parenthood

a pure way*

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A lot of you precious souls write to me asking how Cedar is doing since I wrote months ago about us receiving a possible diagnosis and our journey within the label/non label-ness of it all. We are so grateful for the love and care from those that have been following our journey as a family. The timing of your love notes is always so divine on those extra energy giving days for us. So many have also reached out because of being on a similar journey. A confirmation how healing being witnessed and understood can be.

This past year we've really cocooned with support from family, very patient close friends, his Naturopath and Occupational Therapist. This experience has been such a delicate and beautiful dance of listening to our hearts and our own intuition as parents, listening to Cedar, honoring wisdom from those that have gone before us and yet also surrendering to the not knowing (or needing to know) and finding what feels like home to us through it all.

We were told in the very beginning that a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome was really early to tell and to stay open as he progresses through therapy and lifestyle changes. As we read through our stacks of books on Asperger's, there were some elements Cedar shared but so many he didn't. We were fully aware through this process that not any one child fits in any box. Of course this felt so deeply true for us always even before all of this came to surface. So we remained open through our research. After months of therapy and evaluation, we have found that what we are navigating through is Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). This diagnosis and the wisdom that has come pouring forth from books and therapy and blogs has been such a blessing for us and for him.

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I am, we are indeed one of those open, earthy families that believe in Crystal, Rainbow, Sun, Moon Starchild as a way of seeing his spirit and soul but we also surrender to and honor all wisdom that comes our way and it seems in this case, Western's view on SPD has enlightened us on how to help him and he's thriving. It helps my family have more compassion and understanding. It will help his teachers know better his special needs. I can only be grateful for this and its another life lesson in letting go of resistance to a label, letting go of judgment from others and surrendering to what my child needs.

As I shared with vulnerability before, we know in our hearts that Cedar is not defined by any one label or diagnosis. He is our Cedar...wholly and fully unique. He's tender and highly sensitive (like his mama). He hears things we cannot hear (frequencies, wires in walls, etc) and he needs deep pressure/impact to feel things physically. He needs to be reminded that he's hungry, hot, cold or has to go to the bathroom. He needs forewarning if a loud noise is coming (vacuum, blender, dishwasher) so he can prepare for what it does to his body. He struggles when more than one person is talking in a room, so he self soothes by making noises (hums, clicks or talks loud) to diffuse the sound in his head. If he is not in a centered space, there is a lot of melting down or inability to calm his mind and body. We try our best to honor these needs and not expose him to environments that are uncomfortable for him. We are also learning to be more brave by helping him (and us) practice self awareness in challenging situations where before we just avoided them all together for peace.

Unpredictability is what causes a lot of anxiety for him and to make things predictable, he often tries to control his environment and his imagination is what feels safe to him. He will approach people and say he is another creature and they are another creature and all of a sudden, he is taking them on an adventure. He doesn't have normal conversations. ; ) He has a wild imagination and those that go along with him and enter into his beautiful world of creatures and magic, not only gain his trust and love but they leave his presence so filled up with other-worldliness. My marmie calls him "the storyteller"...and that he can do (all. day. long.).

What our son is, is deeply connected. Deeply sensitive. Deeply intuitive. This is how we see him...and really, he is such a mirror for us. We too have so many of these needs, his daddy and me. We have learned through this process to honor these needs in each of us.

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My husband is so amazing when it comes to information. He's constantly doing research on how to heal the body from within, especially for children with sensitivities like our Cedar and those on the spectrum. For our own journey through fertility and other things, healing has always been about what we put into our bodies and how it affects our mind, body and spirit. After months of trying so many different diets for Cedar, we have discovered what are triggers for his sensory needs and what nourishes him and helps his body to regulate his senses.

Below I will share what we've learned in order to offer some nuggets of help to those that are on a similar path but also to keep those informed that care for our family deeply of where we are today. I realize what works for one child, may not for another. Its all part of exploring our uniqueness!

Here's our daily gig of healing:

  • Occupational therapy once a week. Every other week he joins another boy in the therapy room so they can learn together how to move through social anxieties and fears in a warm, loving, gentle environment. Playing with children can feel so unpredictable to Cedar and what feels safe and predictable is to control his environment by controlling play.  This has made it an emotional experience to connect with other children. This therapy sharing has really helped him be open to other children's needs and ideas. Its helped him be more brave and open in social situations.
  • Gluten Free/Grain Free diet. If he does do grains, only brown rice and quinoa feel good in his body but not in excess...just bits at a time.
  • No peanuts
  • No bananas
  • No dairy with the exception of goats cheese/milk
  • No safflower or sunflower oil
  • No sunflower seeds
  • Cashew nut butter only (he has a reaction from almond, peanut and sunflower butters)
  • High doses of Omega 3 oils (five of these & two of these, both in the morning and late afternoon).
  • Probiotics (one in morning, one in afternoon) are crucial because we notice that if he is able to digest what goes into his body well, then energy will go towards what he needs for his sensory system rather than energy being used up for his digestion.
  • Vitamin D3 (one tablet daily in morning)
  • We cook for him with walnut and grapeseed oil. After watching the film Lorenzo's Oil (true story), my husband did research and discovered the miracle piece to the oil came from walnuts. When we started using these oils for him, we noticed a shift immediately. We start his day with breakfast sauteed heavy in walnut oil (scrambled fresh eggs from our neighbor, organic sausage, potatoes) with some coconut milk yogurt and a wee bit of berries. He needs to start his day with a breakfast mostly of protein with plenty of those oils and that sets him up for a day feeling better in his body.
  • He eats nothing processed, no artificial colors, artificial flavors and no sugars. The only sweetener he can tolerate is honey.
  • Body movement. Cedar's occupational therapist describes his sensory needs as a "sensory bank account". The more you deposit into his account, the better his sensory system can regulate itself. The more that is taken out, the more depleted an unable to regulate he becomes. The best way to fill his account up is with body movement, body impact (deep hugs, deep pressure placed on body, pillow sandwich, running, climbing, pulling, jumping, stretching).
  • Music therapy
  • We often create dark spaces for him to go to (tents, forts, huge boxes with pillows and blankets inside where he places battery operated candles for low light). This helps him when he is overstimulated and overwhelmed. He'll read a book or watch a film or play an educational game in these dark spaces until he's ready to surface.
  • Nurturing ourselves: All of this requires a lot of energy and taking time to ourselves (romantic dates, coffee shops, me working on an ecourse, my husband getting massages for his carpel tunnel) helps us be more present for Cedar when we are with him.
  • Nature, nature, nature...is his most healing place.  There he can connect in a way where there is no pressure to connect.  Trees, earth, stones, sand and water just get him.

