higher dimensional parenting

What If….(Radically Rethinking My Parenting Beliefs)

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. 
Albert Einstein 

I’m in a stage of my Mothering Career where I’m unraveling ALL the “beliefs” that have been crammed into me since I was a child myself. What if beliefs are just a fancy word for “very strong falsehoods based on fear”. Okay, that’s even fancier, but you get my point. Parenting in our current culture is set up in such a way to promote daily struggles ~ or if not daily struggles, then simply squashing our children’s input by bullying them.

Oh, I know “bullying” is a dramatic catch-phrase these days. Usually we talk about bullying in peer settings, such as school. We never talk about parents bullying their children.  But, isn’t FORCING them to brush their teeth every day a form of bullying? I know most would say it’s for their own good. But when we say things like that, we clearly have an agenda ~ and it’s  a FEAR-PUSHING agenda. We are saying “You HAVE to do this thing you don’t want to do OR something REALLY BAD will happen!”

How many times are we, The Loving Parents, FORCING fear down Our Dear Children’s throats?

The following are all the things I’ve been questioning in regards to my children, my Mothering, and our cultural consciousness over the past year. Since November 2011, I’ve been in a period of rapid awakening, and within that awakening I’ve found that our fears have been TRAGICALLY limiting us. When we are living simply to “keep bad things from happening” it takes our energy away from far more important pursuits…like our LIMITLESSNESS. And in our LIMITLESSNESS, anything is possible…ESPECIALLY the impossible.

So, even if the following content challenges you (or you just think I’m a crazy loon) indulge me a bit and consider:

What if our kids REALLY DON’T need to brush their teeth everyday?

I started considering this one when my second son was about 2 years old and each tooth-brushing session became a reality trip straight through hell. I would literally have to pin him down to do it and it became the most stressful part of the day.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that pinning him down to brush his teeth was probably much more harmful than skipping it and keeping our relationship intact. It was at this time I decided to approach teeth-brushing from a place of LOVE instead of fear ~ if he wanted to do it we would sing silly songs as we brushed, if he wanted to skip it, we did. It became much more harmonious, and now at 5 years old tooth-brushing is done very smoothly…on a semi-daily basis.

Now, both of my older children had early cavities, but this happened BEFORE the semi-daily-love-brushing-changeover. They got their cavities while I was forcibly brushing from a place of fear, which brings me to my next question:

What if cavities are not caused by certain foods..but by cultural conditioning?

It would have been so easy for me to blame myself for my children’s cavities…and in fact, I did. I blamed myself, beat myself up, and then went on a rampage to “fix everything.” I cut out sugar, read all the alternative-tooth-care books and links, started cramming cod liver oil down their throats, said “NO!” to all grocery-store-treats, among various other fun things. Yes, in my fear I decided to create even more fear.

Then I started talking to other people about their children’s teeth and it seemed like ALMOST ALL OF THEM had dramatic tooth stories to tell! Even the people who were “doing it all right” with raw food, gluten-free-crap, and zero-taste-fun had children with cavities. There seemed to be no magic formula for healthy teeth….except maybe one. In my informal sociological research, I discovered that the people who worried very little about their children’s teeth had children with healthy teeth. And on the flip-side, it seemed that the MORE “health-conscious” the parents were, the worse off were they kiddos. Now, I’m not saying this is the way IT IS….it’s just what I noticed in my own daily life. And this is what led me to the dramatic reconsideration that perhaps it’s not food at all that causes cavities ~ perhaps it is the WORRY and FEAR and EXPECTATION of cavities that leads to cavities.

I know I didn’t want to teach my children to be afraid of food. So I stopped regulating and controlling and just went back to saying YES. Imagine my dismay when there was more cavities at the next visit. As I sat there, frustratingly pondering WHY the hell there would be more cavities when I’m NOT afraid of food anymore, my infinitely wise inner voice said, “You’re not afraid of food. Now don’t be afraid of dentists.”

