Sunday, July 31, 2016

Day 165- Parenthood Is Just the Beginning

Four years ago I began my journey of parenthood. I thought I had it understood to a certain degree, but nothing prepares one like living the actual life of a parent.

There have been many emotional moments as my son has been growing up and here I want to open some of those moments particular to my experience as a parent and then I want to move on into how those experiences have changed based on my understanding/growth/self development and stabilizing myself.

One very particular experience I recall is wanting my son to grow up faster because I did not want to deal with certain baby stuff I am required to do as a parent to support the physical being of my child-
One-I wanted him to sleep longer so that I can sleep
Two-I wanted him to eat grown up food so that I don't have to worry about cooking separate foods
Three-I wanted him to walk so I don't have to carry him everywhere
Four- I wanted him talk so that we can have actual conversations
Five- I wanted him to be toilet trained because dippers are a pain

I basically was in a hurry to skip the baby stages because there was something I did not like or particularly enjoy, something I did not want to adapt my life to. Something I was holding on to (an experience of pre-parenthood)- My FREEDOM. This was of course in a suppressed/hidden way to where the result was that I was often irritated with him especially when he was crying. I am sure lots of new parents may experience such moments even if they are very subtle within and may not even realize it.

Fast forward to recent months my son was having some behavior problems at day care- in particular it was hard for him to play with others in sharing or waiting and he would hurt others by hitting them and in a few occasions biting them. He has been very stubborn since he was born actually and instead of finding a way to address this in a stable manner I had always reacted to him being stubborn to where I would spent evenings with him screaming over a toy he wanted and I would not give into him because I wanted to be in control or I would ignore him as a sort of punishment.

And I really needed to look at myself and I had been refusing this for the longest time because I need to be in control. I had been refusing to work with him which escalated his behavior- he was whinny, he would scream, he would cry, he would try to hit me (even if it was not hard- but it is the gesture that counts) and my reaction was to "punish him" in some way- like taking a toy or TV time away, or ignoring him. And Man, was I annoyed with his behavior.

I realized that the key is in me- it was about how I interacted with him, about my attitude and the possible hidden/suppressed reaction of him "taking my freedom away" that I never wanted to admit to myself because in my eyes I wanted to be the best parent/mother for him but I was failing at it since I did not have myself sorted out in relation to him.

The last REAL tantrum he threw (about a month ago) was over a toy that first he did not want and then minutes later after I had put it away he wanted it. The evening was long because I was refusing to take the toy back out to prove a point. He was screaming, he was hopping and had a very difficult time calming down. He was talking out of breath and was so stuck on having that toy that he refused to shower, he refused to go to bed. Finally he got tired and eventually went to bed but it was a struggle.  I later (in like a week or so) began to reflect on why those tantrums were happening. Was this really about the toy or was there something deeper to it and the toy was something he could cling onto. After talking to my DIP buddy regarding this issue, she said that it was not about the toy itself but rather him wanting to have a say in something and I was not giving him that chance.
After this discussion I began to reflect on moments where I have not allowed him to voice himself or have something his way or really listen to him and come to a point of agreement/understanding about the event/situation. I admitted lots of things to myself that I was previously refusing and realized that I had to change and adapt. I realized I was not adapting to his growth. Here he is finally passed those baby stages and I could not see it that he needed a different approach/understanding. He needed to be able to express his voice for his age. And this will continue changing as he grows older.

I gave him the opportunity to make some decisions on his own with my suggestion. I spoke to him without getting irritated. I presented him with a solution of how to deal with other children if he was getting upset at them. We spoke about when NO really means NO and that it is OK to not get something at the moment. We made an agreement of when he would be able to get what he wanted.
I am in the process of establishing basic communication/understanding/agreement with him to stand as our mother/son foundation.
I know he is a stubborn child and I need to work with this to redirect it into a productive way- where stubbornness becomes determination in the right direction. There is lots of things that will change as he grows older but the one thing that remains stable is the foundation/agreement that is created/built.

Day 164- Adapting is the "New Way"

I recently listened to a video on Soul Of Ultimate Living about the word ADAPTABLE and I really enjoyed the discussion that takes place in the video. It has helped me look at the word "to adapt" more closely and with better awareness.

The main understanding I took away is that life is ever changing and we must change with it and that requires us to adapt to the new changes or we get caught in an emotional roller coaster of trying to hold on to the past and the way things were which falls out of an alignment with life itself.
Adaptation is part of our life processes/development/evolving, like a stepping stone towards moving forward.

