Being A Parent Is Hard!

Being a parent is hard work!

As parents, when we see another one of us walking freely across the street, or with our little bundles of joy, or our grown up packs of happiness, we know the struggles that we had to face to be able to get up this morning, and what we faced in the past.

It’s not easy, the sleepless nights, the early mornings, the ‘late’ nights (since when has 8 been late?

We all know how it is, and we all know how hard it is to be able to even put one foot in front of the other (that’s why coffee was invented, or any guilty pleasure we indulge in as soon as we drop off the kids.)

It’s hard, we know.

Imagine how hard it must be for our children, that time of life that we barely can even grasp the notion of existing in. I barely remember what it was like to use my child eyes.

Sure, I have memories of what happened, my mother was a giant to me (she’s barely able to pass the four foot something mark, or even reach the tape to measure people on the door frames in convenience stores!) Those memories are processed with the mind I have now.

But imagine then? When I saw a color it was literally the first time I remember, or even actually would see that color! WOW THAT BLUE IS LIKE THE BEST BLUE EVER! Right? That innocent mind, that is filled with wonder and amazement, can easily be filled with fear.

How scared are you now of a dark room, still, with your understanding of the law, of physics, of mathematics, or even the laws of gravity (No killer can mystically appear once the lights are off, but we all think it, TODAY IS THE DAY HE’S BEHIND THE DOOR!) Imagine that feeling of darkness the entire time that you’re a child. It’s a feeling we’ve all forgotten, because we know better.

When we were children, everything was new, and the unknown was a darkness, and the only light that existed was our parents.

We are the bringers of light to our children’s mind.

Sincerity is key.

Being sincere is a great tool.

I find that being sincere with my daughter has helped us create a greater bond over the years. This bond is something that is deeply embedded in us, regardless of me being her father. It’s like a second thread that is parallel to me being her parent.

It’s hard to even imagine a me with her without that bond.

When I enter a field, while she is playing a sport, she gives me those eyes that say everything about how she feels at that moment:

the small squinty eyes, that there’s mischief afoot

the small round eyes that means there’s something wrong that happened

the surprised eyes that she just did something wrong and kinda wants me to know

the eye roll that means, whatever, you’re here, and I love you

the casual eyes that simply say You’re here, but I’m accomplishing something here daddy, watch and learn!

All these eyes, I find come out of a mutual respect that we have for one another, through an understanding of how we handle situations in a crisis. Which brings me to a technique that I have been using sparingly over the years, as over using it, might make it lose some of its meaning.

During some extreme emotional build ups, there is often very little to do to be able to bring a child’s mind down to reality. What I found to be a very intimate way to connect with my daughter and bring her back down to me, is this:

Gently press, palm out, fingers extended, on her belly

I take a deep, obvious breath first, then another while locking in on her eyes

Then I ask her to take a deep breath, then once obliged, I explain the technique to her to breathe from as deep in her belly as she can, expand her belly if possible as well, all the while me mimicking and doing what I am asking

Once tensions are relieved, I give her a hug, and tell her that if she wants to talk about it, we can, and if not, we can talk about it some other time

There is no real trick for this to work, as each situation is different, some might require a stronger tone, some a softer tone, and even sometimes I would recommend trying this before something bad happens, and even after, in between, etc. I find it adds more sincerity to it when it’s not done exclusively when something bad happens.

This creates a strong bond between her and I, and I hope that it helps assemble her ideas and thoughts during a crisis, not only with me, but with others. I feel that these small actions bring us closer together, and make our actions speak volumes.

Raising A Child

Raising a child is hard, because of uncertainty, the uncertainty of your child’s future is haunting, as it is uncertain. The most drastic (that brings mist to the most ardent, and armored of parents eyes,) is thinking about if their child will even see tomorrow.

Tomorrow is what we hope to see, but a better tomorrow is what we hope for our children.

A parent is embedded in sacrifice. We must sacrifice resources, we must sacrifice our time, we must even sometimes sacrifice ourselves, for the well being of our children, of the people of tomorrow.

What we hope for our children is that they have tools to prepare for what is to come, and especially for the insight to foresee the things that could cause them harm.

We want what is best, we want to offer the best that we can, and often even when we give the best, we aren’t there to witness our children using the tools that we give them.

The thing with our kids, is that it’s not what we tell them, but how. It’s not what we want to show them, it’s what they will get out of it. We often say things that we know to be good, but that are perceived to be bad. Our words mean something truly specific to us, but can often be misleading.

What I hope is that my stories mean something to you, and your children, as I have fallen in love with how my daughters mind works and weaves new links through how we tell our stories, but what I hope above all, is that you create stories with your children, and that you discover each other through your stories.

Love is made to be shared, and is made to grow. Grow together, and love each other through your stories.

Little Books For Little People

Little books, have big impacts!

I wrote a book for my daughter, she is eight, and I would recommend that you do the same! It could be any notebook, preferably something that will last through time.

Writing a book for your little one, is basically writing the things that you  haven’t said, already said, or can’t say. What I chose to write about is those little moments that you just feel like you haven’t said enough.

I wrote about how my values enter the relationship that I have with my daughter. Why I do certain things (why eating with her mouth closed is important to me, or even why taking her shoes off is important!)

For me, eating with your mouth closed, is a big deal in the family, as a child, my father would eat with his mouth open, and it would really, really get to me, because it was constant, and I felt like I had no power over his actions, which in turn made me feel like I was powerless towards that. It’s also kind of impolite to do in front of others, and in front of strangers. For me, it shows a lack of respect, inundating others with a sound that they might not welcome.

There are a few senses that cannot be turned off, and that is one of them.

The other value that I wanted to transmit is the feeling of being older. I am older, which doesn’t necessarily mean I know better, but it means that I have been through the situations and the feelings that she has been through, which I want her to know about now; that her feelings are as important as mine, and that I only  know things because I lived them.

What to do :

Get a small notebook, preferably lined, that is pocket sized, and inexpensive (you might end up writing a few of them!)

Write small thoughts, with the date on the top of the page

Write situations that you lived with your son, or daughter, and how you felt about them

Write short paragraphs about your childhood and your parents, and how it made you feel

Only write on the right side of the page, and skip a page whenever a big subject will be addressed (this will leave your child the chance to be able to add small drawings, or even their own thoughts to the book)

If possible, take a few pictures of the pages that mean a lot to you, and e-mail them to yourself ( https://protonmail.ch/ ) to keep them safe and private (books all too often get lost)

Most importantly, have fun, and write often, even small sentences!

We all love our children, and they all know we love them, but in our modern day and age, all too often communication is pushed aside, and our emotions and connections are shared on glowing screens. An emotional connection can be established with a physical, private book.

For me, I love my mothers penmanship, it’s absolutely beautiful, and has been something that is comforting to the soul in every letter written.

I love my fathers penmanship even more, because he has passed, and the ink that has touched paper from his hand, is something that I will cherish forever, and I know that your children will feel the exact same way I do. (my father did not finish primary school, and wrote sparingly, and in all CAPS always. His words are innocent, and well chosen, as he taught himself to read while he was on ships in the navy.)