Meditation on Motherhood – Regarding Baby
My daughter is adopted. She is my biological niece and my daughter. We have been four and a half years in our relationship together. I unexpectedly became his mother at the age of forty-nine (after twenty-five years of being a professional toddler and educator), under the most unusual and trying circumstances. We did the whole […]

My daughter is adopted. She is my biological niece and my daughter. We have been four and a half years in our relationship together. I unexpectedly became his mother at the age of forty-nine (after twenty-five years of being a professional toddler and educator), under the most unusual and trying circumstances. We did the whole trip together. At the end of last year, she was diagnosed with autism. This is a short meditation on what becoming and being her mother has meant to me, what I have struggled with and what I am learning from her. I share it with the hope that it could speak to and inspire you, no matter your story or your situation.

I am the mother of my child. She chose me. I chose her. I am a good mother to and for my child. I am not a perfect person or a perfect mother, but I am the perfect mother for and for my child. I adore my child. Most importantly, I commit to the parent with respect. I introduce myself and do my best every day. I try to see her and understand her for who she is, outside of me. I try to honor her and her unique personality and background and give her what she needs to survive and thrive. I watch and listen to her intently, and let my intuition guide me to meet her true needs in the way that best serves her.

I remain open. By responding to her needs, I also try to honor myself, to be real and authentic in her relationship. I recognize that I have needs, limits and limitations, and it is OK and important to state them. I can't always meet all of her needs or requests in a perfect or total way as she would like, and sometimes she can be mad at me for set limits, and that's OK. I only need recognize his feelings, and to continue to be open, to listen, to observe.

I continue to seek, to question, to do my best for her and for myself. I won't give up. I won't be leaving. I won't give up on any of us. I will not stop loving her, listening to her or trying to understand her. I will make mistakes. I would fall. I will fail. I will misunderstand. But I will learn from my mistakes. I'll admit them. I'll apologize. I will seek, ask for and accept help for both of us, if needed. I will continue. And her too.

I choose to believe that my love, my commitment, my efforts are enough. Pretty good. What make a difference for her and for me. Enough to unite us. Enough to feed her and launch her into the world in a happy (enough), healthy (enough) way for her to survive and thrive. His journey, his experience of life, of people, will be different from mine, and that, I believe, is a good thing. Although she has experienced many difficulties in her short life, I hope that our relationship will be a foundation for her, even when I am no longer present on this earth. I hope she learns and feels that although I am not perfect, although I often feel inadequate, broken, lost and alone, even though I often make mistakes, I stand for her. I seek to see her as she is, to celebrate her unique strengths. I believe in her. I am there as a guide, and by his side, not hovering, but available. I am his greatest lawyer and cheerleader. She's my best teacher. I aim to make better and different choices for both of us, that were made for me when I was growing up. I try to understand myself and to understand my past so as not to revisit on it what was done to me.

Again, I am not perfect. I fall. I missed. I make mistakes. But still, I get up and try again. I lead with love. I lead with the desire to know her, understand her and celebrate her for exactly who she is. I lead with an open heart and an open mind. I keep learning and growing so that she can learn and grow. We are both a work in progress and our relationship. It's perfect as is, even though it doesn't look pretty on the outside or the ride isn't smooth.

I love. I love. I love. I introduce myself. I try. I try. I try. I trust. I let go. She lights the way for both of us. And that is enough. That's all. May she grow up to know it. Can she feel it. Let that suffice. That's enough. That's all.

About children
Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
These are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself.
They come from you but not from you
And although they are with you, they do not belong to you.

You can give them your love but not your thoughts,
Because they have their own thoughts.
You can house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
that you can't visit, not even in your dreams.
You can strive to be like them,
but don't try to make them like you.
Because life neither retreats nor lingers with yesterday.

You are the bows of which your children
like living arrows are sent.
The archer sees the mark on the path to infinity,
and he bends you with his power
may his arrows go fast and far.
May your flexion in the archer's hand be for joy;
Because just as he loves the arrow that flies,
therefore He also likes the bow which is stable.