How we communicate these changes we've made in our life to Cedar is that we are trying to "help his body feel good".  What we've seen in him as we've poured our energy into this journey is that he is so much more in tune with his body.  He is beginning to communicate in words what feels like too much or what he needs.  He will tell his babysitter "my body doesn't feel good when I eat those" or he will ask if he can leave the room when there are too many people.  He will tell us he needs to be held tightly or he will tell us he doesn't want to be touched. He is not always able to use his words but many times he does and this is so precious to us.

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After spending time communicating with Cedar in a very other worldly way, his Naturopath shared with us that he believes Cedar is a sentient being and these beings that are sent to earth with a message are very sensitive to anything that isn't pure.

Truly, that is what brought it all together for me. That simple message of purity. Pure...oh how I love that word and really, its been such a guide for us: Pure, simple, clean, clear, whole, organic. Aren't all of our bodies in need of this, especially when we are in a sensitive space?

how they teach us*

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a walk in my sister's almond orchard

In Blackwater Woods

"Look, the trees are turning their own bodies into pillars

of light, are giving off the rich fragrance of cinnamon and fulfillment,

the long tapers of cattails are bursting and floating away over the blue shoulders

of the ponds, and every pond, no matter what its name is, is

nameless now. Every year everything I have ever learned

in my lifetime leads back to this: the fires and the black river of loss whose other side

is salvation, whose meaning none of us will ever know. To live in this world

you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it

against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.”

~ Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Vol. 1

**************

Words from Mary that have reached deep inside my bones and offered my heart rest this week. This indeed has been a year of burning fires within and rivers of loss, only to find salvation, find my TRUTH on the other side. Its been a year of holding close to my bosom and clinging onto those last strings of hope and then, letting go of that which I love deeply but doesn't serve my heart. And yes every year of my life is filled with this but this past year seemed to be that of deeper layers of burning, raging, surrendering and flowing with it all. Perhaps because it wasn't just about me but also about my son, who I am so deeply connected to and being along side his own journey. It was about the growing pains of my husband and I learning to be his advocate by paying attention to, listening to, protecting and honoring his unique rhythm despite the selflessness this would require, despite the judgment of some that we trusted with our vulnerability.

Its been deeply humbling and empowering to find my own voice, for myself and as a mother. It didn't come simply for a people-pleaser like me. This past year I've had a greater awareness of how deeply I desire to be liked and loved and accepted by all that come into my life and when I am not, it causes self doubt. I've seen clearer how these parts of myself led me to putting others needs and ideas before mine or my family in a damaging and unhealthy way. I'm slowly breaking free from those peacemaker ways. I am still nurturing the pieces left by gently putting myself back together again, with tenderness and a gentle wildness, as I rise and stand firmer and firmer, taller and taller.

In all the books I've read about parenting a child with unique needs, one thing that is consistent is the importance of circling you and your child with those that trust, honor and respect your choices and desire the same for your child that you do. I am so deeply blessed that this journey with Cedar has attracted a gentle circle of supportive souls around us.

I know all parents travel this journey within their own unique stories. Our children inspire us to find our own voices, inspire us to trust our own intuition and to let go of that which doesn't bring peace into our lives. This is how they teach us.

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sunbeams, blossoms and healing

a crystal mothering a crystal*

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Sometimes his constant connection to Spirit, to other worldly, to what is around him, to what is *in* him and his need for me to be there at every. single. moment. can be overwhelming. Exhausting. There are days when all I can do in my wee moments alone is stare, linger into nothingness or endlessness and find my breath or close my eyes and whisper that I am still here, me and these Other parts of me. I always describe him as intense on those days but really what he is, is Connected, even in his disconnectedness to people around him, he is connected to something larger and whole and of Spirit. And he just wants me there. With him. I anchor him. I help him feel safe. Heard. Understood. Seen. Calm. Believed in. What we all need, really if we admit it to ourselves.

A Crystal Child mothering a Crystal Child.

I am not used to needing to anchor anyone. I am accustom to people feeling freer around me. I am used to inspiring others to take flight. Ever moving, evolving, spreading of wings but never anchoring.

