I just wanted to give an update on my little 2 year old’s tooth. I wrote recently about him having a little accident on his bike and cracking it. The first dentist suggested he should have it pulled. This meant baby straight jacket and major trauma for my little man and trauma for mama as well. He was not interested. Neither was I. On to the next opinion…

My wonderful friend Jamie saw my post and suggested I call her Dad, a retired pediatric dentist. I can’t tell you how helpful it was to receive such special attention from her father and her mother. I spoke with both of them a few times and they referred me to a dentist they loved for a second opinion. By way of the telephone and emails, it was assessed that the tooth could hopefully be saved and if nothing else, left alone. I just had to be on the lookout for abcesses which were a possibility if the nerve died.

Thankfully, during our visit to the dentist, it was decided that we could leave the tooth alone. My lucky, little wild man must have just missed the nerve. It cracked from top to bottom and the loose part was a little less than half of the tooth. So, we headed out and decided that no trauma, made that day a very good day!

I kept an eye on it and it was loose, so he missed out on corn on the cob for a while. He loves corn on the cob so you may not realize what a sacrifice that was. The other day, he was building legos and paused for a moment and walked over to me. He showed me something in his hand and said, “Look Mommy, me tooth fell out.” Sure enough, it was that portion of it that was loose that had fallen out and the other part remained perfectly in tact. He then said for the remainder of the day, “Me tooth fell out and me no have to go to dentist to have it pulled.” “Me so Lucky.” His excitement had only just begun.

After this happened, I got to introduce my boys to the wonderful world of the Tooth Fairy!

I told them all about this magical being who flies through the sky looking for little children who’ve lost their teeth. My little one got so excited and asked if he would come over to our house. I told him that I might be able to send him a message if he wanted to put in a special request for what he wanted as a token gift for losing his tooth. His request: m & m’s and glow sticks for his brother and himself. How could I refuse that? He knew this was a special occasion because otherwise he says, “candy is junk.” “It gives me a tummy ache and will make holes in my teeth.” He assured me that he would brush his teeth right after he ate this said junk 🙂

He asked me to please send an email or text to the Tooth Fairy with his wishes. Yes, he did say email or text. So, that evening, he just couldn’t wait to get to bed! He told me we had to put his tooth in a box so we could leave it for him. He told me we better take pictures, in case the tooth fairy can’t see him in the dark, to prove he lost his tooth. He asked if we could leave a present and some water for the tooth fairy. He was wondering how he would be able to fly and carry all of those things at once. He said, “Maybe he’ll have to bring a big bag and make two trips.”

We set up the tooth and put it under his pillow, we emailed him the pictures and the request for gifts, and he went to bed with such enthusiasm and innocence. He hoped the Tooth Fairy would hug and kiss him when he came in. He made sure I opened the bedroom window for him to fly through.

Aston’s first (half) of a tooth for the Tooth Fairy

The next morning he opened his eyes and had the biggest smile on his sweet, little face. He asked me to look under his pillow with him and there he found a gift bag! He could’t believe it. He opened it and all that he wanted was there. He was soooooo happy!!

For the remainder of the day, he told me he wanted the Tooth Fairy to come back so he could hug him and thank him. He really wanted to show his gratitude and meet this mythical figure. He asked if we could paint a special picture and leave it for him in case he stops back in the neighborhood. We did.

These are memorable moments. There is nothing like the innocence and awe of a child. You wonder if they really believe in these fables or they just play along. Either way, the storytelling on my end, and the sweetness, love and fascination on his, makes for memories I will cherish forever. Imagination is extraordinary.

Aston is very proud of his new smile. He feels so fortunate that he escaped an intimidating dental experience…for now. I’m going to hope everything continues to be okay and in 4 to 5 years, his new tooth comes in easily and without any issues.

The Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and other figments of our children’s imagination and the world’s creation, are so precious. I see their faces light up so beautifully and I remember that feeling so well. All was good in our world. We didn’t know fear. We didn’t know hate. Our only goal was to fulfill our curiosity. I clearly remember always feeling love. I’ve been working every day since those days as a young girl, to keep that alive within myself and now, to share that with my boys.

May You Create Magic in your Life Today and Let Your Imagination Take You Anywhere You Want To Go. Then… Really Go There.

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I started blogging about 4 years ago in an attempt to express myself and share my stories on attachment parenting. I never knew the term ‘attachment parenting’ existed until my first son was about 3 months old and people were constantly telling me I was doing things differently than normal.

I never knew what kind of mother I would be. In preparation of giving birth, I suppose I did things conventionally. I got the crib, set up the nursery, bought bottles, a breast pump, a stroller and a couple of baby carriers. I was ready for anything and really had no idea what that anything was.

When my son was born, the most powerful, natural and loving instinct awoke within my soul and that instinct is what made my decisions up until now and continues to guide me each day.

