Tuesday, October 31, 2006

all those taking a stand.. please remain seated

good grief. good bloody grief!!!!

how come i (feel like i) have to defend my decision not to celebrate halloween? this seems a bit ridiculous to me. i am not asking anyone to defend what their reasons are for participating. nooooo. how come i am the bad guy for not wanting to encourage my children to celebrate this dark festival, this day of the dead? this is pretty unbelievable. why don't the women who deliberately choose NOT to breast-feed their babies get this much flack? because no one wants to make them feel guilty. well guess what?

if you want to have a say in your life, you have to take responsibility for it.

period. end of story. i am taking responsibility for my children. i am being an intentional parent. i have to make what seems like a zillion decisions every day about how i am going to mother my children. it's exhausting enough - what with the sleep deprivation thrown in too - just doing that, let alone having to turn around and defend and explain it these decisions. WTF???? (which, by the way does not stand for 'wednesday thursday friday', just so you know.) :)

no, i'm not teaching her (them) about halloween. no i'm not teaching her that santa is the almighty present (as in gifts) sugar daddy. no i am not teaching her that easter is about a bunny and or eggs and baskets. no. no. no. and i am not sorry. christmas has become such a bogus holiday it almost makes me sick. Jesus has gotten kicked out of the Wal-Mart sponsored manger and replaced with a big fat cash cow. even the wise men are bring designer gifts. fohgidaboudit! how can i teach them to love their brothers and sisters by getting as much as they possibly can for themselves? i will teach them about saint nicholas who took gifts for those in need. i will teach them that he is known affectionately as santa claus. i might even say that he was given a special magical way of helping out with his reindeer and sleigh and all that. i might. but i will never allow them to believe that christmastime is about getting gifts and forgetting about those in need. absolutely not!

as for easter - well, let me not start on that tonight. i am completely exhausted and i need something hot to drink, a nice quiet shower and my bed.

besides ryan will be up tonight if he's still feeling as sick as he was last night. he is wheezing and coughing so much, poor thing. and he can barely breathe through his nose. :(

i will not sit down for my stand. and i can not, will not apologise for my beliefs. i certainly don't expect that of anyone else.

silence | clarity | strength

Sunday, October 29, 2006

to 'ween or not to 'ween...

THAT is the question.

as most of you (six or so) know, i am jamaican. and when i was growing up, halloween was pretty much unheard of. there was no trick or treating or jack-o-lanterns; there were certainly no costumes and candy! i think i first heard a vague reference to halloween when i was in my early or pre-teens. seriously. and as i got older and evenutally moved to america - land of the 'ween - i decided to learn more about the history and origins of this celebration. (notice, i am not calling it a holiday because holiday is really a contraction of 'holy-day' which halloween most certainly is not).

admittedly, this was quite a while back and i never really took any strong stance on the thing except to say that i didn't think it was really 'for me', as it were. but then when i was working for corporate america in retail i was required to dress up and so wore mouse ears and a tail and drew whiskers on my face. and i thought, this isn't so bad. it's kind of fun to dress up. and the mouse costume survived many more years than i care to admit. (actually i think the ears are still tucked away someplace dark and musty as i type.) then after i moved here (nassau) i got invited to a halloween party and was thrilled at the opportunity to be cool and social and to dress up too! nathan and i went as a puerto rican gangsta and an indian girl (curry spice) and we had a blast.

so as you can see i've been on the fence; rather on both sides of the thing. but now that i have kids and every year it comes up and i try to decide where i stand i end up being sort of wishy washy and doing the costume thing. let me clarify - the first year my friend quickly threw together a long white gauzy dress and i made copper wire & tissue paper wings and lauryn was an angel. the second year i was loaned (loaned?) a bumble bee costume which i didn't end up using because it rained that night. and now it's the third year and i am feel more strongly that i do not want to participate.

i just found this breif history here: http://www.history.com/minisites/halloween/viewPage?pageId=713

so, we've been invited to a small party for kids and as much as i know i would enjoy the dress up aspect of it, i really feel like the time has come for me to stand somewhere and stay there. and right now i am standing on the side of the fence that does NOT observe this celebration.

