? Not exactly. Certainly not in the way the reporter must have intended. We just keep our precious children more in, more to ourselves, which is a shame for them and a shame for those that miss out on their company. A loss all around.

What horrified me even more than the fact that we were wrongly accused for malicious reasons is that other people were spreading around a few rumors, one of which was that I made the report on the other family and then lied about my family having been reported. What sort of people are women that they could be listening to crap like that and not shutting it down? I checked around and found that and another few rumors to have been quite widespread. This group is about as safe a place as one could expect and it deeply disappointed me to finally realize that this is just how women are. I aspire to be better than that. Gossip is some nasty business.

It’s not all that easy to be the most positive parent you can be when feeling bitter and suspicious. I would like my children to feel they have a loving and joyous mother. I have only just reclaimed my joy in the last month or so. I finally put my foot down and made a decision to focus on joy and have joy now and I really do feel the difference, thank goodness. It’s been, in so many ways, an unnecessarily rough year.

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What is so wrong with gender in a baby? January 8, 2009

Filed under: HSP/HSC,parenting,social interaction — Thinking Woman @ 11:42 pm

I’ve read articles in the type of parenting magazine I favor that ask the question, “Why do people always want to know if the baby is a boy or a girl?” They wonder what difference it makes. And go on to say that from the moment the person gets their answer, it changes how they interact with the baby.

But so what? Does that have to be a bad thing?

Sure, girls and boys are different. And some of that is nature, some nurture, dependent upon the culture.

But does it have to be so terrible to think of our boys one way and our girls another?

I have my third male cat. I always think of my male cats as somewhere between baby and boyfriend. Sometimes it’s all about the cuddling and other times a good smooch is called for.  So does it really make any difference that the cat is male?  I feel more flat towards my girl cats. It’s probably all in my head. There is probably no difference. But so what? I have loved these three mini-boyfriend/babies and will likely continue my love affairs with male cats for the rest of my life.

I also love that my girls are, well, girlie. Did I make them that way? Who knows. I grew up in a house with no mom after I was 6. And she was never girlie in the first place. Yet I have always been distinctly girlie. My younger girl has a lot of qualities typically consider masculine. And yet she will not wear pants nor shorts. No way. She just came that way. And she is actually shaping up to be quite girlie. Just because. So what’s so wrong with getting her a super pretty dress?

Actually, my girls are just people. I know my older daughter is highly sensitive, like me, and both my non-HS husband and I have always been much gentler with her. It doesn’t take much for her to get the message. My little one sometimes needs a bit more to even get her attention. If she were a boy, people would assume the different treatment was based on that, but really, it’s just based upon her personality and what seems to work.

 

Books I’m Reading/Have Read January 6, 2009

Currently Reading:

Conversations with God Spiritual. All the answers are in this book! I didn’t know all the questions. Good things have started happening since I started reading this!

Square Foot Gardening I’ve got a square foot garden all planted up! Now to learn how to maintain it! I love the ideas in this book. I have always wondered why plant a whole packet of seeds only to thin them down; I’ve always “cheated” on that and saved most of the seeds. I love it when people can “think outside of the box”. Ha ha. Mel puts himself into a box by thinking out of the box!

Hands of Light/Light Emerging I hope these books hold some answers for me. I don’t intend to become a healer to others, just myself and my family.

Nourishing Traditions Learning to eat in the ways of many traditional cultures. How to prepare our own foods naturally and get the nutrients/minerals. The beginning was a bit dry for me but there are loads of great tips and other cool shorties interspersed with the recipes. I’m learning tons!

Favorites

Unconditional Parenting By far my most favorite parenting book.

The Highly Sensitive Person

The Highly Sensitive Child

More later!