Perhaps this is the struggle I feel within, that I have felt a resistance to the past few years and not being conscious of it until now. That by me anchoring him, my son keeps me anchored. That together we are in that space to work, to own and claim and BE *in it* and not try it on and then move on to try something else, like my gypsy heart did all the rest of my years growing up. "I'm not choosing easy. I am not choosing to raise a 'good' child." I heard my friend say to me before laying her exhausted body down to sleep at the end of a very long day with her son. And it shot through me like lightning. This is it. I am not choosing easy. I am not wanting him to conform to any of my ideals. I am desiring him to be fully him, of his own mind and spirit and desires and needs. It is not me controlling him but me joining him and us teaching one another and guiding one another and working through Life on this earth together.

When I allow that surrender to come in, it breathes life into my hours spent with him on the floor, outside playing in puddles and with cars, boats, rocks, sticks, etc. Those moments where I feel agitated and bored and want to be doing something different with my time. I sit with him and share my heart with him and don't pretend to have it all together as his mother and remember that his purpose on this earth is to heal and transform and offer people wings too. I feel so utterly honored. I feel a heaviness lift and I let go just a bit more and an ease, a relief washes in. And because he is who he is, a born sage, he looks over at me and shows me he totally gets it.

The other day, Cedar said to his babysitter when they were outside "This tree feels sadness, it needs a hug". He feels so much. I feel so much. When I see this as Connectedness rather than Intensity, it shifts things for me a bit for some reason.

Truly, I am just now beginning to find words for all of this. I haven't had words. I know I am going to stumble through trying to find words. I've been quiet with everyone, about motherhood. Sharing bits with souls I feel safe with but really even being quiet with myself about it. Because I wanted it for so long. Not because I always imagined myself a mother. Quite the contrary. I didn't really have a strong desire to be a mother until I had a dream at age 30 about an angel child walking with me on the beach and having a very deep conversation with this child. When I woke, there was a knowing that I would be a mother to this child one day. My yearning to be a mother was born from that dream and was affirmed when I met my husband a year later. Then began our very long, emotional fertility journey to our child because that yearning was deeply rooted in me and that child spirit called to me every day.

Because of our long journey, I have carried a bit of guilt that being a mama has felt overwhelming to me. I see women having two, three, four, five and more children.  I see them homeschooling, with their children every moment, not having a second alone and seeming to just flow and ease into it all.  And I wonder why having just one child has felt like so much.

I feel a peace when I stop comparing. I feel a peace when I remember that the child in the dream who visited me long ago, whispered in my ear that he needed to be with me. I feel a peace when I trust this and allow it to be enough.

A Crystal Child mothering a Crystal Child.

Its extraordinarily awesome and beautiful, hard and achy, stretching, widening, opening and rad. I wouldn't change anything about it except that I need to open up about it a bit more so that I don't feel alone and all the mamas out there don't feel alone. Its easier to share the easy parts in this safe screen between us. This is way more vulnerable and risky. I am choosing to trust releasing it into this space.  I choose to trust the pull to do so.

We all have our own stories and journeys through mothering/parenting.  This is my story.  Separate but also part of a whole we all experience and feel and see in each others stories.

Bare with me as I find my words...

i love him so*

first image: such a HIM face : )

I remember a dear friend once telling me that once Cedar turned 3, that my husband and I would somehow find our way back to one another as a couple apart from being a family. My friend and I were talking about how much we missed our husband's even though they were near us most of the day. We loved one another just as much, if not more but our energy and our reserves were devoted to our child and creating a nourishing lifestyle for him and by the end of the evening, we were happy to just sit near one another in silence and surrender to our exhaustion. I found myself concerned about our connectedness until my friend honored and validated me. I was in awe of her relationship with her husband and it felt reassuring to hear with both of their children, the first three years of their child's life shifted how they connected to one another. Not a lot of people talk about this or perhaps they aren't aware or perhaps they are too tired to be aware. But it felt validating, nonetheless.

My husband and I had many conversations about it. Allowing ourselves to be gentle in the midst of learning to be parents and put less pressure on needing to be crazy romantic lovebirds like we were before Cedar came into our lives. We looked at intimacy with a greater perspective and what intimacy meant to us as a family. Being in constant communication about our relationship hushed the gremlins that told me we had to be like them or them or even them. We just had to be us and us was pretty amazing and lots of fun. It was so good for me in that it broadened my mind about what romance is.

So three years old came around and my expectations of lots of romantic dates and hours of eye gazing and deep conversations came crashing to the ground. Oh those darn expectations! Its a constant lesson for me to let go of them. Even when I think I have none, I discover I do. Three for Cedar was full of so many transitions. It was the transitions that brought to surface many of Cedar's anxieties and sensitivities and our world's had to take pause. Three years old was an intense year for us as a family and just like our fertility journey, it drew my husband and I ever closer as we cocooned and healed. If I could say the most important thing that helped was the many times I came into his office (in our home) and plopped on his leather chair facing his desk and expressed my need to feel connected to him in all of this wildness. He would turn away from his computer and look into my eyes. We would find one another in those moments and whether it was about Cedar and his needs or the color blue, it was enough to just be present and it held us together.