i feel this is for me is not so much of a religious decision but more of a parenting mode. i always tell lauryn that monsters are pretend and nothing to be afraid of. i have not discussed ghosts with her but she's heard of them at school i am not prepared at the moment to have this conversation with her about the whole deal. (let's face it, people, weather you've encountered them or not, there ARE spirits out there.) celebrations and festivities for me should be about life and joyful things - not scary, dead, unknowns. (why the jack-o-lantern? and the skulls, the witches etc.?). i can't tell her in one breath there is nothing to be scared of and then in another breath celebrate these self same 'scary' things. feels a bit wobbly to me.

so, not to 'ween. that is the answer. thanks for processing with me.

silence | clarity | peace

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

do not leave children unattended, they may misbehave or destroy things

you know how your friends like to forward you these really funny pictures of kids doing really awful things? and it is so funny because it's someone else's kid. (if you're a mom, however, a small part of you feels sorry for the mother of the child who has just painted his entire room with house paint.) so, yesterday - i became one of those moms. not the one who feels sorry for the other mom but the one who needs the pity. (and, yes, a good laugh too)

let me set the scene: lauryn and ryan are sitting nicely and watching laurie berkner sing about all kinds of fun things. i pop out the kitchen door to tell nathan something and we end up in an interesting conversation. as we are speaking the ears in the back of my head whisper to me every so often: it's too quiet in there. 'but ryan isn't crying,' i answer back. so i go on chatting with my dear husband. about life and business - big stuff. and the voice again "it's really too quiet you should check on them" and foolishly i say again 'but ryan isn't crying so it can't be too bad.' well well well... little did i know about how WRONG i was. this is what i walked in to discover:

so i turned on my heels and did what every good mother would do in a situation like that. i called their dad. prepare yourself for the worst, i said to him. and we walked in together with our jaws hanging open in disbelief. you CANNOT be serious! and they couldn't and nor could we so against our better judgement we started laughing. i mean, what else could i do when faced with this:

you see my dilemma? if you want to see all the photos of the crime scene let me know, i'll gladly share my kodakgallery album with you.

as my MIL would say: oh, life!

silence | peace | patience

Saturday, October 21, 2006

shhh... make a decision quickly and quietly!

the kids are sleeping! (thunderous applause please, but keep it QUIET!) and the clock starts ticking down on my free time. what to do, what to do? the big question that circles round and round when the kids are asleep and i am all alone (nathan is off at the souketmarket): what in the world should i do? should i read? should i check my email? should i sleep too? should i catch up on housework? (NEVER!) obviously, today i decided to blog. (rolling my eyes)

so i am typing with a quiet fear lurking behind me that i will soon hear the weak cry of ryan waking up. i'm even pressing the keys as softly as possible. isn't this ridiculous? but it's a way life for so many moms (am i right, moms?) we so rarely have time alone in silence *in the house* that it's like winning a few thousand - no, several hundred dollars that you have to decide how to spend on one thing.

this morning i was thinking about my decision to pull lauryn from tambearly and i'm already second guessing myself. can you believe it? didn't i just outline to you and me all the reasons why this was the right decision? don't i know that she'll be better off with me doing the stuff our playgroup is doing? isn't she only three and doesn't need to be doing worksheets? yes, yes and yes! so what's the problem? it's the monster i used to call "mommy guilt" but have decided to rename "mommy doubt" which I feel is much more accurate. it's not so much a feeling of guilt as it is wondering if it's the best thing to do. there is a shadow of doubt. the second guessing that begins with conception. am i eating the right things, sleeping enough, getting enough folic acid? is this the right doctor? can i breastfeed? am i eating the right thing? is it too soon for solids? is THE BABY eating the right thing? and on and on and on it goes. where it stops, nobody knows. i mean, good grief!

so i am wrestling with this now. but my gut says it's right. still, i can't help but think about how PUTTING HER IN seemed like the right thing to do too. i wrestled and wrestled with that decision as well. decions, de-bloody-cisions! i wish i could get a direct connect to God with a 'heavenly' version of vonage like Godage or something so i could say Hello, YHWH? please tell me exactly what to do!!!

