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“Where Are You From?”


Does my accent sound a little funny?

Is my skin a different color?

Do I dress differently?

Eat funny food?

Where am I from?

I’m from planet Earth, just like you!

In case you may have forgotten, we all reside on a mini-scopic island, surrounded by an endless sea of space.

It’s innocent small talk, I know. And once we get to know each other, ok, sure, ask away and we can tell stories about what it’s like to live on opposite sides of the world. But don’t let that question be one of the first things to leave your mouth when we meet. That question unintentially divides the human race. Puts categories on belongingness.

No matter where you come from, you should still have the same human values in common. Love and diversity. Compassion and trust.

Do you see me as different when you ask me where I come from? Tell me, what is really so different?

The world has become a small place. It’s no longer strange to see people from other places on your streets. Yet we still ask, as if to say, “You’re different. You don’t belong.

We all eat, breath, sleep, live and die.

You’re from ‘here‘ and so am I.

Is there even such a thing as ‘here‘ and ‘there‘? The entire planet is our home. Nature, the Earth, doesn’t discriminate against you. Categorizing people according to where they come from is a human invention.

There is no ‘here‘. There is no ‘there‘.

There is only one.

You are my family from the human race.  You feel pain, happiness and sorrow, the same way I do.

You belong to me and I belong to you.

I used to ask this question a lot too. But, I can’t ask it anymore. I’d rather enjoy the moment we have together. I don’t need to know where you come from. I’ve gotten really good at guessing  from your accent, but I don’t need to ask because right now, you are here, in front of me, and that’s all that matters.

Photo by Art Baltrotsky

I Let My Kids Get Hungry


My kids often come to the kitchen just as I start cooking dinner. They’re looking for something to shove in their mouth for instant gratification. I tell them, “Dinner’s coming.

They complain and sometimes cry.

I listen to them, tell them I understand they’re upset.

I offer some water.

I know you’re hungrydinner will be ready soon.

They open the fridge. There’s nothing in there they can pop in their mouths.

They complain some more, maybe cry more. I listen, without scolding them.

They have to wait.

But, when dinner is ready, we all sit together at the table and they eat. And man, do they EAT.

It’s so peaceful. They say “Oh yummy, mama! Thank you!” I don’t have trouble keeping them at the table because they’re too busy indiscriminately scarfing down their food. Almost everything I put in front of them, they eat. I rarely hear a complaint.

If they never feel hunger, how can they enjoy the taste of their food?

If my kids graze all day, they may or may not want to eat a meal, and if they do eat. If they do eat, after a day of grazing, they usually take two bites and run off to play. Meal rejection is frustrating to me. I’m not a control freak, I feed my kids about five meals a day, but I do have my limits. For one, I know that what children eat and the way they eat, is important to the way that they grow and develop. Kids don’t get a great deal of warmth and nutrition from walking around grazing all day (even healthy grazing). Also, when my kids won’t eat a meal, my effort of creating nourishing food, feels wasted. If they reject too many meals in a row, I start to get resentful over my wasted effort.

Letting my kids ‘get‘ hungry, should not be confused with letting them ‘go‘ hungry. It’s NEVER ok to punish a child by withholding food or to shame or make fun of a child for eating ‘too much‘.

I don’t encourage grazing and I won’t make them something special half an hour before dinner is going to be ready. After I clean up the kitchen at night, the ‘kitchen’s closed. I won’t prepare meal after meal all day. I don’t make special meals either. They eat what we eat (unless I honestly screw up dinner). I do my best to meet everyone’s needs, including my own need of feeling honored in the kitchen.

We do have snacks in the house sometimes, and when we do, the kids are allowed to eat them at free will. Allowing children to learn how to self regulate their diet is completely possible, and my kids get plenty of opportunities to do so.

But, once the snacks are gone, they’re gone and the snacks don’t get replenished until we go to the grocery store next, or if I bake something. If they choose to eat all the snacks in one go, it might be a week before they see snacks again. Or, they can ration the snacks out. It’s their choice.

People tell me that they just can’t deal with the whining and grumpiness of a hungry child and I totally understand. It’s annoying and sometimes even I can’t deal with it. But, a child that is ONLY hungry, will simply come looking for food, without crying and screaming for it. The tantrum part comes from other emotional distress, but we end up giving food as a remedy for some unhappiness that is not always related to the hunger.

If we offer food to make an upset child feel happy, then over time, could we accidentally be teaching a child that food has the ability to make you feel better when you’re upset? By not validating a child’s emotions and instead, offering food, what are we teaching our kids? Comfort eating is a real problem that many children and adults suffer from. When my kids get hungry and grumpy, I address the hunger and the emotions separately. Of course, I feed them as soon as the emotional storm is past. Anyway, it’s not good to eat when you’re upset…

Every child is different and they each have different dietary requirements depending on the day. Some kids eat like a bird and others eat like a horse. And, sometimes the kid who usually eats like a bird needs to eat like a horse on a particular day or vice versa. Although it takes some time, giving food with awareness is something that I’ve gotten better at. Listening to a child’s true needs, rather than just offering food to prevent a temper tantrum is truly ‘listening‘ to our children.

Letting a child get a little hungry, builds their desire to eat their food with awareness. Opposites are complimentary. If you never feel hungry, how can you ever enjoy your food?