As Cedar approached four, we felt happening what my friend talked about happening at three. As Cedar became more aware of his sensory sensitivities, he started to get into a rhythm of expressing his anxieties and needs rather than us navigating it for him. We found a beautiful and delightful babysitter that just "gets" him and his humor and his need to go into imaginary worlds. She spends time with him a few times a week and sometimes date nights. This allows me a bit of time to be alone in whatever capacity I need and it allows Boho Boy time alone when he finishes work because I am no longer too depleted to let him go. We also began connecting with a dear family a few doors down and each of us started to make dates with them. Me meeting her for coffee or tea or going on a walk and him meeting for guy time to play disc golf. One of their daughters comes over twice a week to play with Cedar and help guide him with how to share ideas and release the need to control everything in order to feel safe. We also have been surrounded by a few other souls that have compassion for Cedar and our journey. And all of these things may sound so simple to most of you...but to me, they are golden. They have breathed life into our hearts this year.

All this to say, through it all, my relationship with my husband is deepening and renewing. In fact the other day he had me belly laughing and he paused and said "its good to hear you laugh with me like that again!". I realized in that moment how seriously I have taken everything around me. I've had no choice.  But the permission to embrace lightness is welcoming. Boho Boy's humor is one of the first things about him that I fell madly in love with. I feel like we are remembering what drew us to each other in the very beginning. Its been so so good. I love him so.

Giving Thanks & Turning Four!

{image of us taken last week by a kind stranger that offered}

I was going to write a list of things I was grateful for as Thanksgiving approaches but a list felt more than what I needed. Simplicity is filling my days. Focusing on just one thing I am grateful for is all I need in this moment.

This morning. I am grateful for this morning when my limbs were tangled with my husband and my heart was beating wildly in love and Cedar came into our room just when our lips were about to touch. Peeling away from my husband and reaching towards him as he climbed up into our bed. It felt both frustrating and amazing. And it felt dreamy: this wish I tucked away in my younger girl heart to feel this much love for my husband and for my child. To have Cedar tucked in between us while we looked at one another with a sigh and longing. It was good. So good. And enough to fill my page. Just that one thing on my list. And thank goodness Cedar went into his room to play. ; )

I would love to hear one thing...just one thing you are grateful for.

...and Cedar turns four on Thanksgiving!! We are heading to Northern California soon to be with family the remainder of the week. I miss each of them so.

free and unsquashed spirit*

Right before I took the photo above, Cedar said "Mommy, I never want to cut my hair. Can people keep curls as pets?"

People often ask me if I will ever cut his hair. Some have suggested, since Cedar has a bit of a feminine face, that it might be a good idea. Whenever we've asked him out of concern for it getting in his eyes, we get a passionate "NO!". Not a day goes by when we are out and about that Cedar isn't referred to as a girl by a stranger. But my husband and I have really desired to cultivate nonconforming gender ways of being and have just allowed Cedar to guide us with his interests and needs and what comes natural to him.

When we were ordering him some soft pajamas online, we asked him to pick out which style he wanted. He chose the purple and pink striped ones. My husband and I looked at one another and had one of those unspoken nods of understanding that there may be a journey ahead of us. No matter how liberal and open minded we are, we know there are others out there that are not and allowing Cedar to be and dress how he desires will be a constant choice to let go of those pressures of cultural norms. We know he is only about to turn four...but growing up near San Francisco, it is difficult for my mind to not go to those places of what may lay ahead for him.

We are blessed to live in a very open minded community. One of the reasons we love this place so. Although I still hear people around me say "he is ALL boy" or "girl or boy energy". I'm not sure why whenever those words are spoken, that it stirs something inside of me. Nothing negative but more like a fluttering or nervousness. I never felt this way before having a child. So my intuition tells me that there may be something ahead of me in my journey with Cedar that may have to break through those preconceived ideas of what kind of gender energy he has or what kind of gender he is more like.

A few days ago his babysitter Emily (and best friend) told me that they were outside playing and he outstretched his arms in a moment of complete abandon and yelled with his scruffy voice "I am Woman!!!" and as she told me this, we both giggled and had a knowing look. We knew Cedar in that moment just got the whole woman power thing and its wild because I've never yelled out that phrase to him. It completely came from within. Then of course shortly after that, he'll play with this tractors or cars and let the wild rumpus start. Or he'll be outside playing with our neighborhood girls sitting in his big yellow car making loud car noises and then stop to compliment them on their dress or skirt.

The other day I heard Cedar up in my bedroom. I walked in to find him putting my lipstick on his lips in front of my mirror and saying to himself "I love you". I fought that knee jerk reaction to stop him. Tears welled up and in that moment I realized that is what its all about: Loving himself. We just want him to feel free to be who he is and love who he is and have a strong self esteem. Whether he ends up being more gender-boy or gender-girl or gender-fluid, we hope for him to have a free and un-squashed spirit and we will nurture that in any way we can.

surrendering*

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Most of my life, especially in my adult life, I have resisted the idea of labels. I felt they placed people in a box and the concept of boxing anyone in didn't quite resonate or feel good in my bones. Intuitively I knew we were all unique and our experiences were unique and being open to others ideas, experiences meant deeper growth and a life of possibility. I feared the limited-ness and the feeling of being controlled and my free spirit ached for the freedom beyond boundaries.

Yet, even at almost 41 years old, as I continue to seek (and drift) and expand without a desire to associate myself with any one way of being, labels continue to come into my path.  They continue to be my teacher. My vessel of messages my soul needs.  Full of nuggets of wisdom. There is always a process of surrender while trying to sort out my own freedom within these labels and our societies preconceived ideas of them: Celiac, Christian, Infertile, Endometriosis, Dread Head, Empath, Wanderer, Adoptive Parent, Free Spirit, etc. There becomes this dance between intuiting my way through life and surrendering to needing guidance and help, knowing I cannot always do it alone.  I suppose labels happen for a reason. They provide direction when we feel lost.  They provide teaching when we are needing to be a student.  They provide council when we are confused.  They provide an opportunity to go within and find our own true voices in the midst of a choir.