With love and thanks to the many therapists, teachers, friends and families, too many to mention, who have prepared, guided, inspired and supported me on this journey, but above all, to Magda Gerber, and Janet Lansbury.

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Take charge. Children crave limits, which help them understand and manage an often confusing world. Show your love by setting boundaries so your kids can explore and discover their passions safely.

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Don’t try to fix everything. Give young kids a chance to find their own solutions. When you lovingly acknowledge a child’s minor frustrations without immediately rushing in to save her, you teach her self-reliance and resilience.

Pick your battles. Kids can’t absorb too many rules without turning off completely. Forget arguing about little stuff like fashion choices and occasional potty language. Focus on the things that really matter -- that means no hitting, rude talk, or lying.

Play with your children. Let them choose the activity, and don’t worry about rules. Just go with the flow and have fun. That’s the name of the game.

Read books together every day. Get started when he’s a newborn; babies love listening to the sound of their parents’ voices. Cuddling up with your child and a book is a great bonding experience that will set him up for a lifetime of reading.

Schedule daily special time. Let your child choose an activity where you hang out together for 10 or 15 minutes with no interruptions. There’s no better way for you to show your love.

Encourage daddy time. The greatest untapped resource available for improving the lives of our children is time with Dad -- early and often. Kids with engaged fathers do better in school, problem-solve more successfully, and generally cope better with whatever life throws at them.

Make warm memories. Your children will probably not remember anything that you say to them, but they will recall the family rituals -- like bedtimes and game night -- that you do together.

Be the role model your children deserve. Kids learn by watching their parents. Modeling appropriate, respectful, good behavior works much better than telling them what to do.

Fess up when you blow it. This is the best way to show your child how and when she should apologize.

Take charge. Children crave limits, which help them understand and manage an often confusing world. Show your love by setting boundaries so your kids can explore and discover their passions safely.

Live a little greener. Show your kids how easy it is to care for the environment. Waste less, recycle, reuse, and conserve each day. Spend an afternoon picking up trash around the neighborhood.

Always tell the truth. It’s how you want your child to behave, right ? Kiss and hug your spouse in front of the kids. Your marriage is the only example your child has of what an intimate relationship looks, feels, and sounds like. So it’s your emploi to set a great standard.

Give appropriate praise. Instead of simply saying, ' You’re great, ' try to be specific about what your child did to deserve the positive feedback. You might say, ' Waiting until I was off the phone to ask for cookies was hard, and I really liked your patience. '

Cheer the good stuff. When you notice your child doing something helpful or nice, let him know how you feel. It’s a great way to reinforce good behavior so he’s more likely to keep doing it.

Gossip about your kids. Fact : What we overhear is far more potent than what we are told directly. Make praise more effective by letting your child ' catch ' you whispering a compliment about him to Grandma, Dad, or even his teddy.

Give yourself a break. Hitting the drive-through when you’re too tired to cook doesn’t make you a bad mère.

Trust your mommy gut. No one knows your child better than you. Follow your instincts when it comes to his health and well-being. If you think something’s wrong, chances are you’re right. Just say ' No. ' Resist the urge to take on extra obligations at the office or become the Volunteer Queen at your child’s school. You will never, ever regret spending more time with your children.

Don’t accept disrespect from your child. Never allow her to be rude or say hurtful things to you or anyone else. If she does, tell her firmly that you will not tolerate any form of disrespect. Pass along your plan. Mobilize the other caregivers in your child’s life -- your spouse, grandparents, daycare worker, babysitter -- to help reinforce the values and the behavior you want to instill. This includes everything from saying thank you and being kind to not whining.

Ask your children three ' you ' questions every day. The art of conversation is an important social skill, but parents often neglect to teach it. Get a kid going with questions like, ' Did you have fun at school ? ' ; ' What did you do at the party you went to ? ' ; or ' Where do you want to go tomorrow afternoon ? ' Teach kids this bravery trick. Tell them to always notice the color of a person’s eyes. Making eye contact will help a hesitant child appear more confident and will help any kid to be more assertive and less likely to be picked on.

