Respect Begets Respect

I strongly believe that the word respect has two very different meanings. Some people use the word in the context of treating others compassionately, or as they would like to be treated no matter what their sexual orientation, gender, race, or economic status is. The other definition, one that is truly cruel, is that some people deserve to be treated better than others, and if they aren’t treated that way, they will then in turn not treat others as even human.

I refuse to let my son grow up believing the second. How will I do that? By respecting him. I will show him what respect truly looks like, because I don’t want him growing up feeling like he is ever worth less than the next person.

In our home, respect is simple. Before anyone does anything, we think of how it will effect someone else. We show a little compassion, and with it comes respect. Manners also play a big part in how we treat one another. If Caleb says please, the chances of us doing something for him go up. We never had to teach him to say please, but instead from day one when we wanted something from him we would say please and thank you as well. His fourth word, was really two words, and was “thank you.” That says a lot.

We also respect his autonomy. He’s still working on that with us, but I have great faith that by us giving it to him, he will in turn give it to us. If he doesn’t want hugs or kisses, we don’t force them. He doesn’t need to sit next to us if he doesn’t want to. We ask, or in important and much needed cases explain why we have to, before diaper changes. Giving him that respect, we’re teaching him that he has control over his own body. In the future that can only aid him when it comes time for romance, or the unfortunate sexual attack. Teaching him to respect his own body as well as others starts from infancy.

Another area we work hard on to show respect is during discipline. We try as hard as possible not to yell, and we do not hit. You can’t teach a child not to do these things by turning around and doing them. Children learn by example. Instead, as we would with any adult, if Caleb has done something wrong we pull him to the side, remove him from the area he’s misbehaving in, and explain what he’s doing wrong. We do not shout, we do not hit, but instead we change the circumstance and ability to get into trouble. Occasionally there will be a tantrum. We pick him up and give him a hug until he’s able to calm himself down and talk about why he can’t do what he’s been doing. Sometimes he doesn’t want that talk, so we let him lay on the ground or sit in a chair until he calms himself. The beauty of it all, is that it works. He learns, not because he’s afraid of us, but because we took the time to explain. We don’t judge him as bad because he’s doing something we don’t like. Instead, we take the time to teach him what to do instead. These fits or moments in general are so rare, because of the mutual respect we have for each other.

Respect means that every person (big or small, black or white, poor or rich) deserves to be treated the same way we would like to be treated. Not only is it respectful, but the only way to be truly ethical.

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The Best Human Being I Know

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This incredible human being is someone we lovingly call Mimi. Her name is Misti, and she was born on February 6th, 1967. Her younger sister, Robyn, was my mother. Now, Mimi is the woman I consider my mother, and my child’s grandmother. I am one of at least 21 people who feel this way, despite not being grown in her womb.

As a child, I spent an incredible amount of time at her house. A good chunk of age three and four, and every weekend or school holiday through sixth grade I was guaranteed to be at her house. She had these super powers to know whenever I was about to get in trouble for something from my parents, she would just appear and grab me up. I’ve heard stories of when I was a baby, my mum put my diaper on way to tight once, and my legs were losing circulation. She appeared and remedied the situation immediately.

This amazing woman was not only my savior, but a savior to many other children. Her and my uncle made a choice early on in their marriage that they wanted children. Not being able to conceive originally led them to look into fostering. When they went in to start, they were told to look around their neighborhood, and that’s just what they did. This woman ended up taking in children, with a variety of ages and special needs, at least twenty one times. She never received any help from the state, but gave them, and me, the most amazing childhoods. There was one kid that they took in who had many problems… He was still wetting the bed, and on many medications when he first came to them. By the time he left, they had gotten him off all of those medications and helped him grow into a strong, hardworking man.

She took me camping, taught me to cook, showed me how to shave my legs, and what a body positive attitude looked like. She showed me that growing your own food is magical, how relationships are supposed to feel, and that you should never be ashamed for how your brain and body work. She taught me how to love, forgive, and move on. Never once did she ask for anything in return. Her entire life has been about giving.

