Real Talk – The F Word

Where does your brain go when you hear the “F” word. Sometimes my mind goes to FUCK. Did my kid hear that word in my house and repeat it. I remember when I said fuck growing up at home my dad made me look the word up in the dictionary, FOUND UNDER CARNAL KNOWLEDGE, and left it at that. The word has become a regular used reaction for some people, a part of everyday lingo, or something that you can disapprove of but its power has diminished over time. The F word I am talking about isn’t Fuck, that would be way to easy, its Fat.

Growing up my experience with body, food, and the relationship between was very positive. I would almost call it a body positive household. It wasn’t understood the importance of using words like strong and not criticizing peoples weight. My mom always seemed comfortable in her own skin and showed us that skin. I didn’t think that my body was something to be hidden or be mad at, it just was. We definitely used terms like, “the clean plate club” and drank soda, those things weren’t criminal 30+ years ago. I never doubted if my body was anything but the way it was supposed to be. Let me tell you, I wasn’t a string bean, but a chubby girl with very developed breasts at a young age.

my own experience has been a mixed bag, but mostly good. I became aware of weight in general later in life, probably high school or after. I have found self esteem in my personality and the way I looked seemed to be more fluid regardless. I think that middle school is awful for most, high school wasn’t a great period for me (I will need to get more confident in this blogging thing before that) and then I just kinda thinned out. I remember living on my own in Minneapolis and becoming aware that I looked different than some people but didn’t necessarily have a judgement about how that pertained to my own weight. I know this experience is probably not common. Don’t get me wrong, I think I was teased a few times and called fat. Does anyone get through public school with a different experience? With the instagram culture, weight and body image, are volatile and on the surface of every selfie. So I guess, thanks mom, for not giving me any reason to doubt that it was ok to like myself and my body regardless of the size.

Moving along to life as an adult (or the age equivalent of adulthood) I’ve never felt so confused. I have met so many woman with horrible self images, eating disorders, hatred, and constant weight obsession. I have first handily watched someone suffer from an eating disorder that controlled most moments of the waking hours. I have heard stories about woman hating the way they looked as soon as they look in the mirror. I know other woman who’s parents pressured them to be a certain size, that might have been unattainable for them. Unfortunately its all to common, and what the FUCK can we do about it.

My job as a mother has been to prepare my daughters on how to handle life on its terms, as scary as that is. Although I want to control her every experience to avoid pain at all cost, that is doing her an immense disservice. I want her to feel comfortable in her own skin regardless of the size of that skin. I want her in the same breath to take care of her physical health and know the value of exercise and good eating habits. I started my experience with my oldest child avoiding all sugar, using only body positive words, and being very mindful of the way I talked about myself. I will explain the avoid all sugar in a later blog post, but it worked well for us. Orly never heard me attack my body, and I avoided conversations with other woman that did. You would be surprised how often people comment on weight changes, or maybe you wouldn’t be. I didn’t want my daughter to hear me feel better because I was thin, or worse because I was heavier. She isn’t the person I share that journey with.

So you’ll imagine how taken aback I was when my daughter (5 years old) asked me what fat meant. My heart skipped a beat, and my mind raced, where did she hear that? Did someone call her fat? My answer was inline with my beliefs. Fat is a size that refers to how much space someone takes up. I didn’t ask her more questions than I do when she asks what creation means, I simply respond, “to make”. I gave her examples of other descriptors: tall, strong, weak, little. I discussed that fat in our world has a mean attachment, because that is our unfortunate truth. How I can change my daughters experience is showing her that I love myself for who I am, not how I look. I can treat others of all shapes, sizes, religions, races the on how they act not look. I can also let her know that sometimes people tear people down and say mean things, but that’s about them. This F word has baggage and the power to hurt, so we need to treat it with care and understanding.

to FIGHT or not to FIGHT




When news broke that my daughter wasn’t going to be attending school for the foreseeable future I went into major planning mode. I have a playroom that is perfect transition to temporary classroom. I immediately filled up a shopping cart (for pickup) from lakeshore learning center, got on every blog and Pinterest page I could find, and got to business. I am a realist, the schedule only included an hour of academic time. I thought how bad could one hour really be? I decided we’d do the most popular book on amazon and then practice two letters a day. I was even excited.

Week one went amazingly well. The hour was more like ninety minutes and it made the day go by quickly. The lessons got increasingly harder to teach and understand. The lessons include a section on rhyming, my daughter clearly doesn’t understand the concept of rhyming. This week began and Monday went ok, I mean its freaking hard to teach a kid to read, especially when you have absolutely no experience. The best of intentions haven’t stopped me from getting agitated, hangry, or impatient. Tuesday came around and Orly flat out said she didn’t want to “do school”. This is one of those moments when my response seems really important.