okay, i have to confess this (at the risk of seeming like i am completely off my nutter). the reason i am having some doubts about this tambearly thing is because i had a dream last night that God spoke to me. and it wasn't weird in the dream (like God speaks to people about their water all the time!). the jist is that i was about to get - actually *catch* - water from the earth (don't ask, it was a dream) to cook rice but the water was a little brownish, sort of off colour but not gross looking. and i saw a pool of clear water nearby and i thought to get that water instead but God spoke and said not to get that water because Adam (meaning man) had tainted it and that even though it LOOKED better, that was not the case. so, use the brown water, God said. ummm, hello??? what is that????? what am i supposed to take from a dream - my first ever - where GOD SPEAKS TO ME?!?! i cannot just pish-posh it. right?

anyway, i'm not changing my mind or anything but i am still hoping to have the meaning of this revealed to me (speaking to You, YHWH). in the meantime, i'd better try to get some reading in. as the little ones are still slumbering even after this epistle. be not silent, friends and readers. (i.e. WRITE ME!!) or at least post a comment.

silence | CLARITY | more clarity

(maybe be more specific in the dream, Lord.)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Miss Mommy

it's official: lauryn sawyer is now in her mommy's class at unicorn. she really likes it and as it is turning out (so far), she's not too bad to have around after all. i was actually quite surprised today at the level of maturity she displayed with responsibility. she actually took her paintbrush to clean it in the washroom after crafts ... and came back!!! with a clean brush!!! this was quite shocking to the mother-teacher. she's also very good at helping me boss people around - lol. today when one of the kids needed to go to the bathroom for a nappy change, i asked her (since she'd already proven herself responsible enough) to take him to miss dj (our assistant) who was already changing another fella in the bathroom. she even helped this little guy to get his bag and was just about to walk him through the door when miss dj came back. but i know she would've done it perfectly because as soon as miss dj walked in she said "miss dj, soandso needs to be changed," i would like to point out that this child is the same age as her. (purely for show offy-ness, as in wow what a smart kid you have cian. you must be such a fantastic mom!) not to say the other kid doesn't have a fantastic mom or anything... but miss wong did say that lauryn was the 'town crier' in the class. whatever was happening, lauryn could be counted on for an up to the minute report (apparently.)

this really feels like the right decision. and let me tell you why:

1. she's with me (HUGE)
2. she's with me again on wed and thursday.
2. (the real #2) she's doing more hands on stuff
3. i don't have to haul out to sandy port on tues and fridays so i have 2 non-rushy-rushy mornings (that's a technical term).
4. we don't have to 'find' $1300 every 3 months. lisa has kindly given us a very generous discount.
5. she's still so young. 3 days of good play are better than 5 days of schooly stuff.

good reasons, no? don't agree? tough.

if you can't stick by your beliefs, what do you have? and i really really believe that young kids should be playing!!! she has all the time in the world to learn letters and numbers. i mean really, what exactly does she need to be "reading" (emphasis on the air quotes) right now? ' the pre-schooler's guide to being a pain in the butt'? 'how to be adorable all the time' ? 'sharing: the fundamentals' ? really don't think so! the idea the kids can learn to read is so preposterous!!

anyway, next week is a holiday and boy am i heppay!! oh yeah baby. i may not be sleeping in, but i won't be rushing out that's for sure.

okay, i'm rambling... blah blah blah. the sludge-in-my-brain-cogs feeling is getting stronger by the keystroke. i have GOT to get to sleep. immediately. if not before.

silence | peace | more peace

Thursday, October 12, 2006

look out fan, here it comes

well, i've done it. i've done the big, scary thing. i sent a letter to someone very important in my life telling this person how much hurt they have caused over the years. this is very hard to do because the thought of hurting someone i love is almost unbearable to me. but this had to be done. so that i can move forward. i just sent the email and now i am waiting somewhat nervously for it to actually be delivered and read and then for the fallout. more on that later...