When my moms died, six and a half years ago, there was no question. I went straight home with her that night. Not only had she just lost her sister, but she now had to deal with a teenager who lost her parents, and wasn’t overly willing to gain a new one. She was so ready to be my parent, and give me the world, but I was not ready to let someone be my parent. I had spent so much time being an adult that reverting back to a child was hard for both of us. I did things I wasn’t proud of, but she never stopped loving me and fighting for me. When others told her to give up, or spoke harshly about me, she stood her ground and defended me.

She has been through more hardship than the average person, and dealt with a lot of selfish ungratefulness. She now has a biological daughter, and still gives her love to others. Her home is open to those in need, and she’s the first to offer help when people are in trouble. She finds herself hurt on a regular bases, but continues to have a shining heart.

My Mimi is the most amazing person in the world. The picture I chose is one she might not like, but I truly love it. Her smile, watching my son and her daughter open their Christmas presents, is so genuine. It’s a reflection of who she truly is. It shows her inner beauty, as well as outer. I love her, and just want her to know how grateful I am to have her as my mom.

Daddy-Son Time <3

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One of the benefits of Corey working at Lowe’s is that he gets to bring home the Build and Grow projects to do with Caleb. Soon as he walks in with one of those sets, Caleb just lights right up. I’m actually really impressed with Corey too. He could build the whole thing by himself in a few minutes, or be too worried he’d get hurt to let Caleb help. Instead, Corey involves Caleb in the whole thing.

First Caleb reads him the instructions. Then Corey kind of follows them, but usually has to pull a few parts apart as he goes. Then he has Caleb help him put in each nail before he hammers it in. Caleb has the option of using stickers, or not. He can put them on and rip them off later. It’s totally Caleb led. In general it’s just a blast watching them, and I know he’s learning just so many things! Putting the little nails in the holes? Totally fantastic fine motor skill practice. Following instructions? Puzzling pieces together? Great brain activities.

It’s also education for Corey. Patience, letting go, trust… It’s really beautiful watching them together.

Autumnal Paper Chain: Home-school Pre-school Day Four

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Caleb had a very productive day of learning. We were supposed to focus on the letter A and number 1, but he knows those pretty well. We did a coloring page of the letter A, and talked about “one crayon at a time,” but then we moved on to something way more fun, because I kept looking out the window and seeing the beautiful colors of Maine in fall.

I took him outside to go learn about, and pick, leaves. We talked about how they start on trees, and then fall to the ground as it gets cold. Then I showed him all the colors they come in. I asked him to pick a bunch for our craft. I wanted to grab some of the incredibly beautiful and bright leaves… but I’m short. So we ended up with some cool gradient leaves instead. Orange and yellow, green and yellow, and red and yellow are what we ended up with.

Before we went I cut up a sheet of green, yellow, red, and orange construction paper, then when we got home I showed him the papers and how they matched the leaves we collected. Next it was time to talk about patterns and practice our color recognition while building a cool autumn leaves paper chain. I had him hand me ONE green, one yellow, one orange, one red, etc, etc, until all the papers were gone. He would hand them to me sometimes, and other times he would slide it through the last chain. We clothes pinned it up, and Caleb chose which chains would have leaves hanging from them. So much fun!

Even though this wasn’t originally on the curriculum, figuring it’s cow week not seasons week, I decided I couldn’t pass the chance up. We still got to talk about green (the color of the week), read a few books, and the fine and gross motor skills used to identify and say colors, as well as threading the paper through the previous chain, was a great practice, and covered what was planned. Oh, and while we were reading I pointed to a piece of broccoli. I asked Caleb what it was, because he loves broccoli and can say the word, but instead of identifying it he said, “Green.” I was really pleased. It was a fun day of learning for the both of us, and really nice to bring nature into our learning.