 

Healthy Anger December 24, 2008

Filed under: personal growth,social interaction — Thinking Woman @ 5:02 pm

Last night, it occurred to me that I was angry at my husband. No, not just angry, but really furious. On the edge, actually. Having trouble thinking clearly. Luckily for him, it was about 1am and he hadn’t come to bed yet so I had time to think. That was the trigger for me becoming aware of how angry I was. I have barely seen him as he has allowed himself to engage in a full-time affair with his computer. Even at meal time, he’s “too busy” to eat with us. Forget about anything being done around the house.

This has been his tendency over the years and I often push and get him back on track. Last night, it was one of those points where it was too much. I allowed my mind to really explore my alternatives and they didn’t look good at all. It’s not like I dislike him. It’s just that this isn’t what a marriage is nor what a dad is supposed to be doing in order for there to be a healthy family. If I leave the house to run errands, I can count on two things. The girls are safe  and they’re watching TV or a movie.

When he finally did come to bed, I told him what was bothering me. I didn’t yell or call names. I didn’t threaten either. I just explained in a few short words. He listened and concluded that he’d have to change his ways. And that was it.

My anger was not diffused so I got up a little while later and googled  about marriage. After only the first few hits, I felt empowered. I learned that yes, there are times to leave a marriage. But ending a marriage is something one should do after everything else has been tried. And one website suggested that when you were at your absolute end, could take no more, that would be the time to give it a full year of really trying. That sounds like some awesome advice!

No, I’m  not at that point. I’ve been close a few times but never there consistently and never willing to trade what I’ve got for putting my girls in school/daycare. Sure, I can see that it’s not great for kids to grow up with parents who don’t relate well, but it’s not better to toss them aside either. If it’s hard now, working long days and trying to get them places on time  would be exponentially more stressful.

I’ve been falling down on the job. I have allowed my anger to build up to a level that I wasn’t even aware of. I told my husband that I resented that every single thing around the house now fell to me because he figured out that if he just didn’t do anything, eventually I’d have to. I allowed this to happen. Tired of being a nag, I decided to try something new and do things with a smile. Only I didn’t manage the smile. It would be fine if I were the type that could manage to work very hard and do it with a smile. It’s unfortunate that both of us have the same areas that need work. But I still believe that marriage is work and so would the next one be so I might as well start here. (I’d love to get to a level where I could fully embrace marriage as joy and forget about believing it was work!)

I’ve got no idea what I need to do. Open the lines of communication would be a first step. I told him I was running around all day yesterday and feeling guilty over the dishes and uninspired to create meals because of the mess in the kitchen and that I quit. That I was not going to do those dishes after all.That the guilt was not mine alone. I am off to the hairdresser in a few minutes and he’s quitting work early so I fully expect a sparkling kitchen and a new outlook when I get home!

Perhaps, with that 1st step taken, we can figure out the next one and begin to do things to make our marriage and our life happy together.

 

Insight Seminar – My Experiences (Part I) December 12, 2008

Filed under: social interaction — Thinking Woman @ 12:03 am

Before I got married and had kids, I did a number of seminars with a self-help organization called Insight. I am so glad I did these when I had the opportunity. The work we did was very powerful and I still use some of the tools. I am going to try to recreate what I learned so I can focus on it and get some of these wonderful tools back into my life.

If you have the chance to do a seminar like this, definitely take that chance! The Insight I is remarkably affordable and fits around your schedule. Back when I took it, it was something crazy like $295 (is that possible?) and ran a few evenings and then the full weekend. So I think Wed-Fri it started at 7pm and went until midnight or 1am, and then Saturday and Sunday it was from 8am until midnight. There were easily 100 people in the room including all the volunteers and by the end of it, I loved many of them, liked most of them, and still do. If I knew where they were now, we’d pick up and continue our relationship with such a depth that few relationships ever get to. Luckily, my husband was there with me the whole time so I always carry a piece of the whole experience. We went on to do Insight II, III, and a few other workshops. I and II were best for me but other people have different experiences.

So what did we do? Lots of things! And by the way, most of it is not unique to Insight. I am sure EST and The Forum are wonderful tools for personal growth too, and others I’ve never heard of. I’d love to do one of these again, but now I’m a mom and put my kids first, it still doesn’t feel like the time to take that much time away from my younger daughter. Perhaps soon….