I now have two sons, 4 1/2 and 2 1/2. I have been breastfeeding since the first moment, and have continued each day since then. I’ve shared a bed with my boys since birth and I ensure safe and secure sleep, physically and emotionally. I used a stroller the first week and felt my son was not close enough to me and began wearing him in a carrier right away. I enjoyed it so much that I was inspired to create my own baby wrap line. I practice gentle and positive discipline. I respond with sensitivity, patience and love. I provide consistent, loving care and strive for balance in my life. Although I don’t need a label, I discovered, while looking for support when everyone seemed against me, the Wonderful World of Attachment Parenting.

Attachment Parenting International was my first introduction to not only the term, but the support I so badly wanted and needed one late night without sleep when I felt very alone.

I read and read and was so grateful to find a resource where I could relate to others and be a part of a community with like minded women. I began realizing how different we all were as parents. I never had a problem with what anyone else was doing however, I couldn’t believe the judgement and inquisition parade that scrutinized my every move as a mother.

I wrote a post a few years ago entitled ‘To Each Her Own’ and I would still write the same thing today. We are all different. We all make different choices in how we parent. We are not perfect and we will all make mistakes. I could’t believe the amount of support I got after writing that blog post. I began realizing how necessary writing was in order to express, relate and connect.

I have been writing weekly and the simple act of expressing my thoughts openly gives me more relief than I could have imagined. I used to be a very private person. Once I decided to start a blog, I made a choice to relinquish a bit of my privacy and anonymity each time I began typing.

Over time I’ve grown so much and the rewards are amazing. At first I just wanted to be understood and positive. Then I just wanted to get my feelings out on virtual paper but didn’t think anyone would listen. Then I started getting feedback and support. Then I became even more open. Then I found that others began opening up more and sharing honestly with me. I have my most surprising and therapeutic moments and breakthroughs as a result of writing and sharing. When I witness others relating to me, being affected, inspired or even against me, I feel like it’s all worth it. We are all connecting. We are all growing. We are all transforming.

Somehow, in a world where we are all doing our best and yet facing challenges every day, we are finding peace and comfort through the medium of communication. I am truly thankful for the incredible platform of social networking. As I read blog posts, scroll through news feeds, peruse articles, I feel like I am part of a community. I gather information. I identify with others. I get inspired to write and contribute my thoughts. I don’t feel alone.

Lastly, I want to say this. As I proceed on this journey through motherhood each day, I am finding that truth, openness and authenticity are so important and valuable. We can all paint pretty and perfect pictures of our lives. We can post only the positive things, the smiling photos of ourselves and our kids, and portray something that may appear lovely and inspiring to others from afar. It’s the truth and the not so glamorous reality of the challenges we face each day, as well as the precious and happy moments captured, that make us who we are. I am beginning to share more facts of my existence with you each day in an effort to connect even further. The intimacy that comes from this expression fills the spaces that were once empty and isolated. I thank those of you who share so candidly with me.

I am a proud attachment parent and I encourage you to Relax, Relate and Rejuvenate as we honor Attachment Parenting Month. I feel Renewed each day just knowing I am part of this amazing community. The parental support I receive from you is more appreciated than you know. My wish is for all of us to accept our differences and support one other with Compassion, Kindness and Love.

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.  She never existed before.  The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.  ~Rajneesh

This Post is part of the Attachment Parenting Month blog event, hosted by Attachment Parenting International.
Learn more by visiting API Speaks, the blog of Attachment Parenting International.

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I was recently asked by a few people to write on the subject of behavior and how I deal with my boys when things aren’t smooth and easy. Tonight feels like the night to share on this subject. Today was a crazy, challenging day and somehow, we all survived and communicated through it without anyone feeling any worse than we already had within ourselves. There wasn’t enough sleep last night which created a day filled with moodiness, sensitivity, and crying to name a few. I was having a lupus flare up with major fatigue and to top it off, we got home from a long day only to be locked out! So, I had the boys telling me they were cold and tired, ten bags on my arm, a borrowed ladder from the neighbor, our dog in tow and had to handle this situation. I attempted to climb up to the second story balcony like spider man. As my boys cheered me on, and after calling a few people walking by to assist, we were finally successful and opened the door I thankfully left unlocked today! Just another day in the life. Should I share or should I only share my smiles and happiness? I am choosing to share.

One of the things I’ve always believed is that most of us grew up with the feeling of not being good enough. I learned this several years ago and not only did I remember the point in my life when I made that decision, but I began to see the pattern in everyone I knew. That point when you were a child and the world was yours. You were carefree with mismatched socks on, crooked glasses on your face, a missing front tooth and had no idea what perfect or imperfect was. You just walked around fulfilling your curiosity and trying to find your place in this world without knowing exactly what “fitting in” meant yet.

Then, one day, something happened. Someone made fun of you. Someone judged you. Someone pointed out your differences. Someone made you cry. At that point, you made a decision, most likely unconscious, that you weren’t good enough and the negative self image, comparison to others, and quest to fit in or stand out began.