I have two options. The first is to force her to do school. I can use my power as mom to make her sit down, review the letters, practicing writing them, and then struggle through each chapter in the lesson. Yes, my daughter would learn U & V. She would probably be able to write umbrella after the lesson. Option two; I say ok, and come up with a backup plan. My resistance to allow option two comes from fear that I will have to play another hour, fear that the next time I ask her to do something she won’t, fear that I will lose power. This week I chose option two, I said ok, school is a privilege (which I truly believe) and if you don’t want to do it then you can play independently for an hour, the time we would be doing school.

Guess what, it worked. I mean she only made it 47 minutes but life isn’t black and white. We didn’t fight, I actually got some time alone. We transitioned to the next activity, a piano lesson, ok. It wasn’t perfect but I allowed myself to remove my agenda and change course because does a preschooler need to write umbrella. How do we decide when it’s something that needs to be pushed and when is coming together peacefully what’s most important.

Real Talk – My oldest daughter fell out of the trampoline and it was my fault

Real Talk is the space where I plan to talk about the less flattering side of mothering. I feel like a lot of the things I read highlight Pinterest arts and crafts, healthy meals, and conflict resolution. Don’t get me wrong, I am all of those things too, but sometimes things just happen. I want the blog to be a place where I share, acknowledge, and work through the mistakes or disappointments in parenting. So why not share my first of many bloopers. Yes, you read correctly, Saturday night my daughter and I were jumping on the trampoline and I jumped her the biggest most exciting jump, only to watch her fall out of an unzipped entrance. I will start at the beginning.

After dinner and before bedtime we all jump on the trampoline. Lets get real, this has only started in the last two weeks and will probably end the moment quarantine lifts, but for now its a staple in our routine. We file outside, bring the soft sensory balls, set the timer, and throw them at each other for a silly five minutes. It always ends up being girls against boys, leaving my husband to be slammed in the face by ball after ball. We laugh and jump while getting out all the pent up energy and sometimes resentment. Saturday was no different, everyone headed out to the trampoline while I made a pit stop at the bathroom, I had a 9+ lb baby. As I was walking up David was carrying Talya back inside with a poopy diaper. I replay those moments over and over in my head. I beat myself up as the image of her flying onto the concrete is burned into my eyes. Why didn’t I immediately zip the net? Why did I think we wouldn’t jump? I even blame David, why didn’t he remind me? Why didn’t he wait for me to climb back in?

At first Orly and I took out the balls and got ready for them to return, lots of laying on the trampoline and talking strategy. This quickly escalated into throwing the balls at each other which then led to jumping. If I am honest, out of the corner of my eye I noticed that it wasn’t zipped but I didn’t run over to zip it up, the thought was fleeting. We started to jump and double bounce each other, laughing and giggling. I have replayed these moments over and over, did I know it was unzipped when we started, NO! I would never intentionally put my daughter in danger, but shit happens. I double bounced and she hit the net, then moved over to the open area. The moments that happened next I can’t accurately recall because it was a blur. I looked down and she was face down on the concrete, I held my breath awaiting the scream, which thankfully happened immediately.

I screamed David with all the fear I could muster, and I am sure that he felt it into his toenails. I climbed out and picked her up, if your reading this and think of all the things I did wrong, join the club. I immediately realized that she was most likely ok. She was screaming but no tears, she was moving all parts of her body, and with my embrace told me that she protected her head and face. Yes, I have a four year old who can articulate her response to falling out of a trampoline. By the time David arrived, moments, Orly had already calmed down and showed us where it hurts. We got oils, and gave lots of hugs but this is where the real talk happens…..

We are in the middle of a quarantine. So, normally I would have called the doctor if not 911 but that’s not really an option right now. Instead my husband and I checked her body, listened to her, and used our instincts to understand what was going on. She wasn’t hurt, she was scared and shaken up. I am lucky that she wasn’t hurt but the beating I did to myself I wouldn’t have done to my worst enemy. I was cruel, belittling and punishing for an honest mistake. I was so present for my daughter, talking through her fears and getting back on the trampoline together that day. Did I forgive myself so quickly, no? I continued to replay the incident only with worse case scenarios. I texted my husband every 5 minutes during bedtime asking about symptoms, complications and giving him permission to be mad at me.