Of course! Fear of food, fear of dentists, fear PERIOD creates cavities.

I know I’m right on this.

Which brings me to my next question:

What if our bodies know EXACTLY how to heal themselves without any outside help?

I’ve always felt this way about our bodies ~ that they have enough natural wisdom to do what they need to do. It’s why I’ve always had unassisted homebirths and we’ve never had a regular doctor. And since we’ve been speaking of teeth and dentists, let’s keep that conversation going.

I believe children have an innate wisdom about their bodies that stays intact until well-meaning adults squash it. If it weren’t for my old programming of fear around food and/or dentists I do believe my children’s cavities would heal themselves without them even having to think about it  ~ who knows maybe they’re healing right now even as I write this! I believe an intentionally well-guarded secret is that our bodies actually need NO OUTSIDE assistance to heal…but that little gem would sell a lot less drugs and lots of high-paid people would be out of a job, so I don’t expect the masses will jump on board just yet.

I’m not even jumping on board 100% yet, as I will keep taking my children to the dentist…while also expecting their cavities to heal themselves.

If we trusted our children a little bit (okay, A LOT) more I think we’d be utterly amazed by what their bodies can do…all by themselves.

And speaking of children’s body wisdom…

What if our children dislike vegetables for a reason? Maybe little bodies don’t need a lot of vegetables yet?

If forcing our children to brush their teeth is a form of bullying, then forcing them to eat vegetables is too.  All three of my babies have been great eaters ~ they will eat whatever I put in front of them whether is cake or carrots. Somewhere around toddler-hood is when they start to get picky. I can count on one hand how many vegetables my two older sons will (willingly) eat. Now, at almost 8 years old, my oldest son is starting to get adventurous again ~ he asked me to buy him an orange pepper at the store last week because he’d never had one before. I’m happy to see it and it also strengthens my notion that perhaps at certain ages, kids DON’T NEED to eat a lot of veggies. Right now, my just-turned-5 year old will only eat raw carrots, lettuce, and black olives. For years my first son only ate lettuce and onions (on tacos). I never really got perturbed by this, because I remember my own childhood-body-wisdom that only wanted to eat lettuce and onions.

Now, if you have a kiddo that loves veggies, all the power to you (though try not to look so smug). If you don’t, try not to worry. Keep offering veggies (without fear or expectation) and eventually one day (perhaps many years from now) that child will say “Yum” and ask for more.

I would say this notion of trust also applies if your child likes only a limited amount of any food. Maybe they NEED to eat just peanut butter sandwiches for a year. Which brings me to:

What if our children can get the highest nutrition from ANY food they eat?

Let’s just play with this one for a bit. What if those peanut butter sandwiches are giving that child’s body everything it needs. Futhermore, what if that peanut butter sandwich is giving that child even more than what it says on the nutrition label? I once read about a gifted child telling an interviewer that he could eat a potato chip and get the same nutrition he would from an apple.Why rule it out when believing it is JUST SO MUCH MORE FUN?!

Let’s take it one step further and say:

What if our children don’t really need food at all, but eat it just because it’s fun?

Okay, this may be stretching us a bit too far right now. But, speaking from personal experience, I fully know that when we raise our vibration to a certain frequency not only can we eat any food and have it go through us like water, but we actually need very little food at all. 

If this is something I’ve been experiencing in the last year and know to be true, why shouldn’t it be true of our children who are already at a higher vibration than we are?

Look, I know this is challenging. I know that there are probably only a handful of people that will read this and GET IT. Probably even less that will read this and BELIEVE IT.  All of this could be considered crazy, impossible, outrageous, and lunacy. It goes against the grain of EVERYTHING we’ve been taught. Which brings me to my final question…

What if EVERYTHING we’ve learned up until now is….FALSE?

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Why the “C-word” offends me.