The Importance of Friendship

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After high school I really drifted away from any friends I used to have. More than that, after Caleb came I realized how different my “friends” and I really were and decided that parting ways would be best for both Caleb and I. That’s okay. Eventually though, without even knowing it, I found myself very lonely. All the play groups and classes in the world couldn’t make up for just plain out not having friends. For Caleb, he has his cousins and what not but they are all bigger than him. They aren’t on the same level as him which made it hard for both of them to really play and interact properly. I was feeling pretty bad that my child was as alone as I was. We have each other of course, and that’s enough for me, but I knew that having friends would be better for us both.

Well, one day I went to the crochet group I started and I met Amy. She brought her daughter Alyara with her and in the middle of our meet up had to nurse. It was an insta-connection. Alyara was only a month younger than Caleb and super cute. Amy’s friend Brittney ended up booking a Thirty-One party through me a few weeks later and all of the kiddos were invited. Caleb and Alyara met that night and oh my goodness they were adorable. He would hold her hand and snuggle up to her… and she’d put her hand out and push him right away from her. Oh yeah, we know who wears the pants in that relationship!

That night there was another kiddo present. Sharlett, Brittney’s daughter, who is only a couple of weeks younger than Caleb. They didn’t bond much that night but… the story doesn’t end there! The three of us started hanging out and our little ones did as well. Watching them play makes my heart sing. The way we feel says a lot as well. Caleb and I are both a lot happier and less lethargic having something to look forward to, aka our play dates. Sharlett and Caleb have found a special bond though. Both are charismatic kiddos who love the park and food. They play so well together and I can’t get over just how cute they really are. I mean… just look at this!

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So go make some friends mommies! You will feel so much better, you will not have as much stress, and your little ones will have someone to spend time with as well. I mean, hopefully at least. Just, don’t be alone. Loneliness can over take you and turn you into someone you don’t want to be. Friendship is important. It’s important to show your kids how to be a good friend. FRIENDSHIP.

Weight Gain Sucks: Size Zero or 5x

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     Years ago my cousin had gotten pregnant and was always whining about getting bigger. As a former size zero she had become a size ten just from her baby belly and enlarged breasts. She didn’t look any bigger to me really. Her face didn’t show it, nor did her arms or legs. At the time I thought she was being ridiculous. How could this skinny little thing complain to me, a size XL? 

     She explained it to me though. When she spent all this time keeping her body one size, it was depressing to gain so much weight so fast. Her body hurt. Because of all the extra weight, her back had begun aching and she felt ugly. Her body was not recognizable to her and it made her depressed. 

     When you don’t fit into a pair of pants, even if you’ve only grown half a size, it hurts. I’m a very confident person when it comes to my body. Now though, instead of the 1X person I’ve been for over five years now and gotten comfortable in, I’m a 3X or more. The only reason though is that my belly has grown because I am pregnant. That extra weight is nearly killing me. My pelvis aches if I stand for much more than half an hour and my back kills me every night. I can’t get comfortable and my legs feel like they are jello. 

     It is the worst feeling though when you can’t fit into your clothes. When you have to go up two, three, four different sizes. It makes you feel like your whole body is expanding and you’re out of control. My family has been kind helping me get big clothes like that as my belly expands, really nice clothes even, but it’s still hard for me. Yesterday though I learned a valuable lesson. I’m still a 1X. I just need to get 1X in Maternity clothes! What a wonderful feeling that is. Putting on a shirt that has my size written on the tag as what I’d learned to love and have it not only fit me but feel very comfortable as well. Now I am putting the 3X clothes to the side (besides this one shirt I love) and wearing the clothes that are truly my size. 

     So here’s the lesson my dear friends. Wear clothes that make you feel good. Only good. If you are feeling down about your size or weight gain, remember that it’s temporary. Pregnant or not, it is always temporary. Life is Good

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