There is always a facilitator and many volunteers. I learned later when I volunteered inside the room (instead of just as a door guard outside for a few hours here and there) that the facilitator meets with the volunteers before the seminar starts and checks in to see how they’re doing. The volunteers get to participate in the processes but at the same time, keep everything running smoothly. For example, during an eyes-closed moving meditation, it is important to keep participants from bumping into each other so volunteers tiptoed around and took the bumps of anyone who was intruding on the space of another participant. And other boring stuff like chair setup. 🙂

The facilitator begins each day by talking for a while and perhaps calling on some participants to see what’s going on for them. Then there are different exercises. One-on-ones with a series of questions and small groups are common themes. It’s important to try to work with as many different people as possible throughout the time you are there. There are also meditations and some things that were more like games or puzzles. I wish I could remember more; I know I am missing some awesome things. Some participants made the mistake of analyzing me, but that ws never their job and I always stopped them. It was mine to figure out what was going on for me during a process.

One of my absolutely favorite things is that during the moving meditation in Insight I, you create a sanctuary for yourself. This was pure magic for me. I love my sanctuary and still go there. I don’t want to share too much but it occurred to me a few years ago that I could change it. I don’t know why I’d never realized this before! I put in a new garden and a hammock and spent some time simply whitewashing the walls one day. And I’ve taken my girls there in my mind. They do whatever I like when we visit. Very relaxing!

Oh yeah, another exercise involves working with everyone in the whole room. Everyone will give feedback to everyone. One of the things I learned from one of these feedback exercises is how powerful I am. I was able to start to own that. I had always seen myself as meek and even somewhat invisible. No one saw me that way. And further, no one thought I should be that way (meek and invisible). Clearly, they all thought it was totally awesome that I was so powerful.

I learned some joy. In fact, I was totally joyous for some time after starting these seminars. It was so valuable to me to find out not only how I was perceived, but that I was perceived in a positive light. The more I owned this, the happier I got, and the happier I got, the more people came to me. And not just in the seminars but in life. I started a new job right when I was first doing the seminars and I felt so totally loved by everyone there and so very confident that of course they’d all love me! What’s not to love?

Listening to others share was amazing for me. I’d never realized that we all have very heavy burdens we carry around. They may not be the same burden but we all have things to overcome and rise above. It made me feel less self-absorbed and more connected to everyone. I loved knowing deeply personal things about people. I felt that strangers were just friends I hadn’t met yet and I was able to walk down city streets making eye contact and smiling at people.

There was a lot of crying. A lot of releasing. Also a lot of energizing exercises that left us too high to safely drive home. The two methods for coming down a bit were to drink water and to touch the earth with bare feet. Even though it was well below freezing, some of us would get singled out at the end of the evening to walk barefoot in the snow. I know I had to at least once.

A core group of us from my Insight II started meeting regularly at various houses. The energy was not as open and thrilling as at the seminars, but it was still so real; we all loved just being in the same room together again. Many of those dear friends came to our wedding and I love seeing their gorgeous photos in my wedding album. One of my wedding gifts was closeup photos of most of the guests so I am blessed with these beautiful photos which capture their souls.

I realize I haven’t said much of anything here about the tools I came away with. That shows how much I can remember. I could talk about Insight for days and perhaps I should. Before we committed to do the first seminar, a lot of people all started talking to me about it at once and they all made it seem like some big secret, which only served to make me suspicious. That is not my intention at all. I do believe I made an agreement to only share what went on in Insight I except for 2 things (but I don’t recall what those 2 things were anymore) and not share too much about the other seminars. That is not because anything bad or weird happens, just that it’s best if it’s a surprise. So I feel really strange in some ways even saying as much as I have about Insight I.

