My musings

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Category: kids (page 1 of 2)

Paying attention

Image result for parents ignoring their child at table

It was hard for me to believe, but I guess I’m just naive. I was walking downtown and passed a table on the sidewalk with two parents and two children. The parents were absorbed in their devices and the two children were bored out of their skulls just sitting. 

The day before I had spent an hour drive in the car with my ten year old son and we did not stop talking the entire trip. Questions, discussions, ideas and random thoughts were bounced back and forth and I was so happy and so much richer for the interaction.  There was no music, podcasts or other distractions, it was just straight one on one conversation. It was awesome.

Contrast that with the couple at the table ignoring their children. There was no acknowledgement of the other people at the table, both parents were focused on the little screen in their hands as opposed to the little faces and minds across the table.

Mealtimes are a wealth of opportunity to discuss future plans, current events, their days or even just what shows you want to watch when you get home. With children, as with everything in life, you get out of them what you put in. Make the effort to be interested and engaged with them and they will be interesting and engaging. 

Too often we are focused on the potential of interesting things happening far away from us, the latest celebrity gossip, the Lamebook update from some friend we haven’t seen in 5 years, or someone else showing off what a wonderful time they are having on InstaSham. 

Part of mindfulness is acknowledging and accepting this moment, being here now. Enjoy those around you, the sights and sounds, the smells, and them. I learned a lot about my son on that car ride, he’s more interested in space than I had thought, and I’m so happy I did. It was more enjoyable and interesting than sitting side by side silently listening to music.

I don’t get it

I coach my son’s recreational basketball team. He’s 9, the kids on the team are all 8-10 and play the way kids that age play.  Today was the last day and it really bugged me that not one parent thanked me for coaching, for helping their kids, for the encouragement and support.  Hell, even for simply babysitting their whiny butts.

One kid in particular was a whiny little suck. “I haven’t made any baskets.”, “I suck”, and “I don’t want to play” came out of his mouth virtually every week, and this week was no exception. He actually took himself out of the game and sat dejected on the sidelines. I stopped the game, went over to him and gave him a pep-talk, getting him back on the floor and putting him in a position to score, which he did. His dad watched the whole thing. Nothing. No wonder the kid is the way he is based on the inaction of the father.

Then there are the other coaches. They do NOTHING. I’m the only one that called fouls, that coached both the teams, that played with the kids and tried to teach them something. I hate to even be considered a ‘coach’ if what they were doing was considered to be coaching. It’s not hard. Call a foul. Tell them what they did wrong and help them understand how to do it right.

Finally the parents. We were presenting the awards, photos and talking to the kids about how far they have progressed and they were all chatting and talking above what we were trying to do with THEIR KIDS. I yelled at them. I hate that I had to, but no one else was speaking up.

All of this bugs the crap out of me. Makes me not want to ever coach a team again. Dealing with the little shit kids, the big shit parents and the don’t care a shit coaches.

But I will, because I get to spend more time with my son. I would walk through fire for him, so a whole bunch of me feeling like crap once a week is nothing. I love him.

Parenting Through Panic – by Angie Elliott

Four ER visits. Two by ambulance.  All four times I was convinced I was having a heart attack.

The sensations came without warning: the heat that permeated my insides; intestinal spasms that paralyzed me; a racing heart, pounding heart; nausea; dizziness; crushing chest pain. All culminating with the very real fear that I was slipping away and was going to die.

After a slew of cardiac tests came up negative, one ER doctor asked “do you suffer from anxiety?” My answer? No! Of course not! My life has never been better!

The attacks started coming with more frequency and intensity. In the middle of the night. During playdates. While having supper.

While driving.

I felt I was endangering my son’s life and the lives of others. I stopped going out. I stopped getting out of bed. I was terrified of being left alone.

When every medical test came up negative my husband recalled the question from the last ER visit: “Do you suffer from anxiety?”

So, one day after dropping our son off at school, my husband bundled me up and brought me to the hospital that changed my life: CAMH. The diagnosis: Severe Panic Disorder caused by untreated Generalized Anxiety Disorder. A panic disorder is most often a by-product of life-long, traumatic stressors. Severe anxiety is a by-product of the fast-paced world we live in. There is no magic cure for having a panic disorder and anxious people are usually going to be anxious forever, however, it is possible to lead a full life in spite of all this. After months of therapy, I am back to being a fully-functioning parent.

These strategies helped me. I hope they help you too.

Don’t be reluctant to seek help and take the medicines prescribed by your doctor religiously.

Don’t stop them when you feel better. Sure, there are side effects, but they are usually mild and can be managed by your doctor and pharmacist. Breastfeeding? Talk to MotherRisk. They stay on top of the latest research and have the best interest of you and your baby at heart.