The reason I am mentioning this is because that happened to me and I’ve spent most of my life actually standing on the outside. I wanted everyone to like me and then I realized I cared more about being ME and understood that not everyone would. Today, I want to share with you because I believe that as a parent, or as any human being trying to find your way, you must realize and understand this pattern so you can not only heal yourself, but also do your best to prevent the same feeling from affecting the younger generations of this world. This awareness and transformation begins with ourselves and our children first.

I had no idea what kind of parent I would be. I had no idea what patience was until I had my first child. No idea. I had no idea what unconditional love was although I thought I had known it well. I truly discovered Love, Patience and an Instinct within myself that I had never known. This instinct is what guides me each day. This Love is what allows me to be patient and kind and strong, no matter what.

I didn’t know that the term ‘gentle’ or ‘positive’ discipline existed, yet I knew that’s what I was practicing. Once you hear a term or you hear others doing what you are doing, it makes you feel like you have support, like you are not alone and like you are not as different as everyone says you are.

I am non-traditional in my ways. Yes. I have been judged and doubted and questioned along the way and I’m certain that will continue. That is fine. My sons may cry in front of you or they may throw a fit in a public place. You may stare and say, “Can’t that woman get her kid’s under control?” You may say, “I know her kid’s are crying because she is an attachment parent and she’s still breastfeeding.” Let me think of what else you might say just so you know that I’m already aware you are saying it. “Sandy really needs to do time outs and discipline those boys or they are just going to be crazy.”

Although I wish you would be kind and have empathy for me and all of the other parents or caretakers out there struggling in moments when they can’t control a situation or sad that their child is suffering, I can’t do anything about you or those like you. You either don’t have kids, think yours are perfect, think you are perfect, or have no idea what it is to love so much that you care more about comforting your suffering child, than being embarrassed because someone can’t handle the annoyance of your struggle.

When children act out, they are crying for attention. They are crying because something isn’t right. They are hungry, they are tired, they are frustrated, they are scared. They may simply need you to hold them. That is all that matters to me. Being there for them in those moments. Logic sometimes works. Sometimes it’s just removing them from the situation if they will let you. Sometimes it is just holding them and assuring them that you are there until it passes.

We must breathe deeply and remain calm. Even if that doesn’t seem possible. I don’t ever want to threaten or shame them into anything. I don’t believe in it. When I do the juggling act of distraction that I sometimes find necessary, I do it in order to get them out of the momentary stress they are experiencing.
I don’t dismiss what they are going through. I acknowledge their feelings and their point of view once they are able to communicate with me and we move on with the next moment in our day.

I believe that communication is the most important thing. In any relationship. I communicate with my boys and always have. I respect them as people. They know this and this is how we work our issues out. This is how we support one another and learn who we are. Dominance, yelling, threatening, scaring, punishing…I’m sorry. I do not believe in. Think about yourself. When someone does that to you, do you react gently, kindly, respectfully, obediently. Or would you say you are more defensive, angry or hurt? Yes, you may react obediently but what is that. The negative effects of the situations are prolonged, the hurt feelings linger and something is taken away from you. Somewhere along the way, you will feel like you are bad, not good enough, or unloved.

Obedience to me may look good to others and others may comment on how well behaved your children are, but with obedience comes less of their spirt. In my opinion, communication and positive discipline allow for children to be themselves, allows for their spirits to be free and yet they will learn the respect and boundaries needed without crushing their souls and making them compliant robots for the sake of looking good to others.

To be clear, we are all different. I am only sharing what works for me and what I believe. I am not perfect. I can only hope that my example, my choices and my methods will make my boys strong, independent, free-spirited, confident, loving, compassionate, kind men. I hope that they always remember and know how loved they are. I believe it is the gift of feeling loved that gives us what we need in Being who we are supposed to BE in this Lifetime.

Patience and Love. Support and Encouragement. Warmth and Compassion.
I hear you. I understand you. I respect you. I love you.

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As I lie here in the middle of a terribly rough night with two sick children, my mind is abundant with thoughts.  I feel the need to express myself and want to share with all of you.

I’ve always been a very private person.  Since starting my business and also deciding to write a blog, I realized I wasn’t going to be as private anymore.  I discovered and am constantly discovering, that sharing, and connection through sharing, is so important.  Each step of my journey thus far in writing my stories on motherhood, has been pivotal for my growth.  For one, this expression takes me out of my private world which I once didn’t share, and the perception of me and my choices will no longer be anonymous.

When I entered the world of Facebook, it was initially so exciting.  Connecting with the past and present in such a way was and still is, heartwarming and engaging. I was shy in the beginning and just played voyeur to all of your lives, updates, and photos.  I sat back waiting for my fingers to transmit the voice I so wanted to articulate.

I would stand comfortably in the middle and not bring up or even acknowledge anything that might have been controversial or initiated judgement against me.  As I started getting more and more comfortable with myself, and my need and desire to express my thoughts openly, I began sharing more.

