5/20/2017

Teenage depression, hope, and resources for suicidal ideation Parenting

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Before I go in to a long winded update, here are a few things to know immediately:

For parents: Call 9-1-1 if your teen has a plan for suicide and has a willingness to follow through and will not go with you to the ER. Do not be ashamed. None of the staff will fault you for this, in fact, they will hug you. It's ok. You're not alone. They're not alone. Ok? Ok. Now, I can let you know how our experience is, so long as everyone is safe. 

-------- Update from this post and all your wonderful replies. One week later. --------

Reaching out to The Internet can be a mixed bag. Sometimes you get coal and sometimes you get Ice Cream Sundaes with whipped cream and sprinkles.

Y’all provided some amazing ice cream when we most needed it. I can’t say thank you enough.

5/13/2017

A guide to parenting a suicidal teen Parenting

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When you left the hospital with your first born, you joked about how ridiculous it is they let you take this entire human home as if you have any clue what you’re doing. She seems so fragile compared to every car on the road between the hospital and home and HOW THE HELL LONG IS THIS DRIVE because it wasn’t nearly as long from the house to the hospital before.

lb-carseat-2months.jpg#asset:2869

You all struggle to figure each other out. It takes time. There’s a lot of crying. Sometimes it’s even the baby.

Mommy LB 6months

She grows and grows and becomes a spirited human that you marvel at. In many ways she’s stronger than you are. She teaches you about kindness and imagination. She grows and grows and becomes a young woman. In many ways she is braver than you are. She teaches you about friendships and my little pony and anime and how freeing dancing in the car is at stop lights. And then one day it changes.

5/9/2017

The Littlest Birds Sing The Prettiest Songs[1] Parenting

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He slammed against the large window and flew backwards in what I personified as frustration. “How did he get in?” I ask the table of strangers all working near me. “The front door,” a woman answers from the other end. We all laugh. Of course! He took the same way in as the rest of us.

Twenty minutes later I’m standing in the back near the bathroom. The bird flutters between windows, pecking at each and quizzically wondering how to get on the other side. I’m assuming he feels this way, at least. I recognize that feeling.

My own little bird has been feeling trapped. She’s trapped in a system. She came in the front door, like everyone else, and found herself in a box of glass windows made of expectations she didn’t know existed. Her free spirit that was such an asset before is a source of frustration and pain. She doesn’t fit in. She’s not set up for success here. She’s too young to know what options she has or that the world outside isn’t just an extension of this ridiculously cruel joke. She feels powerless to make a change so she slams against the glass window in frustration and backs away hurt and helpless. She’s lost her song and we aren’t sure what or how to help.

I watch as someone opens the back door where the bird is becoming more frantic as he searches for a way out. The lady smiles at me as I acknowledge the simple gesture. We are silent but we know this is the only solution for the increasingly manic bird. 

Earlier this week I sat down with my own bird and opened a door. I gave her a way out, a safe way out, an option or two. When she wanted to run away, I drove her to a new place. I let her flap her wings frantically to show her anger and frustration and then I let her know we would always open a door when she gets stuck. She doesn’t know that as big as her anger and frustration and hate is in her body, her body that can’t contain all this emotion and volatile energy, is equally met by the magnitude of love and space and acceptance that we can open on her behalf. 

5/3/2017

Inside Voice Balance Parenting

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Teachers or parents who work with, or have, pre-schoolers and Kindergartners use the term “Inside Voice.” It’s a vocabulary word you don’t normally hear at a business meeting where other terms like “Synergy" or "Tech Disruption” get tossed out as if they had actual meaning. Nobody ever says, “Let’s use our Inside Voices.” Although I think they probably should.

Parents and Teachers use this word, ironically, loudly in order to tell the child to stop yelling in the store/house/meeting/car/market/coffee shop. “USE YOUR INSIDE VOICE,” I may or may not have been caught yelling at the three year old who was singing Baby Beluga at Top Volume. 

Now that I have a near teenager and near double-digit dude, “Inside Voice” doesn’t come up as often. Sure they might be loud and rambunctious but “Inside Voices” and “Outside Voices” aren’t a thing. Now I can yell, “SHUT THE FUCK UP FOR LIKE TEN MINUTES,” and they will listen and comply immediately. (I’m kidding. I never use the F word with them.)  (I’m kidding again. I don’t know why I’m lying to make friends, y’all already know me.) They just laugh at me if I yell to shut up and continue on. 

I’m the model mother.