The secret to living with a panic disorder and severe anxiety is to get comfortable being uncomfortable. The sensations will come and go but if you can stop the attacks quickly, they will not paralyze you. Quite often the anxiety cycle starts with a “what if” thought. The key to anxiety reduction is to stop that thought in it’s tracks. As soon as one of those thoughts pop up in your head, mentally say “STOP”. This takes practice. Say it out loud if you have to. “What if” thinking is the most dangerous kind of thinking. It raises our blood pressure and heart rate. Again, stick to the facts and learn that THOUGHTS ARE NOT REALITY. They feel real, but they’re not.

Repetition is the key.

After “STOP”, take 5 deep breaths. In for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, out for a count of 7.

The anxious mind is searching for danger, searching for something to panic about. Use the 5,4,3,2,1 method of re-directing the mind. While breathing slowly, name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.

Between breathing and this, the mind has a lot to do.

Go to a sink and run the water as cold as you can get it. Cup your hands and fill them with water until it is uncomfortable. Splash your face. The sensation of extreme cold is often enough to stop a panic attack. Your brain can only handle one emergency at a time; your cold hands will distract your brain from the imaginary danger causing your panic attack.

Now, how to stop these thoughts from forming in the first place…repeat this phrase multiple times a day: “I can handle it”. In the face of a new situation, a scary situation, at the start of each day “I CAN HANDLE IT”.

Increase your protein intake. Protein at every meal. Lots of veggies too. Eliminate caffeine and sugar (Ha! ask me how I’m doing with this one…). Exercise, too, is absolutely essential.

ESPECIALLY when you don’t feel like it. Anxiety wants to keep you paralyzed in bed. Don’t let it win.

Finally, anxiety is the most contagious emotion. I need to check myself multiple times a day. If our son starts on the path I’m on, well, that would break my heart. When anxiety and panic get the better of me, though, I let him help me through it. I tell him that my brain is getting really worried about (blank). Then I say, it’s a silly worry, because I know I can handle it. We don’t want to pretend anxiety and panic don’t happen, we just want to give them the tools to not be afraid of it.

And the tools to help them when the mind DOES control the body, instead of the other way around (which is the way it should be).

By Angie Elliott

Parenting done right

Parenting Done Right

SMBC – The Tools

SMBC - The Tools

SMBC is a great comic found here: http://www.smbc-comics.com/

This is my son

Every day he comes home we ask him the same question and we get the exact same answer.  I’m sure there are things that they did in class because he will belt out a new song every now and then. (click on the image to see the full thing)

 

 

Cooper playing Wii

Angie just told me about Cooper playing wii today.  At one point he was losing the game, swordfighting on Wii Sports Resort and said to his mom ” time to okay shut this down now”,  and then proceeded to win the game.

Cooper taught me how to do something new on the ipad today

Cooper really amazed me this morning. I had the ipad on in bed and it was really bright. Cooper woke up and said can you turn that down please.  I thought you meant turn it off. What is really bad place to turn the brightness app. I didn’t know how to do that. Cooper said “it’s easy daddy. All you do is press the square button twice. Then you slide it to the left and you adjust the brightness.”  At 4 years old he’s teaching me how to use the ipad. I am amazed. He is such a great boy.

Right now I am dictating this to the android galaxy tab in bed. Cooper is sitting next to me.  He wants to say something now. This is coopers turn:

Have fun

What he really said was ” we have to get the toys from the box and play with them tomorrow and play wii until it is dark”
Unfortunately he speaks very quickly and softly so it didn’t pick him up very well.

A grateful child

Cooper is so amazing. This morning in bed I told him that I had a special surprise for him downstairs. We all come down and I have a bag with our Wii in it now that it has been fixed by the Hortons, but I also had some other things in the bag.  I tell Cooper that the special surprise is in the bag, reach in and pull out a jar of garlic.  The smile never left his face, but you could see he was confused. He even said ‘thanks. So I told him that wasn’t all and pulled out some maple syrup. Again, no complaints but the smile dropped a bit.  Finally I told him that because he was so good at being grateful for the other presents I had one more for him. When I pulled it out, his eyes went so wide and he ran over and gave me the biggest hug.
I just love that he didn’t complain at getting a jar of garlic. Personally I would have been really happy to get a jar of garlic as a present.

My son Cooper kills me

Last night my son Cooper and I were watching a YouTube video of a grandpa using a gun to blow a hole in the side of an inflatable pool and right as it pops Cooper says “Holy shit!”

I had to stifle a laugh and tell him it isn’t appropriate .  Very funny.

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