I love posting happy photos of my boys.  I love posting inspiring and positive quotes for the day.  I enjoy seeing all of yours.  I love writing blogs and sharing them in hopes that discussions will be started.  I love sharing articles on parenting and life that I find important.  I love the awareness of so many things you all bring to my life, via Facebook.  Even if we disagree or stand for opposing sides, I appreciate that we have a place where we can gain knowledge and insight into topics of every sort as well as the ability to understand and accept one another.

I observe your posts though the news feed and often wonder as I see photos each day of smiling kids and happy couples, if you endure challenges as I do.  I wonder if you are afraid to share.  I wonder if you are simply private like me.  I wonder if we are all hiding until just one of us opens up and takes the chance to be honest and subjective to others opinions and criticism.  I wonder if you would be ok with people knowing you are not perfect.

Putting ourselves, our beliefs, our lives out there so candidly is brave.  I don’t find it to be boastful unless of course, that’s all it is.  I have been finding that the more authenticity I see in people, the more I respect them and feel comfortable in sharing my own.  I find this to be the case in all things.  I want connection.  I want support. I want to be support for you.

When you or I share about the fact that our child is late in potty training and how challenging that task can be, we allow others in the same position to not only feel like they are not alone, but it gives us an open forum for possible insight and reinforcement we may need.

Yes, people will talk about us.  Yes, people will judge.  I don’t care about that and I hope you don’t either.  It is more important for us to work through these issues we struggle with rather than worry about the people who laugh and talk behind our backs.  I don’t need those people.  I need the ones who care about me and understand that I am doing my best.  I am not perfect.  My children are not perfect.  In letting go of our fear of what people will think or say, we open ourselves up to the ones who do care.  Who will support us.  Who may need us and are going through the same thing.  This is what we need.  This is why I will share more intimately and I welcome you to join me.

We are all different. We all parent differently.  I believe we all want to connect.  We all need each other because we are all connected. I am looking forward to sharing in my upcoming posts in a way I haven’t before.

Life is transcendent.  Life presents it’s challenges.  No matter how healthy, successful, beautiful, smart, loved, creative and bright you are, you will experience them. Parenting is the greatest gift. Parenting is also arduous.  No matter how patient, loving, kind, strong and educated you are, you will experience situations you can’t imagine getting through, and yet, you will.

In moments like these, when we struggle and feel alone and helpless, I am grateful for my patience, strength and Love. I’m here if you want or need to share.

May you bring to light that which you fear and reveal something you didn’t think you could.  I will do the same.

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I love to believe I’m on the cutting edge of social media and technology however, I am now realizing I’m a bit slow in catching on sometimes. My girlfriends Kim and Mary, who both know me so well, have been telling me about Pinterest for quite some time. “Oh Sandy, you will LOVE it!” and “When are you going to join Pinterest? It is so YOU!!”

Having two little ones and a very full life, I thought it was acceptable that I didn’t have the time or didn’t get involved in something new. Well, now I’m here to tell you that Pinterest is my new favorite thing. Yes, If I was Oprah, there would be a show and this would be the topic!

I must admit, I thought Pinterest was simply a place to gather photos of shoes and bags and fancy homes. Although that sounds amusing, I just didn’t think it was on the top of my priority list. I had time this weekend in the middle of the night because I was sick and unable to sleep. Facebook was quiet, emails were read, responses were sent, and I wanted to browse. I thought, ‘Let me check out this Pinterest thing.’ There it began and went on for hours.

I started pinning away and setting up boards like I had a big presentation the next day entitled ‘Who Are You and What Inspires You!’

I realized this wasn’t just about shoes, cozy spaces, lounge chairs in the Maldives or heart shaped Rice Krispie treat recipes, but rather, a place to truly design and conceptualize all that inspires us! I do believe in the power of visualization and manifestation.

While pinning creative spaces, all I could think about was the studio I so badly want to set up one day so I can paint and create. I’ve always wanted that but now, with this beautiful board covered in images of amazing spaces, I will bring it into existence!

As I pin kid’s projects, I realize I can be more imaginative and present with activities that I never would have thought of on my own! Food coloring in itself is a major ingredient for FUN, Creativity and New Inventions!

Pinning all of the fabulous photographs invigorates the photographer in me! I just want to organize my many thousands of pictures and take a million more. I want to share the many snapshots I’ve taken in my life and capture the precious moments still to come.

Browsing vacation and travel boards reminds me of all of my travels thus far and the many more in my future. These images stimulate me for the world tour my family will be taking this coming year! I now have a place to collect and organize the regions we will visit and the magical places we can’t miss.

Here is where I really got inspired and delighted…I thought Pinterest was exclusively a showcase for photos. That would have been grand enough. While browsing, I would come across pictures that would say ‘Top 20 Things To Do WIth Your Kids’ and would wish I could read the article. Then, after many hours on there, I realized I simply had to click on the image and it led me to the piece!

This took my experience and my participation to another level. I was now able to share my Blog on Pinterest. I went to Pinterest goodies and set myself up and added photos of my Baby Love Wraps and links to all of my blog posts! I am amazed and in awe of this brilliant platform.