This is what my husband and I are moving through with Cedar. A label. A diagnosis. Our resistance to this label. Our relief upon the awareness of this label. Our confusion. Our clarity. Our "aha...this makes sense". Our fears. Our projections. A sudden awareness of our expectations of Cedar.  Releasing those expectations. Our surrendering to needing help and guidance. Our tears. Or more like...sobs. Our awakening of being chosen to parent him. Our confidence. Our lack of confidence. Our free spirits so deeply wanting to intuit everything he needs. Our surrendering to the fact that we cannot intuit his needs every moment, especially when we are learning his brain and every cell in his body receives information different than ours.

Asperger's Syndrome. High functioning Autism. Low Spectrum. Sensory Processing Disorder.

Crystal Child.

Our Cedar.

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Suddenly, I felt faced with how to share this with others. What gave me courage is that we are one in billions of parents that are faced with labels for their children and not a lot of people know how to navigate through it all. It can feel isolating and lonely and full of so many fears.  Sometimes our fear of labels can paralyze us from giving our child what they truly need.

We are in the beginning of it all. That first awareness and overwhelm. Trying to live moment by moment and center ourselves and not allow the many opinions that may come our way to divert us from our own intuition and trust as Cedar's parents . Even the opinions to not label him. Which me, more than anyone, understands so deeply.

But I keep going back to that first moment when I heard the label and how my heart felt relief and a weight lifted and tears poured because I have always known down deep that there was something, something I couldn't grasp or understand about my precious son. I knew that most times his behavior or sensitivities came from a place that went beyond my empathy or intuition as a mama to a toddler figuring out his way in this world.  There has been completely messy moments for him and me.  Moments where I felt he was judged or I was judged and I have had to be his only advocate in a room.  The idea that I could now help myself and others understand him better, so that Cedar will have room to BE and feel safe being, offered me so much peace.

I know my son cannot be boxed in. I also know that just as I did not allow myself to be controlled or defined by any one label, I, we will raise Cedar to not be defined or controlled by any label. We will also raise him to not attach any shame to any of this as there is no shame in it. Just as I felt there was no shame in my fertility journey and sharing it out loud here on my blog has helped hundreds, if not thousands of women and men not feel alone.

As much as we go down the list of Asperger qualities and nod our head, not all of them apply to him. So we are on a journey. And this journey is all about helping him feel as safe and secure as he can when he is overwhelmed. Being married to a librarian, you better believe we have stacks of books on the subject. But we also put them aside at times, take deep breaths and not allow it to consume us or steer us away from our own intuition and free spirits. Those moments where we just hold space for him and release the need to know all the answers or strategies in that moment and to just surrender to the not knowing and what comes so easily for us, which is loving him with our whole hearts unconditionally.

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I have more to share about our process over the last few months and our choice to approach this holistically with a grain free diet, particular vitamins and minerals and tools for sensory overwhelm. We are meeting with an OT this month, have had appointments with a naturopath and phone appointments with a gentle and wise woman sent to me by a dear friend. This woman has become my life line.

In this moment, we are surrendering to the not knowing. Surrendering to the uncertainty of whether or not to embrace this label fully. Surrendering to the relief we feel when we can make sense of why he does what he does. Surrendering to the frustration we feel when we can't make sense of any of this.

Just surrendering.  Isn't that just what all parents have to do?

big love*

Just wanted to share a moment of our day today. One that was very precious to me in the aftermath of a melty and tender morning for him. I have a post coming that I am working on, navigating through and gathering the courage to put out into the world about our sweet boy and us and our journey to awareness as his parents. Some big stuff happening in our world and it has felt all consuming for a few months but I feel like I am surfacing and able to breathe deep and gain clarity.

I thought I loved big all of my life but I never thought I could love a being as much as I do this being that came into our lives 3.5 years ago. But with big love comes big heartache and then big healing.

More soon. For now, lets just focus on how cute it is that his boots are on the wrong foot and he couldn't care less. And how he dug my kitty cat knit dread hat out of our hat basket to keep the sun out of his eyes rather than his baseball cap. And that he wanted to wear his friend La La Lemur in his apron pocket just like a kangaroo.

our something unexpected. our little miracle.

My husband and I watched this trailer tonight. We both were teary eyed by the end. I was so moved by it that I wanted to share it with all of you.

Sometimes, well, most times, it feels like Cedar came into our life in such a magical way that is hard to describe but this movie, the energy and meaning behind it, truly emulates so many emotions I carry with me as his mother.

What really touched me deep in this trailer is when Timothy is standing in front of a row of friends and asked "So, you all came from your mom's tummies? How was that?" With such an innocent curiosity, from a place of not feeling left out or left behind or a longing and wishing he had come to his parents that same way.  How deeply we hope Cedar will feel this secure about his journey to us and comfortable being open about his own birth story.

It is so important to me he is deeply aware that just like in this film, we conceived him in our hearts and dreams and his beautiful birth mother was the fertile soil that brought him to life.

