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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

SortaCrunchy Q&A #14 - Tips and Tricks (sorta)

It's just gorgeous here today. Really, really gorgeous. Days like today make me wanna belt out a few verses of "God Blessed Texas" (If you wanna see heaven brother here's your chance). Added bonus - Miss D has been especially delightful the past few days. Just a real dream of a child (where are you, O Wood, that I may knock upon you?), and that has made life particularly sweet in my SortaCrunchy home.

And that puts me in a good place to answer today's SortaCrunchy question from Birdie of BirdBrain. Birdie is a fun and funky (in a good way, girl!) new mama to one sweet little September '07 man - Otto. Stop over and say hey if you have time!

Birdie asks, "What are your favorite tricks and tools of the Mama trade? What objects/tricks/ideas/attitudes get you through the day with two little ones?"

Honestly, I don't have a lot of tips. Or tricks. Well, some tricks. Like telling D that Cliff Kid Chocolate Brownie Organic Z Bars are "Bunny Scout Brownies." Those brownies are my back-up plan when she refuses to eat a meal, and she is ever so delighted to devour a Bunny Scout Brownie - Max and Ruby style.

So yeah, I have tricks like that.

But my only real tip is one that was given to me by Martha Sears, the mama of the Attachment Parenting super duo who co-authored The Baby Book with her husband, Dr. William Sears.

(Sidenote - I know I talk about the Sears an awful lot. I am not on their payroll. I just love them. I truly, truly do. Their books and website helped bring me from a dark, disappointed, and unhappy place in my mothering to a joyful, uplifted, and inspired turnaround. That's all.)

So anyway.

Martha Sears writes in The Baby Book that in parenting her own high-needs child, she had to learn to get behind her eyes. That phrase, that instruction, that advice has been the single most helpful parenting tip I have ever come across.

When D was a baby and was crying, fussy, out-of-sorts, whatever, I would take a deep breath, close my eyes for a second or two, then open them and look right into my daughter's eyes. Then I would imagine her looking out at me and ask myself, "If I were looking out of those eyes, what would I need to see to feel better?" I sure wouldn't want to see an angry, frustrated, exhausted mama. So no matter how angry, frustrated, or exhausted I was, I forced myself to be the mama she needed me to be at that moment. More often than not, all she needed was some peace, compassion, and understanding . . . maybe in the form of a bouncy walk around the room, perhaps an extra long hug with quiet whispers of affirmation in her ear. It usually wasn't much, but it almost always worked to just get behind her eyes and really think about what is was she was needing.

I gotta tell ya'll this. Life is proving to be quite unfair to my angelic AJ. Her two bottom teeth are threatening to erupt any day now. Yes! At not quite three months! Bless her heart. So this laid-back and content angel of a baby has been uncharacteristically needy and fussy for a few days. I find myself going back to Martha's advice and still find it works like a charm. Heck, it even works when D is going into meltdown mode and she's almost three.

I wonder if it'll work for pre-teen hormonal angst? We'll see.

Anyway, friend Birdie, that is the best I can offer in terms of tips and tricks. I hope it helps you as much as it helped is helping me.