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11 March 2014

The Simplicity of Being a Superhero

from Cleveland Heights, OH, USA
Welcome to the March 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Everyday Superheroes
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about the remarkable people and characteristics that have touched their lives. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
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Niko has been stuck on superheros for a little while now, as I imagine all children do from time to time. We have a growing collection of figures, from Batman to Spiderman and the Avengers to the small fortune of Star Wars toys he's collected from old stashes and recent trips to the store, and we spend a good chunk of our television time perusing the associated programs and short movies.

But if you ask Niko what being a superhero means, he has some pretty great answers. Aside from having superpowers like flying or being really, really smart, he knows that superheros are good guys - even the lady superheros, good "guys," too - who thwart, fight, destroy, and foil their supervillian opponents.

Superheros are good.

10 March 2014

How to Be Alone.

from Cleveland Heights, OH, USA
I first came across this poem shortly before I had Niko, when I was at the cusp of never being alone again.


Now, when I get one night alone a week, I try to appreciate it. I've never been afraid of alonedom. I've always loved it and needed a moderate amount of it.

Before Niko arrived, I loved the thought of never being alone again. And now, aside from the obvious desiring space to pee alone or sleep in, I relish my time alone, to myself.

I don't think that makes me a bad mother. I'm just being honest.

"If your heart is bleeding, make the best of it." - Tanya Davis
14 January 2014

New Year, Same Constants

from Cleveland Heights, OH, USA
Welcome to the January 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: The More Things Stay the Same
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about the continuity and constancy in their lives. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
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This year is going to be a year of changes - some definitely happening, some may or may not. Niko will most likely start preschool if all goes as planned. I am taking his father to court. I am hoping to make a career change and get ready to go back to school. A new car is looking to be on the horizon. I would really like to prepare to put my house on the market and move far, far away from where I am at. Maybe this year I'll find a significant other (wouldn't that be nice!?). I'm toying with the idea of getting a cat.
With so many changes, it's difficult to say how my little bud will do, so it will be important to maintain some consistencies.

One-on-One Time

Once a month or so, Niko and I go on a date. I let him pick a restaurant - one where we sit down and everything! - and we have dinner either before or after doing something together - going to a movie, buying a treat at the toy store, checking out a local family activity. Nine times out of ten, it's the same restaurant but.. it's close to my house, and dinner is always good and usually under $20, including a beer for me, so.. I don't mind. We chit chat about a sundry of topics and take time to just enjoy each others' company. It's really quite sweet!

Family

I have a highly involved family, which I've found is about 50/50 on the normality front. I see my parents at least 4 out of 7 days a week and talk to at least one of them daily. Niko spends 4 days out of the week with one or both of them, including one night overnight. I am eternally grateful for the help and love of my parents, as well as my siblings. Without them, I'd be lost. They will all continue to be a facet in our lives.

Health

The last quarter of 2013 ushered in some changes for us as far as health is concerned. We started reducing gluten intake in an effort to curb some behavioral issues I was noticing and because.. well.. bread.. carbohydrates.. we eat too many. I started running (and in the harsh Cleveland winter have turned to ellipticalling). I quit smoking (okay.. more or less... I have those little electronic cigarettes for when I'm feeling weak.. like at work... ). We've been modifying the way we buy groceries, cook, and eat. I hope to continue this trend, and while, yes, it is a continual change, it's a constant that we've been working on and working to continually improve.

Soccer

Last fall, in an effort to start socializing Niko and getting him interested in things other than what can only be displayed on a screen, we played soccer as part of the Local Soccer Academy (he's too little for Rec Center Soccer - a program put on by the same people) in a program designed to introduce basic skills to children aged three to five. It was a test in patience, and we definitely had one week (of a six week program) that we had to cut out of the hour long session about thirty minutes early, but overall, Niko enjoyed it, and especially loved Coach Cheryl (Coach Robbie, not as much.. Sorry, Coach Robbie!). It also has given him an opportunity to explore kinaesthetics and structured play. We're going to sign up for the spring session, so long as he's still interested (all signs currently point to yes!) and continue learning how to play soccer because it's fun and good and happens to be Mommy's favorite sport.
Hopefully, as many things change, some of these means of stability and sameness will help us transition into the people this year will make us.
How do you cope with change? How do you maintain stability? Share with me in the comments or let's talk about it on FaceBook!

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon January 14 with all the carnival links.)

