Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Parenting Reflection

Yesterday, Amelia's classroom was visited by "Uncle Steve" and his collection of reptiles. There were snakes, chameleons and some other reptiles. One of the snakes was 10 ft. long. Amelia was pretty scared, and was held by a grown up the whole time, but couldn't stop talking about all of the animals and Uncle Steve all the way home. She also talked to Papa all about it at dinner, describing the snakes and chameleon and telling us what Uncle Steve said to her: "It's alright, it's alright, it's alright. Don't be scared, don't be scared." She had a happy afternoon and evening, and then trotted off to bed.

I was very happy to see Amelia so cheerful and my biggest goal for the day was to get to bed at 9:00-- I've been sick for a while, and sleep hasn't been as good as it should be. So when Mimi started crying after a little while, Jeff and I both got a little tense. Jeff went up there and comforted her, then came back downstairs. She started crying again, so it was my turn. She was complaining about the noises she heard in her room, and kept saying that she was having a hard time. I talked about our noisy world and laid down with her for a long time. She was OK when I left, but began crying five minutes later. I was so tired and beginning to feel frustrated-- and trying to brace myself for a very long night. Then I remembered about the "creature feature" at school, and that it had been scary for her, even though she had seemed fine for the rest of the day.

I realized that there were probably some genuine fears that needed to be addressed. This time Jeff went upstairs, and instead of trying to get her back to sleep, he got her up and talked about the snakes and "Uncle Steve." It came out that she didn't know where the snakes were now, that maybe they were somehow in her room. She and Jeff talked about where they were kept, and he assured her that they were in a box at Uncle Steve's house now. After that, she went right to sleep. She woke up once, crying and saying that she was scared, but was easily soothed and slept all night after that.

It's easy for me to slip into thinking my child is just being difficult, for no good reason. Of course, this attitude doesn't work for either of us. I am always glad when I stop and try to see things from her point of view and have real compassion. When I imagine what she is thinking or feeling, I can't feel very frustrated with her for her behavior. It is not easy being a toddler, as cushy as the job description may look! It must be so confusing and frightening to not have a full understanding of how the world works. She had just been introduced to all of these weird creatures-- if they can get into her classroom, what is keeping them out of her dark room at night? It felt so good last night to be successful in our attempts to help her through the experience, to give her some assurance and closure about her fears. I am reminded to keep her perspective in mind, and to just try to understand her when I feel frustrated. I needed that.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Work Update.

I have been thinking a lot about my work, but not saying much....

First of all, I haven't been working-- at all! Before Christmas, my studio space flooded. There was way too much snow piled up on a flat roof, and as it all began melting, water started running down the back walls like a waterfall. Fortunately, all of the damage was covered by insurance, but that also means that it needed to be fixed through the insurance company's process. That is to say, It's. Still. Not. Fixed. I have been given several dates by which I should be back in business, but none of those have happened. I'm hoping for next week.

There is a silver lining, although even that has both good and bad news. The good news is that I have not been paying rent. The bad news is that this is really good since I haven't had many calls in the new year. At first, I thought maybe I was just getting a little break and would have a month off in which I was not really losing any money. Now that it has stretched into almost three months and there is still little interest, I am getting nervous-- but still thankful that I am not paying rent!

I have used some of the free time to get started on the beauracracy of getting onto some insurance panels-- a long process! I don't really want to get work through insurance companies, since they really control a lot of what you do, but I realize that with "the economy" and all, many people can no longer afford bodywork unless it is covered by insurance-- I'm just giving myself one more option for getting enough work.

Another positive here is that I have had a lot of opportunity to just think about the type of massage practice I'd like to have. In the past, most of my work has been deep tissue, orthopedic body work that is rather taxing for me. I have had a lot of success with this and really enjoy the problem solving aspects and the more dramatic changes in a person's pain levels or range of motion. On the other hand, I don't feel like this type of work is very sustainable for my body, and I have found much gentler therapies that really work, and that I really enjoy using.

Beyond the physical aspect of the work, I would like to shift my focus from the purely physiological effects of massage more to the psychological/ emotional component that certain types of massage address. More specifically, I would like to specialize in women's health. I recently took a course on abdominal/pelvic massage which opened up so many new ideas for me. I think that this is a really important time in history for women. Not so much in terms of equality or achievement, but in the way we are talking about our experiences in life as women. Ladies are sharing with one another about what it's like to have a miscarriage, to struggle with not being able to concieve a baby, about disappointment with motherhood. Women are becoming empowered to leave abusive relationships, are actively pursuing healing from sexual abuse they suffered as children (many of these women are in their 50's-- they have waited this long!) and others are openly seeking support for traumatic experiences related to their gender and or sexuality. This is really exciting!

I have touched on this subject before, but an important part of working with someone's body is the acknowledgment that our emotions/ thoughts have a direct impact on our tissues. Emotions are chemicals that, when they are unable to be released, are stored within our bodies and manifest in aches, pains and disease. Likewise, when problematic areas are worked on, emotions can be released. Bodywork cannot heal the experiences, but it can help a person work through them-- even if the emotional damage happened a long time ago. I love the idea of being able to work on areas of the body that are specific to our experience as women-- namely, the uterus and pelvis. So much of what we believe about ourselves as women can affect our bodies on a cellular level--in the same way that when our bodies malfunction it can affect us on a mental/ emotional level. I am thinking in particular of women who struggle with infertility, or those who were unable to deliver their children the "natural" way and had caesarean births or even struggled with being able to breastfeed (I raise my hand on all counts.) These "failures," and so many others, while easily rationalized on a physical level, have a serious affect on our psyches and our experiences as women. And of course these feelings find their way right back into our bodies!