For an aware parent perspective on why kids are picky eaters, I wrote an article on that here.

This post is meant to be read with common sense. If a child had special dietary considerations (diabetic) you have to consider their health needs. This post is intended for children with no special dietary considerations and is not an excuse to withhold food from a child.

Let Me Tell You ‘Bout The Devil Wind


You wanna know what weather drives people nuts more than anything?

Snow? Rain? Sun? Cold? Heat?



By far. Read the rest of this entry

The Problem with Using Rewards (and what to use instead)


Using rewards for getting kids to cooperate is a great way to get short term compliance.

In fact, rewards are much better alternatives to threats, bribes and physical punishment. But, there are long term repercussions for using rewards that many people don’t know about.

One thing that happens when using rewards, is that kids lose intrinsic motivation to complete a task. If a child gets promised a chocolate to clean her room, the room may get cleaned the first ten times… but what about when the desire to not clean the room outweighs the desire to have the chocolate? Will she still clean her room? Read the rest of this entry

My Compassion Towards Those ‘Helicopter Parents’


When I read an article the other day, about helicopter moms ruining it at the playground, I laughed. Oh, how I laughed. I almost shared it on Facebook… but wait… it wasn’t very nice. Most new mothers have some degree of helicopter-ness and I used to have it too.

A few months ago, a friend and I were chatting while the kids ran around the sandy beach, at the edge of the bay. She told me about her childhood; free and wild, in the beautiful salt marsh, on the east coast of Australia, just south of Brisbane. She, and other kids her age, would take the kayaks, paddle across the bay, to deserted islands and explore all day long. No parents. No rules. No mobile phones. Now, the same parents that used to let her run wild, worry constantly, almost to the point of paranoia, about their grandchildren. Read the rest of this entry

Can You Really Raise Kids in An Apartment?


First off, let me define the meaning of ‘small living space‘… because I lived in the back of my station wagon/tent, for a year, in my early twenties.

Apartments are relatively huge compared to a station wagon.

Better for the environment
Taking up less space, means… taking up less space. It means you leave more room for nature to be nature. There are 7 billion+ people on this planet, most of them live on top of each other. If we all wanted to live in a house, with a yard, we would all be squashed in an endless sea of tiny fenced in yards. Living in a small space means you use up less resources (building materials, energy for heating/cooling, etc.). When you live in a small space, you are also more conscious of buying unneccesary items (because you have no room). The less ‘stuff‘ we buy, that we don’t *really* need, the better for the environment. The production, the transport, and eventually, the disposal of the items we buy for our house, all have an impact on the world we live in. Read the rest of this entry

Stop Everything. Some People Don’t Rinse the Soap Off Their Dishes!?

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For years I ignored it. It just couldn’t be. In the staff room, after lunch, those soapy dishes left in the drying rack… I mean, surely, someone was going to come along and rinse them, right? The soapy residue taste when I ate a friend’s house… well, I must have been imagining it.

When I moved to Australia seven years ago, everything was new anyways, so what was a little soap on the dishes?

When you witness something that’s borderline sketchy…. what do you do?

I dared not speak up. Read the rest of this entry

Seven Questions I Need to Stop Asking My Kids

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Before my children could verbally communicate well, I got really good at reading their cues… Hungry? Tired? Hot/Cold? Upset? Have to pee? Yup, with a little practice, I seemed to be able to figure it all out. Now, they’re older and extremely verbal, but I keep doing something extremely stupid: I keep asking them questions which I (and they) already know the answers to. Asking these types of questions makes me sound like a broken record and is an obvious display of my lack of awareness.

1. Are you hungry?

I can generally calculate this answer, myself, if I think about the last time we ate. If they’re hungry, they’ll either lunge for food or they’ll have a melt down. Simple. Next.

2. Do you have to pee?

I ask the little one at least 29 times a day. If she has to pee, she holds her crotch and can’t sit still. I KNOW when she has to pee… SHE KNOWS WHEN SHE HAS TO PEE. I can just take her, but instead, I ask her. She says “No“. I ask her again 5 times until I take her… I’m an idiot. I could have saved my breath and just taken her at my first chance. Read the rest of this entry

The *Actual* Reason Why Children are 800% Worse When Their Mothers Are in the Room

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“They were fine all day with me, but the second they saw you, they lost it, Kate! I don’t understand!” Says my husband, on a regular basis.

The other day, I read a funny article titled, “Study: Children Are 800% Worse When Their Mothers are in the Room” (a fake study). I cracked up when I read the title, and quickly realized it was fake, once I read it. Despite the article being fake, the concept is TRUE! Kids are absolutely 800% worse when around their mothers… and why??? Read the rest of this entry

The Joys of Making a Birthday Cake for You and Your Hippie, Diet-Restricted, Mama Friends

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See that cake? I’m a fraud. It’s made from berries that aren’t even organic.

I can explain. Really, I can.

See, last week, I *thought* it would be a good idea to do my daughter’s 3rd birthday party at playgroup, since her birthday and the playgroup day coincide. Throwing a real party would be too much effort (second child).

I could make a cake!

We could sing ‘Happy Birthday‘, it would be grande! Read the rest of this entry