I know people say it is addictive and some say it is a waste of time. My experience is wholeheartedly Full of Love, Enthusiasm, Imagination, Discovery, Motivation, Inspiration and Artistry! It’s a place to Fully Express myself and all of my (P)interests. It’s a Canvas in which I can paint all of the colors of my Life, My Passions, My Dreams! I love to Create. I love to Express. I love to Share. I love to Inspire. I love to BE Inspired. Pinterest is a platform in which I can do all of the above. I am enjoying it all so much and now I must declare those two captivating words. Happy Pinning!

Thank you Dear Pinterest founders, creators, developers and the rest of the team for this amazing gift. I shall spread the word simply because I wish for everyone to be as Inspired as I am right now!

Please join me at www.pinterest.com/sandyfrankfort and let’s IMAGINE, CREATE and SHAPE our Visions on this lovely ‘Pin Board’ of Life!

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As I sit here with my boys asleep on my lap, I realize I want to share what it’s like to be sick in our home. Thankfully, this hasn’t been a common occurrence lately but I often hear families speak of the spreading from one family member to another and the lengthy cycle of a flu or virus running through a household and taking all prisoners in sight.

It began with my Pierce last week waking up one morning and seeming a bit under the weather. Then came the vomiting and fever. During times like these I’m so grateful we get to just cuddle on the couch and I can tickle his back and give him extra love. It truly breaks my heart to see my boy’s suffering in any way. I know it’s part of life but it just hurts to see those ill little faces, glassy eyes, and tears that fall when they say “No me like it” when they are sick. 🙁

Aston followed two days later just as Pierce was turning the corner. He tried to fake it and act strong until the moment he couldn’t anymore. Then those tears began falling and the same sad mantra played…breaking my heart each time.

The stomach flu then decided to turn into a cold flu with headaches, sore throats, stuffy noses and coughing affecting all of us. Ok, I don’t need to tell you all of the details about our week with this invader and how challenging it has been and continues to be. My intention for sharing this with you is to explain what I am grateful for during times like these.

I am grateful that I still nurse and get to soothe in a way that makes my boys feel secure and comfortable when they need it most. I am grateful that we share a family bed and I get to hold them and comfort them during the night. I love that I get to steal a million kisses throughout the night and watch their little chests rise and drop with each breath. Aston threw up last night while asleep and I was able to wake him and hold him up until he finished. I cleaned him and changed his pjs and he fell right back asleep.

I love that we are so connected and I am so in tune with them. We take care of each other. I’ve been sick also and they make efforts to take care of me. They offer to rub my feet, run a bath , prepare soup, and anything else their sweet little hearts can think of to help.

I am grateful that we can all sit on the couch together and read books, do puzzles, watch movies and trace the alphabet on the Ipad (it’s called “Tall Pink” in our house because of the pink case).

As challenging as sick times are, and I must say they are, I am grateful that we get to go through them together. We experience temporary moments of relief and laugh and smile in spite of it all. When it’s rough, it’s rough and we are there to comfort one another. I am so thankful to be a Mom. I am so lucky to be their Mom. My favorite remedy for any ailment and for everything in life is and will always be…LOVE. ♥

May We All Be Granted Good Health and Enjoy Each and Every Moment We Are Given.

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Labor Day is upon us and it is with great delight that some parents are sending their children back to school.  It is a time in which  parents get the much needed breaks they have longed for as the end of summer approaches.  They get back into their routines and create new ones.  They shop for school supplies, pack lunches and capture those precious “first day” photos!

Pierce, my oldest son, is four and a half and by some conventional standards should be in preschool already.  I have chosen to keep my boys with me and have opted out of the preschool route.  I understand and respect the teaching profession immensely even though I’m not choosing traditional schooling at this time. I realize I am very fortunate that I get to stay home and raise my boys.  I give thanks for this everyday and this is the choice I have made for me and for my family.

There was a time when I considered becoming a teacher.  I always had a chalkboard and loved teaching my brothers, sister and anyone else who would sit in.  I would have my mom take me to get stickers at the office supply store so I could reward them as I graded their work.  I remember taking it so seriously and I truly enjoyed the act of teaching.  When I became a mother I was given that job and it came with two beautiful pupils who call me Mommy, Mama and the latest, Mamina. ♥  I don’t get summer vacations or spring breaks and that is ok.  The benefits I receive cannot be measured nor would I trade them for anything.

Along this journey so far, I’ve often wondered which path I would choose for my boys in terms of schooling.  People have told me about private schools with farms, public schools with Ipads, Montessori schools and everything in between. I’m happy these choices are available and have worked for so many.  I have chosen to keep my boys by my side every day and I continue to trust myself and my instincts as their mother in deciding what is best.  I educate myself on the options available and I continue to learn more each day.  This is a time I don’t want to miss as it all goes by too quickly.

With anything, there will be doubters and somewhere you will find supporters. I made choices in regard to extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping and positive discipline. I went against the norm, especially in my circle of friends and family, and discovered that I was not alone. I realized, after a period of questioning myself because of judgement and doubt from others, that my instincts must be trusted.  I realized that the Love I act from cannot be wrong.  I learned that this gift I was given upon delivering children to this world, is the strongest and truest voice I’ve ever heard.  I don’t doubt it anymore.  I will gather information and make decisions but I trust my voice.  I trust my love.  I trust my intentions.