* Warning: This post is emotionally charged and contains multiple f-bombs (’cause you know, colic does that to you). Reading this will put you at risk of being highly offended …or highly enlightened. * 

No, no, not THAT “c-word.” The OTHER one: Colic. Oh that damn, heart-wrenching, emotionally-charged, makes-my-palms-sweat “c-word.” I wrote about my personal adventures with colic while I was going through it with Kai. Now someone I know is going through it with her newborn and I’m finding that it’s making those heart-thudding emotions bubble up inside me again as she looks for answers. Because other than the advice I’m giving her, all the other advice she’s getting is the kind that made me want to scream when I was looking for answers and advice. And I’m sorry to say this to all those well-intentioned people who offer it up (truly, I know you’re lovely, wise people and I deeply apologize for the following) but the advice I HATE the most…no, no “hate” is not a strong enough word…let’s use LOATHE and DETEST, yes, that’s better. The advice I LOATHE and DETEST the most is the advice that says it’s the mother’s diet. Now before you close this window because I’ve offended you, let me concede to the fact that I know SOME colic causes are due to the sensitivity of a baby’s tummy. I, too, have heard the stories of how colic all but stops when the Mama gives up fucking gluten and fucking dairy (sorry for the f-words, I can’t help it. I told you this was emotionally charged for me and I just have to throw down some f-bombs to make myself feel better).  But that wasn’t MY answer when I was going through colic. And yet every website I perused while desperately searching for a solution all pointed to the fact that it’s the Mama’s fault. Because isn’t that what we’re REALLY saying when we say it’s her diet? We’re really saying “Mama, it’s something YOU’RE doing that’s causing YOUR baby this discomfort. And if you’d JUST STOP doing it, then your baby will be better.”

Is it irrational that I feel this way? Maybe.

But you know what? I LOVE my fucking dairy! I LOVE my fucking gluten! I had an eating disorder when I was a teen-ager, I ate all the “right” food when I was a personal trainer including all that low-carb crap. I’m DONE depriving myself of ANYTHING. I’m DONE feeling GUILT about any kind of fucking food. When Kai was crying non-stop I knew it was for a reason and I knew he was telling me something…but I REFUSED to believe that his crying was a way of saying to me “Mama, I came all this way to tell you that you should really give up dairy.” To me, it just seemed ridiculous. Now, I admit that I DID give up fucking dairy and fucking gluten for a couple of days because I WAS that desperate to make the crying stop…but it didn’t change anything other than make me more cranky than I already was. Not only did I have a baby with colic but I had to give up my favorite fucking foods. (I’ve always said that bread and cheese are my power foods. I believe Kai knew that coming in.) The advice-givers told me I didn’t give up the food long enough to make any difference. Fuck you, food police. (Geesh, I’m so sorry. Taking a deep breath…)

The point I really want to make with this post…is that I’m VERY FRUSTRATED to see that the ONLY causes or solutions to colic that are offered up address the physical: “it’s gas, it’s food sensitivity, it’s reflux.” What if it’s NOT? What if it’s ENERGETIC or EMOTIONAL? Are you telling me babies can only cry because of PHYSICAL reasons? They’re just so little and new that the ONLY thing they have to cry about are their new bodies? Are we really STILL THAT SHORT-SIGHTED?

One of the reasons colic was so difficult for me was because there were no answers or advice out there that made sense to me. None of it resonated. None of it. And since I couldn’t find my answers “out there”, I did the only thing I could. I looked within. I asked my heart AND my baby for the reasons behind the crying. And in the stillness and the silence, I found my answers. The answers that made sense. The answers that resonated. And the answers that made the difference. And they had nothing to do with gas, food sensitivity or reflux…Kai’s colic had much bigger reasons. You may not believe the reasons if I told you but it doesn’t matter. When I found my own answers, I felt empowered. I got my family back. I stopped falling apart and instead came together WISER and STRONGER. When I found my own answers I had a game plan and I knew how to handle the constant screaming. Instead of feeling alienated by my crying baby, I felt more BONDED TO HIM THAN EVER. I felt such strong LOVE, AWE, GRATEFULNESS, and HONOR to be in this baby’s presence. If you’ve ever experienced colic, you know how powerful it is to be able to say that.

