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To Let a Child Blossom: Earlier is Not Better

blossom_katesurfs

There’s a little magnolia tree at the top of the hill near our house (it’s spring in Australia). The only blossom that was low enough for Margo to smell, was one that was not fully open. She took a long deep sniff of the partially opened flower, and said, “I wish I could pull it open so we could see the whole thing.”

Well, if we did that, what would happen?” I asked.

She paused for a few long seconds and considered. “If we pulled it open, we would break it. That would be really sad.Read the rest of this entry

Life is But a Dream…

Lifeisbutadream

‘Row row row your boat, gently down the stream, merrily merrily merrily merrily, life is but a dream…’

A little girl in Australia is very very sick.

I’ve been following Eva’s story for some time now. She’s the niece of one of my babywearing friends, so I kept hearing her story circulating on my Facebook feed. Under most circumstances, I would choose not to follow a child’s fight against cancer story. Too painful. Too sad. Don’t want to surround myself with that energy, etc. It sounds mean, but that’s how I felt at first, and I think many people would understand. Somehow though, Eva’s story has stuck with me. I started following it and I gave a few, what seemed like microscopic donations (in the scheme of things), to help the family with the astronomical costs of facing years of treatment, travel and care. It seemed like she was doing pretty ok, despite loosing an arm to stop the cancer from spreading, until just a couple weeks ago, when her condition deteriorated rapidly. Now, she truly is fighting for every breath she takes. This quote came from her mother via her Facebook page today:

“We’re all in a dream, aren’t we Mummy?”

I think she’s 6 years old. Maybe 7?

How can a child so young know such a great secret of life and be articulate enough to say it!?

Time and again, people and events come into our lives to remind us to be grateful for what we have. Time and again, we are reminded that people, places, things or situations can change at any given moment. It’s not to say that in a sad and depressing way (although Eva’s story is utterly heartbreaking). But, knowing that everything is changing and that everything in our past will become like a dream, is a powerful piece of knowledge to consider.

There is nothing on this Earth we can take with us when we go. No amount of money, property or fame can come with us. I forget over and over again.

Time and again, I can be reminded… I am not here to waste my time complaining over small things. I are not here to get bogged down, only worrying about myself. I am not here to make a mess of the world.

If I can take anything positive from a six year old fighting for every last breath she can take, I can be reminded to live life. I can be reminded to be grateful for what I have. I can be reminded to love unconditionally and to let myself be loved. I can be reminded to be kind and compassionate to all the people around me, because I never know what other people are going through or where they have been. I can be reminded that I am here to help and uplift others. I can be reminded to be courageous. And, I can be reminded that if I’m going to fight over something, it better be a fight worth fighting for!

Thousands of people have been thinking about Eva the past few days, and many people, including myself, have never even met her or her family.

(I’ve just learned that brave little Eva has passed, early on the morning of 28th October. Rest easy little babe, you have touched more people than you can ever imagine).

Click here to find Eva’s story on Facebook, her and her family are truly an inspiration about living and loving.

 

4 Things I’m Thinking When You Ask Me If I Want to Have Another One

Havinganotherone

At the right time and place, when a friend asks me if I want another one. I’ll sit down and yap about my life and what’s going on because he or she knows me and it’s cool to talk about my personal life with a friend, you know? But, many people do NOT ask at the right time or place. The few times I’ve asked it, myself, to random mothers at playgrounds, I afterwards thought to myself, “What business is it of mine?

Read the rest of this entry

The Thing About Vaccines That Most People Forget

Vaccines_KateSurfs

I wonder if people have forgotten that a debatable topic means there are two plausible arguments to both sides? If it was 100% clear that vaccines were bad, then nobody in the world would give them to a child. If it was 100% clear that vaccines were awesome, and you couldn’t live without them, then nobody would think twice about giving them. Read the rest of this entry

Kid Acting Defiant? How Power Reversal Games Can Save You, Without Using Punishment

Powerreversal games

My daughter, Margo (4 1/2), had been acting so difficult for the past few days. Really, annoying her sister and me to the max. Refusing to leave the playground when I needed her to leave. Refusing the shower. Refusing to go to the toilet, even when I knew she was busting. I wasn’t being over-anal either, she was actually driving everyone insane! Read the rest of this entry

Why Are Kids Getting Into Trouble For Being Kids?

TroubleThe little boy at the playground could not have been more than 20 months old. Although I had seen him with his parents before, when he came wondering slowly over to the water play area, his parents were nowhere to be seen. My girls had asked for permission to get wet in one of the fountains. I told them it was ok because we had a change of clothes in the car. Read the rest of this entry

What to Do When Kids Get Scared to Go Poo

Poo

I was in the kitchen and I heard some crying from the living room. I ran in to find Goldie, just turned 2, sitting on the potty. Her face was bright red and she was shaking. Whatever she was pushing out was super painful. She was all alone and had gotten very frightened. Usually, she’ll just wonder over to the potty all by herself and calls me over when she’s finished. But, this time it was scary and it had hurt. I helped her finish, then cleaned her up. Unfortunately, she was still constipated the next day and the SAME exact thing happened. It was a bad combination of me not being there and of it hurting, and then it was all over but the crying.