Acknowledge your kid’s strong emotions. When your child’s meltdown is over, ask him, ' How did that feel ? ' and ' What do you think would make it better ? ' Then listen to him. He’ll recover from a tantrum more easily if you let him talk it out.

Show your child how to become a responsible citizen. Find ways to help others all year. Kids gain a sense of self-worth by volunteering in the community. Don’t raise a spoiled kid. Keep this thought in mind : Every child is a treasure, but no child is the center of the universe. Teach him accordingly.

Talk about what it means to be a good person. Start early : When you read bedtime stories, for example, ask your toddler whether characters are being mean or nice and explore why. Explain to your kids why values are important. The simple answer : When you’re kind, generous, honest, and respectful, you make the people around you feel good. More important, you feel good about yourself.

Set up a ' gratitude circle ' every night at dinner. Go around the table and take turns talking about the various people who were generous and kind to each of you that day. It may sound corny, but it makes everyone feel good.

Serve a food again and again. If your child rejects a new dish, don’t give up hope. You may have to offer it another six, eight, or even 10 times before he eats it and decides he likes it. Avoid food fights. A healthy child instinctively knows how much to eat. If he refuses to finish whatever food is on his plate, just let it go. He won’t starve.

Eat at least one meal as a family each day. Sitting down at the table together is a relaxed way for everyone to connect -- a time to share happy news, talk about the day, or tell a silly joke. It also helps your kids develop healthy eating vêtements. Let your kids place an order. Once a week, allow your children to choose what’s for dinner and cook it for them.

Say ' I love you ' whenever you feel it, even if it’s 743 times a day. You simply can not spoil a child with too many mushy words of affection and too many smooches. Not possible. Keep in mind what grandmoms always say. Children are not yours, they are only lent to you for a time. In those fleeting years, do your best to help them grow up to be good people. Savor the moments. Yes, parenthood is the most exhausting emploi on the planet. Yes, your house is a mess, the laundry’s piled up, and the dog needs to be walked. But your kid just laughed. Enjoy it now -- it will be over far too fast.

Teach your baby to sign. Just because a child can’t talk doesn’t mean there isn’t lots that she’d like to say. Simple signs can help you know what she needs and even how she feels well before she has the words to tell you -- a great way to reduce frustration. Keep the tube in the family room. Research has repeatedly shown that children with a TV in their bedroom weigh more, sleep less, and have lower grades and poorer social skills. P. S. Parents with a television in their bedroom have sex less often. Get kids moving. The latest research shows that brain development in young children may be linked to their activity level. Place your baby on her tummy several times during the day, let your toddler walk instead of ride in her stroller, and create opportunities for your older child to get plenty of exercise.

Get your kids vaccinated. Outbreaks of measles and other diseases still occur in our country and throughout the world. Protect that smile. Encouraging your kid to brush twice a day with a dab of fluoride toothpaste will guard against cavities. Be vigilant about safety. Babyproof your home thoroughly, and never leave a child under 5 in the tub alone. Make sure car seats are installed correctly, and insist that your child wear a helmet when riding his bike or scooter. Listen to the doc. If your pediatrician thinks your kid’s fever is caused by a virus, don’t push for antibiotics. The best medicine may be rest, lots of fluids, and a little TLC. Overprescribing antibiotics can cause medical problems for your child and increase the probabilités of creating superbugs that resist treatment.

Keep sunblock next to your kid’s toothpaste. Apply it every day as part of the morning routine. It’ll become as natural as brushing her teeth. Put your baby to bed drowsy but still awake. This helps your child learn to soothe himself to sleep and prevents bedtime problems down the line. Know when to toilet train. Look for these two signs that your child is ready to use the potty : He senses the urge to pee and poop ( this is different from knowing that he’s already gone ), and he asks for a diaper change.

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