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Answering The Tough Questions - Life, Death, and Frisky Turtles

    “Mama, what are those turtles doing?”   It was one of those moments of truth that all parents have, where time seems to slow and we quickly page through which available option is the least horrifying. I could lie and distract: “Why I have no idea! Look a gosling!”   I could avoid the question: “What turtles? This lake has turtles?”   Or I could answer honestly because for some foolish reason we’ve decided on a general policy of addressing the tough questions in a gentle, age appropriate manner. Respond authentically without providing too much... read more

A Mama's Peace

                  It often seems as if I have spent my entire life in search of a specific moment.  A moment when all of my goals are met, all of my tasks are completed, all of my obligations are met, and I can sit back and rest in perfect peace knowing that I am, indeed, good enough.This pursuit took on different faces in the various seasons of my life.   When I was a student, I believed that peace would come when I finally had all of my work done, all of my reading finished, and all of my exams prepared for.   As a young wife, I believed I would earn... read more

Closing Up Shop: Life After Vasectomy

My husband gave me permission to write about him so to start, I’d like to talk about his genitals. More specifically, his vas deferens. That’s right, the Big V, the ol’ snip-snip. Vasectomy.   We are done reproducing, clocking in with a final score of three children. My baby is five and fiercely independent (unless she needs juice, then she’s as helpless as a newborn koala) meaning I must now focus all of my more intense mothering urges on our twelve-pound chihuahua mix.    I’m not exactly happy about it, though. Not the coddling the dog thing (although,... read more

Buying Pot for my 11-Year-Old

  By Suzanne Leigh   I am standing in line in one of our state’s legal pot clubs, which sells marijuana to anyone with a doctor’s letter of recommendation. The “patients” look similar to the customers in a middle-market liquor store. There are a preponderance of frat boys and surfer dude-types, women with tattooed shoulders and piercings and a few older folks, who might be military vets fallen on hard times. Most of us look like we are shopping for something to put the spark into Saturday night, but I am here in the hope that marijuana will help my 11-year-old... read more

When You Feel Trapped By Motherhood

  By Sheryl Paul, M.A.   It’s Sunday afternoon. I’m lying down with my 3 year old to see if he’ll take a much-needed nap and the title of one of Pema Chodron’s books pops into my mind: No Escape. (The full title is The Wisdom of No Escape.) This immediately makes sense, as I’ve been having visions lately of another life, another city, another lifestyle – one that includes all of my family members but is somehow easier. I know that my psyche is trying to escape a challenging stage of parenting, one in which my three year old is falling apart inside as he... read more

Helping Kids with Frustration and Rage

  By Sheryl Paul   Just as I’m about the pour a splash of vanilla into the shake I’m making for my son, I hear two blood-curdling screams followed by the sight of my older son, Everest, tearing around the corner with his 3 1/2 year old brother, who has transformed into the Tazmanian devil, close behind. Everest dashes behind my back to create a blockade between him and Asher. Asher runs full-force toward his brother, but finds himself in my arms instead.   I carry him to the couch and hold him tightly. Contained in my arms and against the warmth of my... read more

An 8-Year-Old Mourns a Much-Loved Sister

By Suzanne Leigh   Last night we were watching a video of my two daughters rollicking in a hotel swimming pool. It was taken days after a scan had showed evidence of recurrent brain tumor following a hiatus of 31 months of “tumor free-dom" for my 10-year-old elder daughter.   I was struck by two things: the images of Natasha that were wildly out of whack with the results of the scan – she is loud, laughing and ebullient, running around the rim of the pool, long strong limbs flying, stopping only to ham it up for the camera. The only tell-tale sign that... read more

Ease Parenting Stress Through Mastery

"I had to love her enough to let her hate me." It was a stunning and very wise thing that Carol Burnett said to the ladies on The View. Burnett said she was scared of her daughter -- of saying the wrong thing, making her angry, pushing her away. (She was talking about her late daughter Carrie's three-year struggle with addiction when she was a teen.)   While Burnett's situation was extreme, her experience isn't unusual. Scared, stressed-out parenting has become epidemic: many parents today feel overwhelmed and under-adequate. Always waiting for the other shoe to... read more

Raising a Sensitive Son

  While I sat in my comfy chair writing last week’s post as my little boy slept and my older son was trying to fall asleep, Everest stumbled out of bed to tell me he felt scared. This was hardly a new communication; he’s felt scared more nights than I can count since he turned five (he’s now eight). But because I happened to be writing about teaching your kids how to respond to fear, I decided to apply the lesson in the moment: “Everest, do you remember how we’ve been talking to Asher about his Monkey Brain and how he can boss it back? Well, let’s see if you... read more

You Can't Spoil Them with Love

By S.K. Valenzuela   Though Valentine's Day has already come and gone, the whole month of February always seems to me to be dedicated to love. It gives us a fabulous excuse to reflect on what love really is and to assess our growth in love.    I teach Baby Care classes at an area hospital, and one of my goals is to help parents to understand the fundamental relationship between responsiveness and trust. It's a cycle that begins from the very first moments after birth and continues...well, frankly, I don't think it ever ends. The basic premise is that responding... read more

Mothering › Child Articles