An example that is coming up at the moment is with my son. When he was just a baby our nightly routine was a certain way based on the physical and emotional needs he needed met. As he continued to grow up those needs changed because he was changing and learning. I remember one afternoon when he was about 2 years and 4 months.  I placed him for his usual afternoon nap and he refused to nap. I was really irritated with him because I was counting on that nap to do other stuff. Little did I know this was going to be the new way as he did not want to nap anymore. And the more I fought this napping schedule which worked out perfect for me in the past the more irritated I was getting. I was not using my common sense to understand that I had to adapt to this change and not fight it.

Adapting means to align or re-align with the physical life changes that will occur for certain in everyone's lives. It is how we respond to this change that will affect us productively or emotionally.

Day 163- The Mirror of Self/Dis/Honesty

I recently looked at the 4 words:

Self Dishonesty
Self Honesty

In order to identify moments where I am aware of those 4 words in my life I made a quick perspective definitions. I actually have redefined the words- self honesty/honesty in one of my living word definitions however looking at the 4 words together I was able to get a closer definition for myself.

So here it goes:
Dishonesty: Lying to someone, hiding something from someone, pretending to be something or someone towards another in justification that I have a right to do so.

Self Dishonesty: Refusing to recognize that what I am doing and how I am acting is in fact not in consideration or alignment with the reality. In doing so I am lying, hiding to myself and justifying my lying/hiding.

Honesty: Saying the truth about my feelings, my opinions, my judgments to someone in justification that I have a right to do so.

Self Honesty: Looking into my actions and deeds and recognizing where I am lying to myself and allowing myself to become vulnerable in that moment to look pass my mind that is looking for a justification to why I have the right to hold on my self dishonesty.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Day 162- I am NOT a Dog Person!

This blog will reflect my process with having my first dog (Zoey) and how I reacted at first to her and how that changed as I changed my attitude and adapted towards Zoey.

We got Zoey a little bit before my cat Lisa passed away. It was in the beginning of January that my husband decided he would like us to get a dog as our next pet. I was not exactly agreeing with him as I wanted to wait for another pet after my cat had passed. And this decision was a fast one because previously we had discussed not having any pets for awhile or having a small pet like a rat. After some convincing and persistence on his side I agreed on getting a dog as our next pet. We talked about what breed would be best and that we would adopt from the shelter. He made a phone call to the shelter and asked if they have what we a re looking for and they did. We went and adopted Zoey that same day. It took a few days for her to come to her new place and when she made it it was the beginning of our life with a dog.
First we had to divide Lisa and Zoey as Lisa was old and she would not respond well to the dog so we had to adopt our house with some fencing. And I also had to give up my yoga/dance studio for Zoey's space. To that I had a little bit of a reaction because I had just gotten this space a couple of months prior. Both of us were kind of new to having a dog so we were thinking that it would be nice for her if she would be able to have space around the house when we are gone. However since she was a puppy and also adapting to her new environment she ended up peeing and pooping everywhere as well as chewing and destroying a few things. To that I accumulated irritation that upon returning from work I had a big mess to clean every day and I was not happy about it. So I reacted in getting angry at Zoey and not wanting to touch her or play with her. I kept thinking to myself that I am a cat person (since I have always had cats in my life) and I was resisting the adaptation to a dog which only made me feel more unhappy about the getting a dog. So something had to be done and we decided that she will be kept in the cage for the time when we are not home and if it's nice outside she will be kept outside. Within making this decision I also had to work on understanding what it means to have a dog and to adapt myself to caring for a dog (breaking down my resistances that accumulated with the idea that I am a cat person and I will never have a dog). That way I am not allowing myself to be angry with her for something that she is adapting to as well. One of my other reactions was the hair- she was way hairier than having a cat. I was going nuts having to clean hair everyday which also caused irritation and blame that she was shedding too much for me to handle. So what I did was to relax my cleaning and accept that with a dog that sheds there will be hair and mess and that it is OK to let it get "dirty" for a bit. I ended up creating a cleaning routine for myself -once a week sweep, vacuum and wipe the floor. The rest of the week if I had time I can quickly sweep off the hair.
As soon as I let go of my irritations and resistances and idea that I am NOT a dog person I was able to start building a relationship with Zoey. It has been now 7 months since she first came into our lives and my lesson learned here is that I had to face my reactions and resistances so that I am able to be free to create my relationship with Zoey. I am glad that she is in our lives just as I was glad for my Lisa. I am enjoying her presence.