in other breaking news, it seems i am deciding to pull lauryn from her school. i've been feeling some angst about the "work" she's been bringing home for a couple of weeks now. i spoke to her teacher and the teacher seems like minded and she assured me that lauryn was only getting these exercises because the big kids got them and then the little ones felt left out so she'd just give them the worksheets for them to colour. (i'm talking match the numeral with the quantities, trace the letter, connect the dots - that kind of stuff.) now, you may or may not know that my very strong philosophy about early learning is that it should ALL be play - painting, playdough, water play, dress up, songs, finger plays, puppet shows and all that. no 3 year old should ever be given worksheets. EVER!! and when i compared what lauryn brought home with what the kids in my playgroup took home today i was sad. my playgroup kids took home multi-colored rice rainbow collages (they actually painted the rice themselves!!), drawings (doodles really) of their nature walk that we went on and a paint and crepe paper collage. we played with cups and floating balls and squeeky toys in the water today. THIS is the kind of stuff i want lauryn to be doing? so i keep asking myself why on bloody earth am i sending her to this $1300 per term montessori (ALLEGED montessori) programme when she could be having a blast with me for a LOT less?! because i'm scared to be her teacher. so i'm going to do a test next week and let her come to school with me to see how our relationship fares and i'm telling you i am inches away from pulling her from tambearly. i am really praying about this one. i'll keep you posted on that too.

funny story of the day: this morning i cooked lauryn her breakfast and brought it out for her. "come for breakfast mommy" i say to her. (i used to call her that all the time) she looked at me and said "did you call me mommy?" not without a hint of indignance, mind you. so i went back in the kitchen to get her milk and when i came back out she was seated at the table and she said "call my name LAURYN" just like that. so i said, "okay, your breakfast is ready LAURYN" and she said "gooooood." it was too funny! because it's exactly how the convo would have gone if the shoe were on the other foot. this girl is just too much.

okay, gray's anatomy is about to start. i must go. thanks for reading and sharing in my journey.

silence | clarity | honesty

Parenting, The Mothership

okay, let me start by saying that anyone who knows me well enough knows that my husband is a close to perfect as they come. my friend's husbands have declared it illegal for their wives to compare them to him. seriously. and all this isn't just hot stinky boasty air. i am saying all this more as a disclaimer than anything else. i.e. love my husband to death, wouldn't change him for the world. that being said...

the thing i have discovered since i first became pregnant... actually even BEFORE that is that just about every thing about parenting is driven (in most cases) by the mother. (the thought occurs to me as i type this whether it has anything to do with the fact that we are the physical vessels by which our offspring enter the world *shrug*) the very act of becoming pregnant usually requires some change in behavior (conscious or unconscious) on the mother-to-be's part. (stop taking/forget to take the pill, removal of an IUD, not requiring the partner to wear a barrier device.. that sort of thing). men don't up and decide to change their diets or health habits when we get pregnant (they don't need to.) then there's the breastfeeding - yes they support and do what they can, but if you nurse exclusively, you'd better believe that's all mom. what can he do?

so the intentional mother is constantly seeking information and analyzing whether things are okay and if not what can she do to help improve it. we are concerned about our children's nutrition, we are concerned about their development, we are concerned about their sleep habits, about their health, their education, we are concerned about their bowel movements!!! and yes, i am not denying that fathers are concerned too. but not the way we are. i rarely meet a mother who is NOT the captain of the Parenting Ship. and if she has a good husband, he makes a good first officer. i have a fantastic husband who makes the perfect first officer but i know that cian sawyer is the captain.

i read everything about what to expect or what to do about discipline, nutrition, education blah blah blah. i say this is what should happen here, there etc etc. for the better part of her life, i was the one deciding what the child would wear (though to be fair to my dear husband, he did try but i usually changed it due to inappropriateness (for weather or occasion usually)).

and these are true for just about every family i know! but this is because men are the hunters. they love their kids but this is not their deal. and they try very hard to make it so but this is not their deal. daddies are the ones who show up to play, support mom when and where he can and to show his kids that he loves them no matter what.

we are, after all, our children's first experience of god. and if we don't show them unconditional love and acceptance, how will they translate this to the deity? and it is my opinion that fathers have a critical role where this is concerned.

you may or may not agree with me but i am inviting comments. i would love a discussion. (esp. if you disagree!)

i might have more to say, but ryan is persistent and i must go!

silence | clarity | peace

Monday, October 09, 2006

another tired post

okay, first of all - that picture i posted in the last log - !!!! kinda big, donchya think? i am fighting the urge to remove it. but this battle runs deep. the whole love yourself thing and don't freak out because you've posted a giant photo of your (albeit not terribly unattractive) self for the entire world to see. (delusions of granduer - only like three people actually come here but still...) anyway, i'm forcing myself to keep it up. it's not like i'll crack the computer screen or anything. (right?)