Lately, though, “Inside Voice” is taking on a new meaning. In the silent bliss that is the three minutes after the youngest gets on the bus for school and the house is completely silent, I heard myself whisper to nobody at all, “Use your Inside Voice.” I nearly startled myself with this idea, looking around half expecting to find a kindergarten teacher standing over me. “Use your Inside Voice,” I thought again. Interesting.

4/11/2017

Retro Planets Parenting

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Apparently if you're feeling a bit stuck and frustrated, that's to be expected this month. 

There are five planets going "retrograde" this month. To clarify, this is not the same as "Old Skool Grade" which One might think if you have no idea about astrology or even what science calls a planet appearing to go the opposite direction as the rest of the stars, but apparently this is a Big Deal.

As in, to quote a very reliable source, "Wow, I don’t know who pissed off whom, but this April is shaping up to be a real fuck-show."

So, let me right now recursively nerdly tell you I'm sorry to the entire world on everything I say between now and May 3rd because Mercury. 

chmod -R 777 /theWholeWorld/sorryForWhatISayUtilMay3

And while we're here: Other Retro Things

I figured since things are going retro, I'd participate in hopes to not piss off any more Juju / Karma / Gods Of The Sky / etc. Maybe if we keep the Universe entertained enough, shit won't hit the figurative fan. 

4/5/2017

My daughter is my hero ADHD Parenting

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I’ve been getting a lot of calls lately. I answer and hear a sniffing, shaky voice on the other side. It’s barely audible. It’s my daughter, reaching out from her adolescence, searching for some guidance. 

She is my hero.

Her world is beyond her now. Her confident and spontaneous childhood is being replaced by the expectations and uncertainty of puberty, of the public school system, of unspoken rituals. When she feels like she doesn’t know what to do, she calls me from school. Sometimes I don’t know what to do, either, so we breathe together. Sometimes we cry together. She is brave for calling, for being so vulnerable from the science room’s telephone. She is standing alone in the empty classroom, the tile cold and hard below her feet, the room dim from missing lights and the emptiness of first lunch, and she stands there holding the phone with two hands, alone, but not alone.

She is my hero.

When she is at home she is still our Lolo, the one who stormed in to our lives like a tornado, making everything fresh and new and uncertain. She’s the same girl who creates worlds and characters and imagery. She still leans in to her dad when we watch Dr. Who, still dances with me in the front of the car while I ferry us around, doing our best arm motions and head bobbing to the music.  She still plays with her brother, a small if decreasing portion of the day, where they coordinate minecraft tools and build houses across the street from each other. 

4/2/2017

Becoming Unstuck Stories

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There’s a great quote about getting unstuck by Pema Chodron. “We don’t hear hear much about how painful it is to go from being completely stuck to becoming unstuck. The process of becoming unstuck requires tremendous bravery, because basically we are completely changing our way of perceiving reality, like changing your DNA."

Or, as Tracy Jordan once said on 30Rock, "Stop eating people's old French fries, pigeon. Have some self respect! Don't you know you can fly?”

I think we frequently forget we can fly. HANG ON, I don’t mean literally fly, step back from the ledge there, mister. I mean we forget we’re heroes and souls and beautiful memories and inspired ideas and we’re not just this lump of collagen layered over calcium deposits holding in a bunch of water and other stuff. (I got a degree in the human body and paid a lot of money to know that level of detail so I don’t expect you to retain all of this.)

In These Great United States Of The Americas, we focus so much attention on the outsides. Flabby arms? We have a video of entertainingly fit people you can watch and hate yourself for that will surely fix that flabby arms if you could only just Do These Imposible Exercises Every Day! Baggy under eyeball puffiness? (How are these two things able to coexist, I’m not sure, but I tend to have both at the same time.) There’s a surgery for puffy, baggy eye skin! Want to lose that belly? Take this pill that makes you pee out your butthole and maybe stop wearing white and select dark pants for the duration of the program. Success Guaranteed!

We sell ourselves misery shaped items to fill all the misery shaped holes in our lives. They come in a lot of shapes and sizes but the misery shaped hole expands and grows and the misery-plugs stop working so we look for more Stuff.

3/22/2017

Teethless in Seattle Stories

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(See what I did there? I mean, technically I *am* ‘teethless’ since I’m missing 1,2 and now 9, but this post is only about one tooth, number 9 specifically. The pun only fits with the plural, though, so I had to improvise. God what I’ll do for a pun.)

A few months ago I fell and bonked my front left tooth and it hurt. That’s the most boring blog post (or tweet for that matter) I could possibly think of. It was such a non-thing that I didn’t even think to care about it when it happened. I cared, in that I couldn’t eat with that tooth for a  while because it hurt a bit, but other than that, one gets pretty used to things and moves forward with life in general. 