The argument I hear time and again for sending my boys to school outside of the home is the issue of socialization.  Both of my boys are very social and more than social, they are socially aware.  I don’t look at school as a social experiment and I never have.   Sadly the issue of bullying still exists and it only seems to be getting worse.

As a student, I felt that school didn’t necessarily teach me critical thinking.  It didn’t teach me to Love the act of Learning, but rather the act of memorization.  Thankfully I developed those things in spite of that. School systems base intelligence on the ability to remember and repeat.  It is said that children are great imitators.  They are sponges.  I want to show my sons the world and give them things beyond their imagination to emulate. I want them to problem solve and experience different cultures, ways of traveling, languages, countries, art, sports and so much more.  I want them to be original.  I want them to be free spirited.  I want them to Create and Invent themselves.  I want them to be leaders…not conformists, socially or intellectually.  These are my wishes and my ideas.  We are all different.

As I explore the possibility of homeschooling, I find myself growing more interested every day. At the end of each year, children are required to pass a state mandated test for their grade level.  Since homeschooling has become so popular and is on the rise exponentially, programs are being created in an effort to make it more of a communal experience.  There are sports leagues with homeschooled kids, museum tours, community service projects and many other social and educational events and opportunities in which kids in the same age brackets and grade levels come together.

My youngest son Aston is two and a half and he is so bright and curious.  He speaks like an adult and questions everything…as he should! He’s already learning French and very interested in reading, puzzles, sports, cooking, legos, art and dancing! My big boy Pierce is just as bright and curious.  He’s so athletic and enthusiastic about baseball, soccer, tennis, swimming, running and any other sport he can get himself into.  He loves the alphabet, reading, counting, spelling, legos, cooking and the World Map.

I believe playing is such an important part of learning and growing. Both of my boys love acquiring information.  I truly believe part of that comes from the fact that I am engaged and completely present during those times. In this age, when we are so connected to our digital appendages, true presence is a rarity and one of the greatest gifts we can offer.  I plan on continuing this journey with my boys as both their mother and their trusted teacher.  I am teaching them to make decisions that are right for them and to question what they are told should be considered normal.  I don’t believe in normal.  I believe in letting your own, unique light shine. I do not follow societal norms.  I do not rebel but I pave my own way.  I want them to learn the same.

I understand home schooling isn’t for everyone. I will continue to research it and other options and come to a decision when the time arrives that I need to do so. Part of the education I implement daily is just based in fundamental values.   My boys will learn to focus on their strengths and they will determine how to improve upon their weaknesses. They will learn that they don’t have to fit into a hierarchy to be accepted.  I wish for them to know that they can be well adjusted socially and smart without being criticized.  They can excel at making friends and still get an excellent education.  I want them to choose their friends based on values and not upon how cool someone is or what kind of clothes they wear.  I want them to establish the foundation of their being, not from their peers, and not from strangers. These will all be influences along the way.

The formative years can never be re-written.  I want to Love, Nurture, Support, Encourage, Guide and uncover this world to them and all it has to offer.  I want them to learn compassion and love in a way that exposure to the world can only show.

Education is Life.  Life is our education. We were all brought up differently.  We were all influenced and inspired by different things.  What got us to where we are today is a combination that we each hold our own key to.  We would have changed many things or perhaps we would have changed nothing.  As a parent, I can tell you this.  I am grateful for the wisdom I have gained up to this point in my forty years. I look forward to growing and learning together on this precious journey of life.

 

“I never teach my pupils, I only provide the conditions in which they can learn.”

Albert Einstein

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Today, I brought my boys to the dentist. I would have preferred the visit was for a simple cleaning or even a cavity, but unfortunately, it was for a different purpose.

 My little Aston was riding his bike with his daddy and must have hit a crack in the sidewalk and flipped over the handlebars. His face was all scratched and bruised, which you noticed if you saw any of my recent photos, although you probably thought it was paint or dirt 🙂 I also noticed a crack in his front tooth but prayed it was just a hairline crack that would harden and be fine. My other thought was glue. Can the dentist just glue that thing back together?

Well, my little tough guy doesn’t like any attention paid to his boo boos and he certainly doesn’t want to admit anything is wrong. When I told him we had to go and have his tooth checked out, he calmly stated, “ No Mommy, it’s ok. My tooth will get hard again and I’ll be fine. I don’t have to go to the dentist.” He also told me his tooth wasn’t loose, it just feels like popcorn 🙂 He makes me laugh and he is just too cute and sweet for words. So, the dentist told us we have to have his tooth pulled because the crack goes all the way up to his gum. It’s loose which means it isn’t a simple crack that can heal or just stay that way and fall out when it’s supposed to. I am very sad about it. His precious little teeth and adorable little smile are about to change.