Are you wondering about the reasons of Kai’s colic and about the answers I found? That’s another post. (Sorry to be a tease, but it needs it’s own story. And one with a lot less f-bombs. They wouldn’t be YOUR answers anyway.) But I will tell you what I think colic is.

Colic is a tool. It’s perhaps the most powerful tool a baby has  ~ to send us messages, to work through birth trauma, to transition into their bodies, to mourn (yes, I ABSOLUTELY believe that a newborn can mourn). Babies don’t cry for no reason and colic is a baby’s way of “shaking it off”. It’s HEALTHY and PRODUCTIVE. When a baby with colic cries, that baby is HEALING him or herself. I bet you won’t find that answer anywhere else. And if you do, send me the link/book/quote so I can energetically smother that person in hugs and kisses.

Here’s something else you can use. If your baby has colic, LET THAT BABY CRY! I don’t mean “crying it out” or leaving a baby on it’s own to deal with it. I mean, that after you’ve tried all the comforting, soothing, and shushing from all the other advice-givers and baby is still crying, hold that baby and tell her what a good job she is doing working it all out. Tell him he’s strong and brave and that he’s going to feel better soon. After a big bellow, offer up some kisses and a “That was a good one” cheer. OFFER YOUR BABY A SAFE SPACE TO CLEAR IT OUT and ALLOW it to happen! See how that changes everything ~ for YOU. And your partner, and your children AND your baby.

I believe there IS ALWAYS A REASON a baby is crying. Sometimes it may be physical. Sometimes it might be something else entirely. Acknowledging there is a reason doesn’t mean we have to KNOW the reason ~ and it doesn’t mean we have to FIX the reason. What if we just trusted babies more? What if we trusted that THEY know the reason, THEY know how to deal with it  and THEY know how to heal it…by crying. And what if we let them trust US by giving them safe arms to work through it, a loving voice to cheer them on, and the gentle promise that they’ll feel better soon.

I admit that I don’t have all the answers when it comes to colic. But I do have AN answer. An answer I couldn’t find anywhere else when I was so desperately looking. And that answer is, colic is your baby’s way of healing and it should be allowed, honored and trusted. If you and your baby are dealing with colic, maybe that’s your answer. Or maybe your baby did come all this way to tell you to give up dairy. Only YOU know. Be silent, go inside, and see what resonates. Trust yourself, trust your baby, and trust that you’ll all come out more WHOLLY beautiful on the other side. ♥

P.S. No matter what, going through colic is not easy. Please be sure to take care of yourself. My way of taking care of myself was to go for a run every other day. It was my way of “shaking it off.” As I told my hubby back then, “I either yell, cry, or go run.” Needless to say, he was very supportive of my running. My runs provided me the energy, endorphins, and endurance I needed to deal with a baby who cried all. day. long.

P.P.S. I’m also going to give you permission to ignore the advice that says colic last for 3 months. When you’re in the thick of it, it is NOT comforting to know that it will be over seven fucking weeks from now. I gave myself permission to ignore that “fact” and my baby Kai’s colic stopped after 19 days. He did cry all. day. long. so I believe he was “fast-tracking it” and perhaps got 3 months worth of crying done in 19 days. Who knows why it didn’t last that long, but I like to believe it’s because I offered a safe place of ALLOWING. Give it a try and get back to me.

P.P.P.S. If you are going through colic, I need to give you some great big hugs and lots of love. I know how difficult it is and I also know what a FANTASTIC mother you are. You are a BEAUTIFUL mother and your baby thinks so too.

 

A day we didn’t let colic stop us.

 

Colic transformed into coo’s!

 

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Read my 4-part Series “Adventures in Colic:”

Part 1: My Worst Baby Nightmare

Part 2: When Kai is Crying

Part 3: From Weepy Mama to Wise Cheerleader

Part 4: The Calm (Baby) After the Storm