I am feeling so much excitement about this new direction. I have realized that much of my body's own healing process involves resolution of emotional issues, and I have been able to get some of that work done on myself (and I will continue to do so.) As a side note, after I took the course on the pelvic work, I left feeling great-- I can hardly exaggerate about the improvement I experienced! Anyway, I plan to use that type of work, along with the cranio-sacral therapy (CST) I already practice, and still incorporating other modalities that I have always used. This year, I plan to take further CST classes, as well as breast massage (it may sound crazy, but there is actually a serious need out there, particularly for women at risk for breast cancer,) somato-emotional release and lympatic drainage. That sounds busy, and I hope it will be. I have waited for such a long time to have my own massage practice. I am a little anxious about the lull here, but thankful to have the opportunity to reevaluate where I am and where want to go with it. Thanks for listening!

All images courtesy of flickr.

Friday, February 20, 2009

He's Moved!

Just so you know, Jeff moved his blog location. His new home is at
Go say hello!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Get Ready for a Total Mommy Blog Post.

After enjoying reading everyone's 25 Things lists, I thought I would make one for Amelia, since most of her relatives really don't know her at all!
25 Random Facts About Mimi

1. She never forgets a face. People are what make her world go round, and her new phrase she uses all day is, "Hi, what's your name? Hello (new name.)"

2. Amelia loves to play in the water, and spends a good amount of time standing on a stool at the bathroom sink. She has always really been soothed by water, especially as a baby.

3. She still has a tiny soft spot. Thankfully, it has been closing up more in the past few months, and hopefully she will have a normally fused head soon.

4. She also has a lazy eye, which wanders off when she needs to think or is overstimulated.

5. Her first favorite food (at 8 months) was salmon.

6. As you can imagine, she is a bit of a snobby eater. Things need to be their optimal temperature, she doesn't like eating the same things more than a couple days in a row, she likes fresh food, etc. She is basically completely spoiled with good fresh food all of the time, and I wish she'd eat leftovers and simple food more!

7. She has food sensitivities to eggs, dairy, corn, soy, tomato, bananas, cantaloupe and honeydew melon. And she knows the list, and will abstain to the best of her ability.

8. Amelia doesn't get spanked or put in time out, but we have lots of conversations and natural consequences.

9. Since she turned two, she has developed a lot of fears/ phobias. A few of them are balls, balloons, flies, dogs, motorcycles, and wind-up toys.

10. For the first time in her life, Amelia has started sleeping like a normal kid, only waking up once or twice (and sometimes not at all!) and getting up to 12 hours each night! Everyone go knock on some wood for us right now!

11. She laughs very easily and has always been a fan of physical humor.

12. She loses her balance when she's really excited or laughing hard, and will just crumple to the floor. Hopefully, she is not running when she's overwrought with glee, because she can trip pretty badly that way.

13. It doesn't get much better than going to the library.

14. When asked her name, she usually says "Meow." She also says this when I am trying to tell her something she doesn't want to hear. OOH, Sassy!

15. Her favorite people in the world (besides her parents) are her Grandma and Grampy.

16. Mimi is very affectionate and cuddly. I love it!

17. She does not display first-born characteristics at all. She loves having older children take care of her at preschool, and seems somewhat threatened by 1 1/2 year olds. She'd probably rather have an older sibling than a new baby in the family.

18. She has a surprising grasp of the English language. She improvises easily, saying things like, This tape around my finger is kind of bandaid-y. Amelia recently used the word 'actually' very nicely-- Mama, can I have some cold water? I just gave you some cold water in your cup. Actually, this water is warm.

19. She loves pink and purple, jewelry, ballerinas and butterflies. I guess some girls are just born really really girly like that.

20. She loves to sing. She loves hearing other people sing, and makes up her own songs throughout the day. She can also sing the first verse of Come Thou Fount.

21. Her superpower is exceptional hearing. She hears EVERYTHING we say, even if she is upstairs playing and we are talking in low voices downstairs. We have to be careful what we say, because she seems to remember every word.

22. She loves music and wants to know what everything she is hearing is called. She can also pick out certain instruments while she is listening. Her favorite artists are Frou Frou, Emmylou Harris, Claire Holley, Fernando Ortega, Bright Eyes and also Bhangra music. Her favorite instrument is the violin, since that's what her Papa plays.

23. Amelia loves taking medicine-- herbs, vitamins, cold medicine, cod liver oil, homeopathic remedies-- anything!

24. She has some sensory integration issues that make busy, noisy, crowded social situations very difficult.

25. Amelia is a total sweetheart, a kid that is very good company and fun to spend time with. My favorite thing to do with her is go out to breakfast and just sit across the table from her and talk about things. She loves having "combersations" about shapes, colors, preschool and people she knows.
OK , not such a great picture, but we've been neglectful with the camera, and it seemed like there should be something here.