Have any of you experienced this? If he was older and it was closer to the time his tooth would be falling out, that would be one thing. I was just wondering if anyone knew if there were other options. I have a feeling there aren’t although I’m getting a second opinion. I would appreciate any insight.

My 4 year old got an exam, X-rays and a teeth cleaning and I was so, so proud of him. He sat in the seat, let the dentist do her thing and he obliged. It’s amazing watching your kids grow up and witnessing the little steps they take. I didn’t think he would even sit in that chair. He was such a big boy and so proud of his teeth and his willingness to cooperate. He knew this was an accomplishment and he was so excited about his new Mader toothbrush and Spider Man dental floss. This was a big day that I had anticipated for a long time and I’m grateful the first visit is behind us.   

When I put things in perspective and realize how much my little man has endured health wise up until now, this is a minor issue. He is so strong, determined, smart and special because of his hardships. He is my little gentle warrior. A missing front tooth will be a badge of honor he will wear proudly. So, when I think of it like that, I realize, it’s ok. He will be fine. It’s just a tooth. I also understand that we all face so many challenges in this life, none of which are easy. We just have to shift our perspective and maintain a positive attitude the best we can. We can always think of something happening elsewhere that is much worse than what we are going through. I also believe we all have a right to our sadness and our own process in dealing. No matter how minor or severe our situation may be.

Lastly, I want to say that accidents happen. I know this. I always feel like my boys will be safe while under my supervision. I always hope for this, however, having two boys, I know that unexpected events are invariably a possibility. I don’t blame my husband. I know he loves the boys and was watching them. It was simply an accident. Blame never fixes the problem anyway. It’s just one of those things in life where we wish we could turn the clock back for just one second. One of those occurrences where you just wish you could’ve done something differently which would have altered the negative result. I just wanted to share this because I believe as parents, we all go through this. This is another area I struggle with. I only want to be positive and fearless. I don’t believe this is possible once having kids. I am with them most of the time and yet, I know there will be times I won’t be. I suppose I can only LOVE with all of my heart and trust that they will be fine and safe while we are apart. What else is there?

Enjoy the Adventure…Mishaps and All 🙂

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The two greatest joys of my life stood at the foot of my hospital bed, just a couple of days ago.  The previous night I was lying in bed with, what felt like, an 800-pound gorilla on my chest.  I was having difficulty breathing and I was doing everything in my power to stay calm.  I didn’t want to alarm anyone, I didn’t want to wake up the house, and I didn’t want to go to the ER.  My mantra, during episodes like this is, “Everything will be okay, just relax.” I always repeat this to myself when something just doesn’t feel right and I’m afraid to admit that fact.

I was never afraid before I gave birth to my boys.  I used to stare fear in the face with courage and strength.  “Whatever is meant to be”, I would say.  My two boys were asleep next to me during this incident.  They have blessed me with the greatest role of my life. I am their mother.   Now I am facing fear in a different way.  I’m trying to dismiss it.  I can’t be afraid because that will cause stress.  Yet, I feel helpless.  “Please don’t let anything happen to me tonight”, I plead, “as I must be here for my boys”.  “Please don’t take me away from them and please give me the strength to get through this.”

I was awake all night and in the morning the feeling was just as severe and I was just as scared.  I was hunched over in pain.  What was I supposed to do? As I mentioned, I tend to write things off and dismiss them when it comes to my health.  I do not want to be dramatic, even if the situation may call for it, and I always think it will pass and I can handle it on my own.

I called my doctor and he told me to get to the ER immediately.  Once I arrived they gave me an EKG, an I.V., XRAYS, and blood work within minutes.  I told them how I felt and how long I’d been feeling that way and of course I mentioned that I have Lupus.

I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus six years ago.  This kind of lupus can affect any part of the body and attacks the body’s cells and tissue. These attacks result in inflammation and periods of illness called flares, alternating with remissions.  I mention this because you will understand why I try to brush off my various symptoms as they occur.  “Oh, it must be a Lupus flare up.”  Some of my others are, “my period is coming, I’m tired, I’m so active with the boys, and I’m fine.”  Well, on this particular day, I realized things needed to change.

I had to seriously look at myself and figure out what I could do differently.  I needed to truly accept the fact that I have Lupus and embrace it once again.  I have been breastfeeding for almost five years, and I am a vegetarian.  I’ve been a vegetarian for most of my life and turned vegan after it was first determined that I had Lupus. All of these things take a major toll and demand a lot from this one body I’ve been given.  I must be proactive like I was when I was first diagnosed. I must create a new plan to nurture and fortify my system and myself. I will commit to juicing and exercising daily as well as allowing enough rest to let my body heal. I read a wonderful book called the ‘Lupus Recovery Diet’ and in it, I learned so much about the importance of diet in any disease.  I’m also anemic so I must be sure to eat foods that are rich in iron. Additionally, I will be taking B12 which we vegetarians need since it is mostly found in meat, a daily multi vitamin, vegan omega 3’s, flax seeds in my morning green drink and juicing with organic raw vegetables.