Now time has given me perspective. I don’t know if I would feel this way if she’d been injured but luckily she wasn’t. I am a mom, who is doing the best she can in less than ideal circumstances (quarantine life). I forgot a key piece of safety but nothing was malicious. The truth is I need to model self forgiveness for mistakes to the kids in my life. My daughter watches not only the way I treat her but the way I treat myself. I would NEVER want her to treat herself the way I did myself. I apologized to her, and she lovingly said, “I forgive you, and mommy I love jumping with you, lets always remember to zip it up”. I probably won’t make that mistake anytime soon.

 Recovering very nicely!!!

Recovering very nicely!!!

The morning walk

We all know that routine is important. It gives everyone a sense of safety and stability especially during the chaos we are currently living. My commitment to the schedule waxes and wanes as time passes but the one thing I AM ABSOLUTELY STICKING TO is the morning walk.

 David picked her up and put her in that tree

David picked her up and put her in that tree

During this stressful time the morning walk is my calm in the storm. Its the perfect trifecta of physical activity, fresh air, and fun. After breakfast we argue about why we have to go on the walk, I continue that its a non negotiable part of the day, a have to job, and Orly begrudgingly agrees. After putting on shoes, jackets, getting the stroller ready and making sure everyone went to the bathroom we embark. It’s magical the transition as we exit the garage. The girls become inquisitive, excited, and more carefree. The walk up the hill to main road becomes a race. We stop at the Catholic Highschool to pick up trash and look for snails, the way back is a game of red light green light.

Perfectly Imperfect

The walk isn’t perfect. It comes with whining, fighting over everything from the stroller to the snails. Whats perfect for me is the routine. This routine allows me an opportunity to know what’s happening next and so I feel safe. I like the sunshine and fresh air. But most importantly its normalcy before the storm. The calm comes in the storm I know.

Family Yoga

The weekday schedule includes a morning walk from 9-10 which seemed like a pretty safe bet when you live in Southern California. Today has been what seems like the hundredth day of nonstop doom and gloom with a side of rain. The morning went fast because my mom was still here but when she left around noon, it became clear that physical exercise for everyone was non-negotiable. I am not a yogi, I’ve never trusted exercise that isn’t hard core cardio, I just don’t love exercise enough to do it without what I perceive to be worth (calorie burn). About 18 months ago David, my husband and I, started doing yoga. We started because we were looking for an activity to do together that wasn’t eating. Over the past year and a half my practice has grown and evolved. I have periods where I love it, periods where I hate it and periods that I do it because I am paying. With all the things going on in the world and my fear based reactions I decided that I am doing yoga no matter what everyday. So, add in the kids being with me 24/7 and now my husband and sister not working I have to get creative. This afternoon we did FAMILY YOGA. I love that people are posting on instagram all these free options, kids yoga, and picture perfect families doing yoga, that’s not us. We are 5 humans with all different desires, levels and patience. David picked a class he was interested in and we just did it. Talya screamed often, Orly stopped after two minutes and drew, I did the best I could. Sometimes yoga and life are like that.

Day 1

I am not calling these ideas homeschooling, although I have always fantasized about the idea of homeschooling my children. I am imagine homeschooling to be full of adventures, quality time, life skills and most importantly protection from all the harsh realities of being a kid. I have wanted to home school to control the experience my child has in a way that might not best prepare them for life.

Day 1 Teach at Home

We are using the schedule as a guideline for the days to keep myself sane, the girls in a rhythm and to hopefully get some learning done. We started the morning on a walk, my mom came, because fresh air does the body good. We brought two bags, these were my eldest daughter, Orlys suggestion. The first bag was to collect outdoor treasures that we can use for art, I’ll take any ideas I can at this point. The second bag was for trash, unfortunately even our community (upscale, suburban) has copious amounts of trash. We walked for about an hour round trip, stopping often to look at things, collect roly polys, and complain about how far we’d gone.

When we came home we washed hands and had a snack. Then it was lesson time. I introduced the first two letters of the alphabet. We wrote them, practiced the sound, and then found them in a book. After that we had an hour of creative play (we made a list of options for creative play). Today we made 4 puzzles and then cleaned them up, this took about 40 minutes but we were running behind schedule.

Orly ate lunch, followed by a treat and then vocalized she needed just some play time. Inside I wanted to resist the urge to get off schedule but it ended up being a great restart into chores. She and I decided, together, which gave her an invested interested in the outcome to wash dishes and put away her clean laundry. My mom and her are laying together and reading books before the days is DONE.

The afternoon might include screen time, maybe yoga, possibly a bribe. My intention is only to do the best I can and provide structure which creates safety for my littles!!!