The symbolism of this movie moves me so: The hope that it offers those that so deeply ache to have a child and the possibility that your child can come to you in ways you least expect.

a moment in our day today*

Cedar does this so often. He wants me to sit and watch as he runs down a hill, towards me, then on top of me...to end with a mini boy hug (aka wrestle on the ground). I thought it would be fun to capture it today.

Lately I have discovered the wonder of audio books. Since Cedar came into our lives, I have not had the attention span, nor the time, to sit and read a book. I can skim through it quickly or jump around only to read a few sentences before I end up falling asleep or distracted in some way. I don't know why it took me so long to come up with the idea of listening to an audio book while doing chores or hanging with Cedar. It's brilliant!!! And I love that he is being read to as well. Although, the one I save for his nap time is "Connection Parenting...Parenting through Connection Rather than Coercion and Love instead of Fear" by Pam Leo.  Oh man, this one is full of wisdom that wraps around my heart and hugs it tight.  I find myself weepy while doing laundry and picking up his toys from ideas that resonate so deeply with me and also comfort my inner little girl.

So far, here are a few gems that I wrote down.  Will share more soon...

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"We are less likely to pass on our past hurts to our children when we do our own healing work."

"Once we understand that uncooperative behavior is a communication of a child's unmet need, a hurt, or a response to an adults unrealistic expectation, we do not have to take the behavior so personally."

"We create a strong bond over time when we lovingly and consistently meet our child's needs."

"When we learn to relate in ways that show children that their needs and feelings matter,  we strengthen the bond and avoid power struggles."

"Very young children learn conflict resolution when we model it."

"We teach children that every one's needs are important by honoring their needs.  From our example, they learn to honor other's needs."

"Children are delightful to be with when their needs are being met and nothing is hurting them."

"Whenever a child responds negatively to a reasonable request,  we look for a hidden hurt or the unmet need.  Once we acknowledge every one's needs, we can work on problem solving."

"I've learned to say...'When you behave that way, I know something is wrong.  We love each other and people who love each other don't treat one another this way. Can you tell me what you need or what is hurting you?'  If I can remember to stop and ask that one simple question, it changes the whole concept of the power struggle.  That question communicates "I love you and what you feel is important to me."

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Such good stuff...and really resonates with my soul.  I find myself so much more present with Cedar these days.  So much more forgiving of myself in those moments when I am more reactive and then I hold him and talk with him about it.  I feel as though my mind and heart are opening wider to who Cedar is and what triggers him and how I can do my best to create an environment where he feels seen and heard and loved consistently.  Right now this mama business is SO my greatest teacher.

a list*

the bohos chilling at a pond this past weekend

I feel like I've been resisting a blog post lately because I have been at a loss for words. So rather than come to this space with a perfectly dreamed up concept for a post, I am just here. As I am. Wordless and giving myself permission to be.

Its not normal for me to feel unable to put my daily experiences or thoughts or feelings into words. I think it might be exhaustion. Boho Boy and I are both dealing with it, for different reasons, right now.

How about I make a list of some of what is transpiring in our life these days. A list feels so much less intimidating to my brain that is unable to flow at the moment.

  • Every day we talk about our move to Washington in June.
  • We've realized that living where we have has been both depressing and oppressive for our souls. Admitting that was really difficult but also freeing.
  • I think my body responds to forest more than ocean.
  • I always thought it was the ocean.
  • But lately I keep dreaming of forests.
  • Forests smell delicious and are cool and crisp and nurturing and you can walk in it.
  • Forests remind me of faeries and gnomes and hobbits. Those are my people.
  • I think Cedar is one of those people too.
  • We found a duck pond not too far away from our home (see above).
  • Cedar is now totally in love with ducks.
  • Someone dropped a pet duck off at this pond. We saw the empty box and the duck wanted no part of the pond.
  • He kept following Cedar and would snuggle up to me.
  • This duck didn't know he was a duck. Cedar got attached.
  • A family that was also there with a sweet boy decided to take the duck home.  It looked miserable and they were concerned.
  • This family had land and was going to load up on all things duck on the way home.
  • Cedar cried when they drove away with the duck.
  • It was the saddest moment ever.
  • The other day, while watching videos of Cedar on the laptop, the one with him and the duck following him around came on.
  • Cedar immediately sat down where he was, cried, shook his head "no" and put his hands over his eyes.
  • I held him for about 10 minutes while he cried.
  • He remembered the duck from a week back. It both shocked me and melted my heart to the floor.
  • Now we have to get him a duck when we move to Washington. ; )
  • I was sick with a flu for a week last week.  When I got better, Boho Boy got sick.
  • Now that Boho Boy is better, Cedar is going through a massive growth/brain spurt.
  • So much so that he hasn't wanted to sleep.  He LOVES to sleep but lately his zest for life has been far too abundant for that.
  • Mama and daddy are tired.  Today mama needs a cocktail.  But instead I drink water in a wine glass and pretend it is a martini.
  • Boho Boy just called me and said he is bringing home Indian food.  Seriously?  He read my mind.  I didn't feel like cooking.
  • Now I am a tired and HAPPY mama.
  • I get jealous of my husband's garlic naan bread because it isn't gluten free.
  • So I heat up a brown rice tortilla with Earth Balance butter and sprinkle it with garlic salt.
  • Almost as good.  I think.  I guess I wouldn't know but I can pretend.
  • Perhaps I am drawn to lists right now because I LOVE these pretty little arrows Jo created.  ; )

dino-love*

dino-love*
august break #5: daddy reading to him this morning, canon 50d

A week ago, we were watching a documentary about dinosaurs on the History Channel. Cedar was completely enamoured, even when over and over there were frightening Dinosaurs roaring at the screen with saliva dripping from their teeth. It frightened me more than Cedar. He just roared right back and clapped and twirled and made new Dino friends in his imaginary world.