The next day, she was terrified to go. The day after, we all got sick with this crazy flu that had us in bed for almost a week. The week after, I had to go to work full time, while everyone was still recovering. Everyone was stressed and tired and sick and I didn’t really have time to deal with the poo situation immediately. Every. Single. Time. She had to go, it was a nightmare. This is the kid who has been potty trained since she was 15 months old. I’ve done elimination communication with her since birth, so ever since she was about 2 months old, all of her poos landed either in a bucket, toilet, sink or potty. Even though she is only 2, she has been well and truly toilet trained for a long time.

We tried prunes, probiotics, drinking more water, etc. And, although the bowel movements were now soft, she was still majorly scared to go. To get her to go, I had to hold her over the potty or toilet while she screamed and tried to wiggle away. Letting her go in her undies was not an option, as that was very disturbing for her. So, it was either hold her screaming over the toilet or nothing…

Address the Fear
One of the best ways to eliminate fear is through laughter. To get Goldie laughing about poo, I let her watch me going to the toilet and pretended to push really hard and to say “Owww.” In a way that I knew would make her laugh (being careful not to make her more scared). We also pretended to get dolls to go and in the same scenario, pretend that it hurt, etc. If I had been really organized, I could have let her play with brown coloured play dough in the potty to let it represent poo, but I didn’t have time to find some brown play dough. Instead, whenever she did do a poo (with all the crying and screaming involved), I would show it to her afterwards and we would say funny things like, “Wow, big one!” Or, “Nice log!” or “It’s a poo pile!” and we would all start laughing (not at her, but with her). Everyone got involved too, my husband and my older daughter would say, “I want to see too!” They would take a look and everyone would laugh, and be like, “Wow, what a fantastic poo, Goldie!” Of course, not making too big a deal of it, but more like an excuse to have fun.

Address the Trauma
I realized that the biggest trauma Goldie had endured, was not so much of the pain of the poo, but that I wasn’t right there when she got scared.

Every time I sensed she had to poo (and I knew because she would start scratching her butt furiously), I held her over the potty and she screamed bloody murder and she tried to escape. I certainly wasn’t hurting her, and I’m 100% sure that her butt wasn’t hurting her, rather that she was releasing the trauamatic memory of being alone on the potty.

Thus, the crying.

Crying is a natural inborn healing mechanism to help us overcome from traumatic events. Each time I held her over the potty, she was releasing a little of the stress from the scary event of having a painful poo when I was not there to help her. She really tried to escape, but there was nowhere for her to run to… I tried it many times. I would let her go and then she would run back to me and say, “I have to poo, mama, huggle me.” It was clear that she wanted me to help her poo on the potty, but was scared to do it by herself. So, I would take her back, hover her butt over the potty and after about a minute or two of crying and trying to escape, she would do a nice soft poo. (If she had not be potty trained, I definitely would not have chosen this approach).

To a passer-by, this crying and poo thing probably would have looked like a torture session, but I could sense that she really needed to get this crying out. Every time I held her over the potty, I would say things like, “Mama’s here, I’m going to hold you, I’m right here to help.”  

While it did take about a week to sort the poo issue out, it was over fairly quickly. Through laughter and tears, she overcame her poo-fear rather quickly. I probably could have had it resolved in a few days if I hadn’t been so sick and/or working. She’s back to normal now, with no residual poo issues. Kids can develop lots of issues around eliminating, so it’s really important for us parents to be comfortable and to address the problem with full understanding of all the emotions involved.

In case you’re wondering, the photo is of a stuffed poo we actually have in our house. Yes… I know… just don’t ask…

It’s important to be sensitive to your child’s situation. I was only holding Goldie over the potty because I knew that’s where she wanted to go. If your child is more comfortable eliminating in a diaper, then certainly let them do that instead!  It’s also important to never tell a child that their poo is ‘yucky’.

Why I Love My Child’s Temper Tantrums

 

Crying

Margo, 4 1/2, had been acting really aggressive towards her 2 year old sister for several days. No amount of asking her to “Be gentle” or “How would you feel if somebody did that to you” was working. Everyone in the house had been worn down from weeks of recovering from the flu. On top of that, I had been working full time on a two week contract. Where usually, I would be able to stay home with the kids and help us all to recover, I had not been available much. The kids had been clingy and grumpy. A big storm was brewing and finally, the time came that I had the energy to deal with it. Read the rest of this entry

Why This School Teacher Thinks Tests Are Really Stupid

tests

Please tell me of one single job on this entire planet where you would have to recall facts all by yourself, without talking to anyone, without LOOKING at anyone, without the help of resources and without the help of the internet or technology.

That’s right.

There are no such jobs.

I mean, unless you’re a highly trained military covert operation specialist on a solo mission deep behind enemy lines, then yeah, *maybe* you might find yourself in that type of situation. Yet, that’s what we make kids do. We make them sit silently at their desks so they can ‘recall‘ information. How far from reality is that? Read the rest of this entry

The Funny Things About Getting Sick

katesurfssick

Have you ever gazed at the scratches on your mug in dumbfounded wonder and taken the time to imagine how they would have gotten there over the years? Have you ever acknowledged the brand name of the ceiling fan in your bathroom for the first time in four years and wondered why you never noticed it before? Have you ever stared at a wall for at least five minutes, without even once thinking it’s about time to move? I mean, when do we ever stop and notice that stuff? Well, that was me and my family for the past few days. Sick with a flu, and not just any flu. Like, worst flu ever flu. All at the same time. Like, even our doctor gave us a sympathetic, “You poor things.” When he saw the state we were in. Read the rest of this entry