I don’t want to be afraid.  I want to be strong and healthy.  I want to enjoy each and every moment with my boys.  I want to thrive and overcome.  I want to Live Fully and happily.  Isn’t this what we all want?

Thankfully my heart and lungs checked out ok this time and now I have to see an ENT doctor to explore my esophagus.  I am grateful that I made it through the emergency and the pain. The weight on my chest is gone. Yesterday was a better day and today is another tough one. I get through and I manage on the challenging days because, having kids you love so much, doesn’t leave you with much choice. Each day is new.  I always find the strength because of my passion for life, for love, and for my boys.  Raising them with all of the LOVE I have inside of me is all I can ask for.  Receiving their Love and witnessing their growth and development is purely magical.

In closing, I thank you for listening to this personal tale I needed to share.  I am doing my best and I’m grateful I’ve realized what I need to do.  I will not let fear take over.  I will be smart and cautious and always pay attention to the whispers and the screams.  I am thankful.  I am human.  I am here if you want to talk about something you might be going through or if you have any questions.  We all need support.

Much Love and Good Health to You,

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I’d love to introduce you to Jeremy, a wonderful person I’ve connected with because of our similar feelings and goals in raising children! We both love to travel and we discovered in reading each other’s blogs, that we are choosing to raise our kids with travel, as an integral part of their development. We both agree that travel will teach them compassion, awareness, kindness toward others, and will give them a broader view of the world. It is during the first seven years of life that the foundation is set for a person. We grow, we change, we learn, but our first years are the most valuable in determining who we become fundamentally in terms of values, personality, and intrinsic nature.

Jeremy’s passion and curiosity to travel the world and document his experiences began with a t-shirt and a blog. Initially his purpose was to take a memorable picture and write a story about it. His focus has since broadened. Now, he is all about helping others while traveling and donating his time, labor and anything in between to those who truly need it.

He is an inspiration and an amazing guide and example to not only his daughter, but to all of us. Please visit his website to learn more about him and wear his t-shirt proudly as you travel the globe on your own adventures!

RAISING A GLOBAL CITIZEN

“Hi my name is Jeremy. I’m 26 and a father of a little four year old explorer!” This sentence might be one of the many that you hear come out of my mouth. Life has given me the greatest opportunity, the opportunity to raise a child!

Most people (men) I know are not so keen when it comes to letting go of their liberties. Myself on the other hand, I welcomed one day having a child of my own.

I’m not sure why this was the case, but I always found it a role in life I wanted to be a part of. That role finally came my way in 2008 literally two days after my birthday! My daughter was brought into this world, and forever changed the way my life operates.

I have described on the blog before how my daughters mother and I always intended travel to play a big role in her life. For me though it went further than just travel, for me it was about what travel could bring into her life.

Here’s a little story I’ve always concocted in my mind when thinking about this:

Father: My child I bring you the gifts from the world

Child: Thank you dad! Where are they from?

Father: They are from various places around the world, this one from Africa, this one from Asia etc

Child: They all look so different, why?

Father: Well child, the people out in this world are different, different colors, different styles, all different.

Child: When will I have the opportunity to see these ‘different’ people?

Father: Well that is why I bring you these souvenirs, so that I may share these stories with you about my travels.

Child: Father I can feel these materials, and I can enjoy them, but I cannot sense them, appreciate them, the same way you have. A story is a great, but to experience is even better!!

Father: Well then child I think it’s time for you to go see the world!

♥♥♥♥

My point with this little tale is that hearing about something is not the same as experiencing it. I have been to many parts of this world, and that is great. I could share these stories with my daughter as she gets older for sure. For her to really appreciate them, wouldn’t it be much better for her see it through her own eyes, rather than through eyes of someone else?

Travel has fundamentally altered the way I perceive others, myself, and the role we all play in this big world. As I’ve gotten older, and have become more aware of certain societal issues, I began to realize the world did not revolve around just me. I stared poverty in the eye, became acquainted with social inequalities and so on.

For this reason travel + helping has become so important in my life.

The role I have as a father is one of great responsibility. Not only for myself ,but for the little girl that looks up to me as well, and by no means do I take that responsibility lightly.

Together her mother and I are trying to raise a socially responsible child, one who is compassionate & informed. We present her with the good things in life, while also trying our best to instill things in her that will make her appreciative of the life she has.

On my end I am trying to achieve some of this through world travel. I would like my daughter to realize that the world is a big place, one that can be open to her if she so chooses.

As each day passes and she grows ever so slightly. I look forward to a day when I can look upon her and revel in the person I know she will be.

A person who has seen the world, and understands the role she can play in it.

Being the big softy dad I am, I can’t help but to suggest a path like my own, but however it plays out I will always support her!

So as I sit back and witness her become her own person we will continue to make progress on racking up experiences & country stamps on our passports!

Jeremy or IHeartTravel

Connect with IHeartTravel:

Website: www.i-heart-travel.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/HeartTravel

Twitter: https://twitter.com/heart_travel

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