So, yesterday we felt it was appropriate to take him to the Dinosaur exhibit at our local Natural History Museum. It was a blast.  We let him lead the way and it was so fun following him around with the camera.  Although, I forgot my BC (big camera) and had to settle for my phone and none of them turned out that well but I will post a few just for fun.  He was pointing and squealing and even checking out the written descriptions on each creature.  So fascinated and it was contagious. 

My favorite part was when Cedar turned the corner on the top floor and saw the ginormous shark hanging from the ceiling.  He pointed and screamed in an excited way and everyone around him laughed and joined his enthusiasm.  This one sweet man strolling by him in a wheelchair looked at Boho Boy and said "that was the best reaction ever." 

Dinosaur Exhibit

quiet misty morning*

quiet moment this morning

It's been so hot here lately...and my body doesn't respond well to extreme heat. But this morning is overcast and misty, with a cool breeze through the window. So, I sit here, breathing it all in...sweater over my pj's, hot steamy cup of yerba mate in hand. Centering myself for the day.

Its been a slightly intense week here for me, hence the quiet. Both Cedar and I caught the stomach flu on top of him about to cut two or three teeth (molars and pointies, not fun) and he's growing so fast that I can tell his legs ache and to top it off, he's had a few injuries. Then there is me, full or hormones as my cycle is about to begin and with all of this swirling around me, still wanting to connect with my intuition about how to love Cedar best and guide him towards kindness of self and others. This probably would have been any other week around here. Just life with a toddler. I just think being ill threw us off.

I have some deadlines for my website designer and no time to work on it. Boho Boy is putting so much of his energy in trying to build his database business so that we can move sooner rather than later to a place that we belong and where Cedar can connect deeper to nature. He is putting more hours in than usual. So, he called me this week, telling me he talked to our neighbor, who is a teacher at his school and one of the kindest women I have ever met. She wants to help me next week...to babysit Cedar a few hours a day so I can go to the cafe and get my work done. I completely feel safe with her. Her and her sister (who is a nurse and also our neighbor...score!) have both watched Cedar when he was an infant so that Boho Boy and I could go out on a date. I don't know why I didn't think of this myself. I love my husband for thinking of it for me.

I was chatting with a dear friend the other day. I admire how she nurtures her children and she has been a mother a lot longer than me. Because her and I are so much a like, I go to her often, among others in my life. During our chat, I felt like she gave me permission to admit that this age Cedar is at is hard (15 months - 21 months) and that at times, sanity can feel pretty wobbly. I cried when she said this because it is my truth. Its so many beautiful things but what makes it hard for me is that he cannot fully communicate to me what his needs are and I cannot fully communicate to him what mine are. We communicate in other ways but you know what I mean. I can tell his brain is ahead of his bod and his desires and he often gets frustrated that he cannot do or say what he wants to. For someone like me, who tends to be a fixer (like my husband) and a peace-maker, it goes against my nature to not be able to solve these things for Cedar. Because of this, it is a constant lesson and a practice in letting go and loving. I know each stages of our children's lives bring these lessons and there will be a constant exercise in releasing rather than resisting.  We are being gentle with the process.

So, I welcome this time next week...to reconnect with my creative side and replenish so that I can be more present and patient.

I have a dread post coming up! I am just waiting to get some current photos of my hair down to share with you to go along with my words. My hair is always up right now and that is because I live with a toddler and if I wore it down, my locks would be full of food and snot and poo. ; )

So many of you asked about my dread journey and you're right...I haven't talked about it in a long while. Its time my locks get some attention and energy!

Affirmation for this weekend:  I am enough.  Cedar is enough.  Boho Boy is enough.  YOU are enough.  

Blessings for your weekend.  Om shanti.

Love,
Boho

ps. thank you all for contributing your thoughts on my parenting style post. i am learning so much from all of you and those things that make my heart sing are what i am going to marinate on for my own journey.

you share first...

fireflies & faerie boy

the way boys snuggle

reading to my boy

hello lovelies out there in cyberyumland.

ohhh...i am feeling a wee under the weather this week and i have SO many delicious questions to answer that you have asked.  although, what my mama intuition is telling me to do is rest when the babe is resting so that i can nourish myself back to feeling fully me again.

one of the questions quite of few of you asked, has me marinating and dreaming on how to spill and put it all into words:  what is my parenting style. now THAT is a juicy nectar of a question.

i LOVE hearing other souls define how they parent and guide and teach little ones.  so, over the next few days as i rest, can you share with me what your styles, dreams are for the wee ones in your life?  i am not only speaking to parents, but caregivers of all types (grannies, aunties, friends of wee ones) and those that imagine having children someday and what they dream of being like as a parent.  the beautiful, as well as the messy parts.

i know this can feel overwhelming to answer.  i feel a bit of that too.  so, even if you share one sentence, a poem, a vision, a teeny piece of the huge puzzle.  i know so many would feel blessed by whatever you can share.  i know i am always feeling blessed by your stories because i never claim to have the answers.  i try my best to live each day open to the lessons of teaching and being taught.  trying not to put anything into a box or a specific idea and allowing my experiences to guide and help me evolve.  perhaps that is my answer.  i will think more on it.

