Welcome to Kira's Blog

Welcome to My Blog

Life with young children can be challenging, but with the support and advice of friends, we can feel empowered and thankful for the blessing of being a Mom.

My musings are those of a self-proclaimed attachment-parenting Tiger mom, who juggles full-time mommying with a small (but growing!) baby-related business. I hope some of my thoughts help you
Enjoy your day, Enjoy your night, and Enjoy your kids!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Healthy Touch

I recently read a study (sorry- I can't remember where) that discussed the importance of physical contact* with your child - a hug, a high-five, or even just a pat on the back. Touch is a subconscious reminder of the intimate connection between parent and child. Both benefit from this contact, as it calms and focuses their attentions. Parents are more understanding and patient, while children feel supported and accepted.

Unfortunately, older children - and especially teens - can go days without being touched by their parent(s). Babies are coddled and constantly shown affection, but the relationship with older children becomes primarily verbal - in some cases exclusively so. This is especially true of father-daughter relationships, as Dads become uncomfortable showing any sort of physical affection while daughters grow and change. According to the study, this often has an impact on daughters, who are more likely to seek physical male affection elsewhere (!)

For some of us, it takes some effort to touch our children, even in some small way, daily. Did you give a kiss before he headed to school? Did you rub her shoulders as she was sitting doing homework? Did you tousle his hair in congratulations for a job well done?

In fact, this same principle holds true for spouses and close friends - a welcoming hug, a high-five, or even a pat on the arm, create a sense of solidarity and connection.

As children grow, they continue to learn from their parents, especially with regard to relationship-building and maintenance. Parents who continue to provide physical contact with their children encourage them to feel comfortable with their bodies and also appreciate the subtleties of different forms and styles of touch. In contrast, those parents who withdraw physical touch fail to teach their children about healthy adult (non-sexual) physical interaction. After all, when all touch is "taboo" then a naive teen will easily misinterpret a handshake, a tap on the shoulder, or a hug. Healthy touching leads to more confidence in teen years and a better understanding of what is "ok" and what is not.

Pay attention to how often you touch your child - and challenge yourself to increase it and see how it affects the relationship. I'd be glad to hear what happens...

*It goes without saying that this post refers to affectionate and absolutely *non-sexual* contact. Obviously, anything breaching that would constitute abuse.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Secondary Crises - a "not-your-average-parenting" post

A country is at war. People are fearing their lives. They run from the bombs, seeking shelter. The main crisis is clear: war.

But there are secondary crises that are often overlooked: the wives and husbands of soldiers who are now single-parents - either temporarily or (sigh) permanently. The children who are panicked, the families torn apart. The refugees, the displaced, who must how rebuild their lives. The merchant who suddenly cannot make a living, since nobody is brave enough to go out on the streets and visit his shop. These "secondary crises" aren't often in the news - they aren't front-page material. But they are painful realities that need to be addressed.

Similarly, when a family is told that their child has an aggressive tumor, most people think of how to help with the primary crisis: cancer. They clearly understand the idea of fighting for life and many rally to support.

But there are secondary crises that are also painful. How to balance work/life in this new climate? How to take care of other family needs? The strain is especially hard on parents who must handle their own emotions while also getting through the practical daily chores *and* supporting their child/children in their own unique ways. Who is there to support these parents and siblings during the crisis?

Cancer and similar life-threatening conditions are not a short-term battle. They are a long-term war. The battle cry at the front is heard loud and clear, but what about those suffering behind, overlooked yet still scarred from the experience?

It's not as exciting to tend to secondary crises. Going out of your way to purchase products from people in a war zone doesn't have the cache that tweeting "go team" does. Likewise, caring for a sibling or parent of a sick child doesn't feel as meaningful. But it means the world to those who are not on the front but feeling the pain from behind.

...and how does this relate to parenting? Those of us who overlook secondary crises may likewise neglect our children's subtle, less-exciting challenges. We pay attention when the battle gets bloody (figuratively or literally!), but we don't pay attention to the pain that may be lingering underneath. Take time to consider how to support your child through his/her secondary crises - this is key to winning the Great War of Parenting.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Most Horrible Feeling

Many of us moms experience highs and lows of parenting. The highs: smiles, adorable phrases, warm sense of pride in developing new skills and new friendships. The lows: tantrums, homework, "normal" or "special" behavior/development issues, sleep-deprivation. For the most part, we encounter similar challenges and find familiar voices among friends and neighbors.

But some challenges are different. Being told "your child has cancer" is different.

Usually I blog about the "normal" challenges that we all face. Today, I share a different voice.

You see: today, my son heads to Boston for his 7th intervention to rid him of aggressive, horrible tumors that would have killed him if we hadn't found them in time 2+ years ago. Today, I said goodbye to him, despite his tearful plea not to go, because he knows what awaits: needles, foreign rooms, pain.

And today I so badly BADLY wanted to keep him safe at home.

Most of you don't know that feeling. Most of you are lucky not to give your child over to doctors who promise to do their best, while your child cries from fear.

When he is headed for the hospital, I always have the same feeling: I want to grab him and run away. I want to keep him safe. Desperately. Oh, so desperately wanting to keep him as far from the hospital as possible. But where to? Where can I take him to be safe from these tumors? There is nowhere to go. It is the ultimate feeling of defeat.

"He has cancer." "Are you sure? Could it be something else?" "No. We are sure."

Most of you don't know what it's like to awaken in the morning to the piercing reality that your baby, your joy, may not live through the next month or season. I cannot possibly express in words this worst-feeling-ever. The pit in my stomach. The rage in my mind. The weighty feeling throughout my body - like it will take a crane to pull me out of bed.

I have imagined his funeral so many times in my head. I have imagined how I will break the news to his siblings, and how we will get by with his memory.

"Think positive - things will work out!" "God is good - you are only given what you can handle in life." People who have never felt this worst-feeling-ever have no idea how empty these things sound to me. There is no "think positive" when you wake up in horror of what will be. And as for getting what I can handle? I'm not so sure I'm handling it, and I'm pretty sure this is why divorce rates are high among parents of children with cancer. No - some of us just can't handle it. Our other children suffer. Our marriages suffer. We are barely functional as a friend or employee.

And even now that things are better - now that he's not fighting for his life like before... the reality is that we have been through hell and are not back yet. We still have to go to the hospitals and scans. We still are never sure if the tumor will suddenly appear by his heart or lungs or spine or other "vital structure"... we still want to grab him and run away.

It's the most horrible feeling.

Most of my blogs are about universal truths or ideas about Mommying. In contrast with the others, I hope this one sounds completely foreign to my readers.