next thing - damn, i'm still tired!!! what TH? well, i have been getting up at six and going to bed at too-late-to-admit-it for over a week and therefore missing a helluvalot of sleep! (so, what's new?) anyway, this having tuesdays off is wicked bad the best thing i ever decided to do! (work wise, obviously). still i manage to sabotage the self and book all kinds of stuff for that day. tomorrow i agreed to see a client. and i must. poor dear is really having a tough road with the breastfeeding (gasp! shock! dismay even!) note: these sarcastic comments are directed squarely at the soft places of the "medical professionals" who are attennding and orchestrating hospital births not the poor mother who is left to struggle alone afterwards. especially those who like to slice women open for not such good reasons. (well, *sigh* it HAS been 30 whole minutes of labour and i DO have somewhere to be in like seven hours, so let's do what's best for "THE BABY" and get it out of there... scalpel?) what TF??? i am so sick unto death of these bloody doctors!

listen i am going - at some point when i've slept for some six years - to get my butt in gear and fight to have midwife attended births legal again in the bahamas! no shit. this is ri-GD-diculous!! i mean honestly. the other thing i want to do is educate women that we are actually not just vaginas and uteruses (or would that be uteri?) that these doctors can do whatever the hell the want to with. we are thinking, breathing, SCARED, but damed POWERFUL mothers to be who need actual personal care and attention. are not women tired of feeling like we are going through the whole process on a conveyor belt? apparently not tired enough. and what is the damn deal with the elective cesearean birth? women, get back to yourselves! take control of your birth and your mothering!

[*rapidly shaking my head from side to side*] whoa, did i just go there? that was not my intention. i was just planning to complain a bit - no TALK about feeling tired some more. i don't know where that came from! anyway as you can tell i'm pretty passionate about birth and breastfeeding. i imagine this is not the last time i'll climb up on that personal favorite soapbox of mine on this blog. ohhhhh noooo...

blah blah blah.

what i really want to talk about are some INCREDIBLE truths i learned on the weekend at a spirituality retreat (yes the woman who curses in her blog IS spiritual. go figure.) anyway, it was an Anthony Demello - Awareness retreat and man oh man. IN. CRE. DIBLE!!! the basic premise is that being present in your life - actually living in every single moment (not the past or the future) through breath, meditation/prayer - will bring you in touch with the Divine. that our breath is the expression of God's name (YHWH). which as christian says, makes perfect sense that S/He would have a name that transcends every language. (most of the time our thoughts are occupied by the past or the future as in: i will be happy when.. or i would be happy if ___ didn't happen... like that).

they talked about ther being only one commandment in two parts: old testment - love the lord your god with all your heart and new testement: love one another. but that this is not something to *try* to do except by practicing awareness of God each moment and through this developing a love for all of creation and seeing His/Her beauty in every living thing. especially our brothers and sisters. we are really all one. one breath. one creation.

i have zillions more to say about this but i must go. life beckons. (one cannot belabour everything in writing. life must be lived. at this very moment!)

silence | clarity | PRESENCE

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

chopt lox

so after what seems very much like an eternity, I finally got a GREAT haircut!!! See how happy i look about it? all i can say is the cut cost me a thirty dollars and i felt like tipping dear sheena a whole other thirty when she was done. my hair is not the easiest to work with and i a have been a lost, lonely bushy haired soul since justina jetted to the UK over a year ago. honestly, i think the last time i got a proper *style* was about two years ago. i was just preggers with ryan (not even showing yet) so that had to be like what? maybe february of 05? that wasn't two years ago? woah. okay.

to be honest, the cut is a quite a bit shorter than i had intended but i trusted her and the ends were really in bad shape so i told her to run with the scissors and she did and i am one happy camper! i'm sooo heppay! [bad english accent ah la robin hood, men in tights].

well, aside from regular life, this is the highlight of my existence today. i have gobs to talk about but it's late and i must clean my temple (not the house, the body) and get to bed because i have been up since 4:30 this morning. i didn't physically get up till ryan woke up talking at 5:30, but was awake since then nonetheless. *yawn*

good night!