  • The making of an artist — Some kids take longer than others to come into themselves, so you have to stick with them, as a parent, long after everyone else has given up, writes Douglas at Friendly Encounters.
  • Not Losing Yourself as a First Time Mom — Katie at All Natural Katie continues to stay true to herself after becoming a new mom.
  • Using Continuity to Help Change {Carnival of Natural Parenting} — Meegs from A New Day talks about how she is using continuity in certain areas of her life to help promote change and growth in others.
  • Staying the Same : Security — Life changes all the time with growing children but Mother Goutte realised that there are other ways to 'stay the same' and feel secure, maybe a bit too much so!
  • Harmony is What I'm AfterTribal Mama gushes about how constant change is really staying the same and staying the same brings powerful change.
  • A Primal Need For Order and Predictability – And How I Let That Go — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she overcame her primal need for order and predictability once her awareness shifted, opening her eyes to the impact this had on her young daughter. Take a short journey with Jennifer and she bares her soul, exposes her weaknesses and celebrates her new outlook and approach to living life, even in the face of total chaos.
  • Breastfeeding Before and After — Breastfeeding has come and gone, but Issa Waters at LoveLiveGrow finds that her relationship with her son is still just the same and just as good.
  • A Real Job — Back in high school That Mama Gretchen had a simple, but worthwhile career aspiration and today she is living her dream … is it what you think?
  • Comfortingsustainablemum never thought she would want things always being the same, but she explains why it is exactly what her family wants and needs.
  • The Other Mums' and The Great IllusionMarija Smits reflects on the 'great big magic show of life' and wonders if it will continue to remain a constant in our lives.
  • Unschooling: Learning doesn't change when a child turns four — Charlotte at Winegums & Watermelons talks about the pressure of home education when everyone else's children are starting school.
  • Finding Priorities in Changing Environments — Moving from Maine to a rural Alaskan island for her husband's military service, Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work found that keeping consistent with her priorities in changing environments can take some work, but is vital to continuous health and happiness.
  • Keeping it "Normal" — Kellie at Our Mindful Life has moved several times in the last two years, while doing her best to keep things stable for her kids.
  • The Evolution Of Our Homeschool Journey — Angela at Earth Mama's World reflects on her homeschooling journey. Homeschooling is a constant in the life of her family but the way in which they learn has been an evolution.
  • Sneaking in Snuggles: Using Nurturing Touch with Older Children — When Dionna at Code Name: Mama's son was a toddler and preschooler, he was the most loving, affectionate kiddo ever. But during the course of his 5th year, he drastically reduced how often he showed affection. Dionna shares how she is mindfully nurturing moments of affection with her son.
  • Steady State — Zoie at TouchstoneZ writes a letter to her partner about his constancy through the rough sailing of parenting.
  • A Love You Can Depend On — Over at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, Jennifer has a sweet little poem reminding us where unconditional love really lies, so it can remain a constant for us and our children.
  • Same S#!*, Different Day — Struggling against the medical current can certainly get exhausting, especially as the hunt for answers drags on like it has for Jorje of Momma Jorje.
  • New Year, Still Me — Mommy Bee at Little Green Giraffe writes about how a year of change helped her rediscover something inside herself that had been the same all along.
  • One Little Word for 2014 — Christy at Eco Journey In The Burbs has decided to focus on making things this year, which is what she is loves, as long as she doesn't kill herself in the process.
  • The Beauty of Using Montessori Principles of Freedom and Consistency — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the continuity of her teaching, parenting, and grandparenting philosophy using a combination of freedom and consistency.
  • My Husband's MiniCrunchy Con Mom shares which of her sons looks more like her husband's baby pictures — and the answer might surprise you!
  • Growth Happens When You Aren't Looking — Lori at TEACH through Love is treasuring these fleeting moments of her daughter's early adolescence by embracing the NOW.
  • A New Reality Now - Poem — As Luschka from Diary of a First Child struggles to come to terms with the loss of her mother, she shares a simple poem, at a loss for more words to say.
  • Making a family bedroom — Lauren at Hobo Mama has decided to be intentional about her family's default cosleeping arrangements and find a way to keep everyone comfortable.
  • New Year, Same Constants — Ana at Panda & Ananaso takes a look at some of the things that will stay the same this year as a myriad of other changes come.
  • I Support You: Breastfeeding and Society — Despite how many strides we've taken to promote "breast is best," Amy at Natural Parents Network talks about how far we still have to go to normalize breastfeeding in our society.