you share first...

a village.

safetynet
cedar & me yesterday, after he played in a water park.  he is looking up at a huge yellow hot air balloon in the sky and feels afraid.

today i come here with no ego after a week of restless nights and a barely sleeping, teething toddler with growing pains. a boy who is quickly discovering he is separate from me, from us and is exploring this without the ability to share it in words. his awe, his frustration, his wanting to absorb it all and yet come back to those quiet moments where a book will suffice. he wants so badly to not need me yet he needs me deeply.

one minute he is softly stroking my face and handing me his stuffed puppy to snuggle up close with him and the next minute he is throwing his book at me because he cannot express what he wants to. i was told this would happen. i've read about the phases and stages in both tender and clinical ways. but when it comes down to those moments of shock, its a bit of a mind mess, non? some more than others. some meaning after a whole week of not sleeping well, i feel stripped of the warrior goddess and instead am lying naked, vulnerable and weary.

there are moments of deep inner strength. there are moments of unraveling and tears. there are moments of clarity and there are moments of uncertainty.  each day of his life is intense and beautiful and exhausting and confusing and heart shifting.

i shared this with a dear friend today. we exchanged ideas about how truly, we are not meant to raise our children alone. how our culture in America can at times send out a message that isolation is perfectly okay. that we can do it all and do it alone. i am grateful to have people in my life that think beyond those boundaries. that resonate with how other countries embrace the idea that it takes a village. it takes a tribe.

with all of this swirling around me, i read this sent to me by a soul friend that gets it:

he's so beautiful.
and he's yours...
this soul that came to your heart.
that grows in front of you.
every day... something new.
big laughter and smiles.
and tantrums and blow out poops.
curly sweet sweaty hair after a nap
cuddling into mamas boobs.
sitting with his frog legs, pulling books into his lap.
he's amazing...
and he's your baby.

it feels like you've always had him.
like- i don't remember you without him.

mmmmm...my heart swells and i find my strength in those words.

hey...my ego is stripped and i stand here shouting to the rooftops that i am totally cool with a village surrounding me right now. bring it on.

cedar naps, we nap.

sleeping cedar.
sleeping cedar, canon 50d

The three of us have the sickity head coldie icks. Every spare moment of quiet is full of sleep. Cedar naps, we nap...which leaves no time for me to write the delicious post I've been yearning to write about Bellingham. Ohhh...so sorry to keep you waiting.

I'll leave you with a few fun facts about B'ham.

  1. Three Pizza joints have Gluten Free Pizza (YUM).
  2. Most every coffee shop has rice milk and yerba mate...oh, and agave nectar. We laughed.
  3. Most everyone smiles when they pass you. Just like when you go camping and you're on a hike and other hikers nod or smile or say hello. It's just like that...but on the street!

More soon. I promise.

quiet sense of self respect.


"Your Child's Self Esteem" by Dorothy Corkille Briggs

My dear friend Karen handed me this book while I was sitting at her dinner table one evening. I'll never forget that evening. I was trying to hold it together as someone who was just about to become a mother. I was someone who was just about to become a mother to what may have been a preemie. I was someone who was keeping her phone close because that call might come and I'd fly out to Oregon from wherever I was and, with my husband, help our birth mom bring our child into this world. Something we had never done before. Something we weren't trained for.

My mind was buzzing that day when I pulled up to her Zen retreat of a house. She was the most perfect soul to be with. It felt like she had gently enveloped me into her arms just by her reassuring whisper at the table that night. In her presence I just knew everything would be alright. I felt a quiet strength from her that I needed.

In her book {Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path to Motherhood} she talks very honestly about her experience as the new mother of a precious preemie. A book that has guided many mothers from all walks of life and from all experiences through a time where we are all feeling so raw and vulnerable and perhaps misunderstood. I was honored to be sitting at her table that night...eating her healing soup and soaking in every confidence she had in me as a mother to be.

Her and I giggled at the cover of this book (above) that she lent to me. A sweet retro image of a naked baby in the bushes, holding a flower and totally in bliss. This so reached out to the hippie in me. ; )

I just recently started to read it. It has been nestled in my book shelf since. I knew there would be a time when I would need to and I didn't rush. In fact, I stayed away from many books in the beginning so that I could learn how to listen to my own intuition.

Now that Cedar is crawling and exploring and indeed developing his own person, I have felt that need to open up my arms for help. But gentle help and how gentle does this cover feel?

So I opened it up and ohhh...it is wonderful.

There was this one quote I wanted to share with you. Mainly because it applies to anyone, wherever they are in their life and to me, it provided comfort.

"High self esteem is not a noisy conceit. It is a quiet sense of self-respect, a feeling of self-worth. When you have it deep inside, you're glad you're you. Conceit is but whitewash to cover low self-esteem. With high self-esteem you don't waste time and energy impressing others, you already know you have value."

Learning to parent a child is also like therapy for self. I feel like I have always had a quiet sense of self-respect. In an online world where I am encouraged to market myself and talk more about how fabulous business is going, it has felt a bit outside of my comfort zone. I have questioned if I am cut out for this because I have never needed that attention to fill me up. This quote helped remind me that how I am is okay and that perhaps my business will continue to grow because of my heart and who I am rather than me trying to impress the masses. There is a place for me in this online world of business and I will figure it out as I go. I want to learn how to grow my business through my story and not my ego.