That tooth was never the same again. It always sat in the wrong space and because it moved (without sending me a new address), I’d bump in to it from time to time. “Oh! Shoot! I forgot you’re here now!” I’d apologize every time. It was almost always a glass that I mis-calculated as I went to drink and would bonk the new-position of that tooth. It would send me a zinger of a reminder that it’s moved and for godsake, get a plastic water bottle, not these fancy glass ones.

This correspondence went on for some time until one day the tooth got pissed. I’d hit it one too many times and it grew a little white nodule on the gum as a warning sign. And then, because warning signs aren’t really my forte, it cracked completely in half, just above the gum, when I bit in to a sandwich.

Now I was listening.

2/13/2017

I hit shuffle on the mom lecture playlist and got schooled as a result Parenting

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This weekend was not unique, except it was. I think this is how most of life's daily reflections should start. "Today was normal, except it was exceptional." At least that is my goal for life; an exceptionally normal, wonderful life. 

So this weekend was a completely normal, usual, nothing of a weekend. The boy child had a soccer game. I had some work to do. The girl child had some homework to catch up on. And the dog was an annoying asshole. You know, the usual. So after arriving early for the soccer game, I told the Girl that we were going to walk to the coffee shop around the corner. "I found this place on google. It says there are snacks and caffeine. We should walk there." 

"Why don't we just drive?" replied the 12 year old skinny girl who under-appreciates a good outdoor experience until she's forced in to it.

"Because I was just in Spain for two weeks and homegirls don't drive in Spain; they walk." I call this parenting, y'all. I should probably attend some classes.

We walked along the dangerous, non pedestrian friendly roads to the "coffee shop", which turned out to be a drive through coffee stand at a gas station. I am not in Spain, I am reminded loudly by the cars and the cars and the bigger, more loud cars. We use the toilets, labeled "Restrooms" just to confuse the matter, and purchase a few "fresh" snacks that sit along shelves of car oil and greeting cards. 

2/2/2017

Childhood is Global Travel

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The bus trip to Alicante is brief but the visual treats are plentiful. There is the first circle of restaurants and cafes just around the corner of our stop. There is the square with the giant palm tree and workout equipment with the elder gentleman in jeans, sweater, and a cap, doing a slow peddle on the stationary bike. There are the children running along the sidewalk teasing each other and the parents pushing toddlers glowing as they grip a new toy from the market. An older brother holds his sister by the shoulder and gives her a casual kick in the butt from behind and she lunges at his arm before they settle back in their walking rhythm next to each other with ease and familiarity. 

It’s just over a mile between stops but we pass dozens of tiny communities. The older generation wanders arm in arm with their partner or adult children, holding a cane in one hand and gripping the support of their loved one in the other. The lady with the bulky coat and shopping trolly shuffles to get off the bus and the gentleman standing near the exit moves out of the way and helps her quietly, without her seeing, positioning the trolly so she can pull it off the ramp. 

We exit the bus and walk the few minutes to our destination. There is a man washing the windows two stories up who hears loud chatting of a family and looks to nod at them. The adults of the family speak in fast staccato while two young children run ahead and hide behind the statues of mushrooms and Alice In Wonderland themed street decorations. The older sibling watches out for the younger one, wrapping her arm around the toddler and guiding her to the slide. The toddler can almost make the latter’s steps but the mother calls out a warning and she climbs down the two rungs and takes off to the next mushroom behind her sister. They are laughing and calling out to each other in their own language; not Spanish, not English, but Childhood.

I recall when my young son asked if there were kids in Germany on a trip I was taking there years ago. These young children, not yet jaded to the politics of the world or the reality of some who abuse power, enjoy a world the adults can’t see. Time is not linear to them, it slows and quickens depending on context. Fun is simple and friendships are plentiful. The world is new and large and small, everything existing at once and not at all. 

There are many new and different things here in Spain for me, but the most prevailing thought I have is how familiar everything is. This is my first trip to Alicante, but there is already a comfort to the predictability of life. The ladies at the market who check out my purchases are the same as the people at my local grocery store. The old man on the corner reading the paper could be the same regular I see at Starbucks in my neighborhood, always sitting outside, regardless of the weather, reading the day’s news in print. The styles of clothing are slightly different, but not really. The food is a higher quality but still resembles something I’d make at home: eggs, bacon, sliced cucumbers and avocado. The music vacillates between Spanish top hits and American top hits, and I hum a song my children introduced me to just a few weeks ago.