But I can say more stuff. In Insight I, we did some exercises to deal with our mother and father. I really thought I worked through some stuff. I was stunned to be doing mother/father exercises at subsequent Insight workshops and seminars. I finally had to ask. I thought things got fixed and, well, you know, were all better! I was finally made to understand that some things will never be all better.  You can put them away for a while, but when you take them out and dust them off, they have more to teach you, if you’re willing to learn. During my one volunteer experience, my new husband shared that I was newly pregnant during the pre-seminar meeting. The facilitator shared with me that when she had her daughter, at each age, it brought up stuff from her own childhood at that same age. This was a helpful piece of information because the very same thing most certainly happened for me and it was helpful to understand what was going on. So yeah, that mother/father stuff keeps coming up for us!

I am going to have to dig a little deeper. That’s it for now! Stay tuned for Part II!

 

Powerful love story November 29, 2008

Filed under: social interaction — Thinking Woman @ 7:52 pm

I keep watching this video.

It is a beautiful love story. Have you finished viewing it? Eyes dry yet? Want to share your thoughts?

It keeps coming back to me. That has to be the most beautiful hug I’ve ever seen. It’s such a powerful moment between family members. I dug around on youtube for a while and found more photos and video of how they raised this lion and they coslept with that sweet beloved baby.

I love how their love transcends time, space, species, expectations, the spoken word. It is such a beautiful story. There is also video of the men much later. They look very chic and grown up. They are surprised that everyone is so moved by this sweet story. I am not completely clear why I keep watching it!

 

Syllables November 21, 2008

Filed under: social interaction,unschooling — Thinking Woman @ 5:42 pm
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Today, my daughter and I were singing together. My older daughter. For whatever reason, my younger daughter has always hated music and, until recently, freaked out if she heard us singing. She is finally starting to allow us to sing and play music, which is a huge relief as my older daughter and I used to sing all the time. We need more of that joy!

My younger daughter is, so far, sadly, distinctly untalented when it comes to producing music; no sense of rhythm, timing, nor melody. I had read in the Music Together information that any child, if exposed to music before age five, would be musical; that there was no such thing as tone deaf. I beg to differ.

Well anyway, whenever I hear a four syllable word with the right kind of rhythm, I start singing this funny little song. For example, “Phenomena” has me instantly singing “Do do do-do-do”.

I didn’t actually learn this song from The Muppets Show. I learned it from a college buddy who burst out in song with the “Do do do do” version I now know. I’ve noticed over the years that other words besides “phenomena” trigger this. Today, we were playing around with it and my older daughter was trying to do what I was doing; to come up with other words or phrases that would work. For example, she suggested “sandy beach”. I explained that no, it wouldn’t work because it only has three syllables, but “a sandy beach” would work.

Then we were off on learning about syllables. I do admit to feeling an occasional overwhelming sense of guilt that she doesn’t know this stuff by now, but then I push that aside. There is no need to know any certain thing by any certain age; she’ll get there in the order that happens for us.

Yes, it is time to dig more deeply into both English and Math, but as we have hit hurdles with concepts such as syllables in the past, the timing was obviously not right. Before, she would sound out a word as though she were trying to say it, like an early reader was. Well heck, she was an early reader. So she could get all sorts of extra syllables in there! Today, I tried a different approach. Rather than boring her with the technical definition of a syllable, I just looked around the room, named things while breaking the word distinctly into syllables and counting on my fingers, and waited while my girls repeated. (Isn’t it just so cool that the younger child joins in?)

After a while of this, I thought she had it. I quizzed her on a few and mostly she got it. When she got one wrong, I said it back to her in a sentence. To her “san-dee-bee-cha”, I replied, “Shall we go to a sandy beacha or a rocky beacha?” which resulted in howls of laughter, thank goodness. She really is quite sensitive to criticism so it is somewhat of an art to correct her without hurting her feelings. My younger daughter then went off on “beacha” and had herself a good little chuckle.

In the end, I think she got the concept of how to break a word into syllables and how to come up with four syllable words or phrases. I didn’t belabor the point and we were off singing again.