Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mirror Neurons and Parenting ::Wired to Connect::

My desire to understand human development and psychology started far before I had children but admittedly it's become quite an obsession of mine. Who wouldn't want to understand the psychology of a toddler tantrum? No? Maybe I'm just weird...

The coolest part about understanding how the brain works is the ability to be calculated and stealthy in your parenting or caring and conscientious ::whichever you prefer::! Ha. There are lots of different components to the human brain but learning and understanding even just the basics has been so helpful in my parenting journey and it's given me a sense of calm understanding that has been invaluable. 

Now presenting the wild world of MIRROR NEURONS!

What Are Mirror Neurons?
According to the American Psychological Association, "Mirror neurons are a type of brain cell that respond equally when we perform an action and when we witness someone else perform the same action. They were first discovered in the early 1990s, when a team of Italian researchers found individual neurons in the brains of macaque monkeys that fired both when the monkeys grabbed an object and also when the monkeys watched another primate grab the same object.

Cool, huh?? 
Your mind--a mirror that reflects onto others---
I'm basically telling you that the way that you feel and act will be emulated and imitated. Are you cool with that?
Ok. Yea. It's scary.

Using This Applied Science in Parenting
Children are inherently good and a bad behavior doesn't erase the inherent good-nature that they just are. Instead, when children act out in particular ways it shows where they are hurting. We must change the lens in which we view our children and their behaviors--what we deem as "good" and "bad."

Our minds set intention--"And so it goes with our kids. With them we can hold love in our minds, and our body language confirms our belief in them as good, capable, loving people. When our intentionally calm, gentle faces and body language are combined with our loving thoughts (and often, with a needed limit) the mirror neurons in our children’s brains fire to match the emotional state we are showing them, while their tantrums, crying and dramatic complaints release their feelings of hurt, so they can once again feel our love, and attune with us at last. The more we can intentionally hold this good thinking for them, the more their brains can align with ours, because our mind sets the intention.  We are giving them the experience of feeling felt, creating attuned connections and resonance, thereby restoring warmth and goodness to them and allowing their minds to self-organize." (Source)

Your Parenting Image
It's always interesting when I hear parents say, "little Johnny hates such-and-such" because MOST of the time the parent also hates such-and-such. We project onto our children the ideals, behaviors, and in many cases the inner self that we possess. If you want to see a clear picture of yourself just look at your children.

It is important to be true to who you are, because as a parent, you face a mirror that reflects everything you do and feel. When we pretend to feel and think in a specific way, our child’s mirror neurons will pick it up. Mirror neurons never lie. Your thoughts, feelings and behaviors will be mirrored. It is not what they say that counts the most, but what their brain projects and what our brain mirrors. 

Let Go of Guilt
I am a strong believer in attatchment parenting  but I'm also a firm believer in striving for balance. I hate that word, balance because it gives people like me (researchers), this notion that balance isn't being achieved if you're "striving for it" however this article says that we (I) aren't doing so bad. I feel like this is important to chat about though, we (as parents) have done a pretty damn good job of keeping busy, stressed, and frazzle-dazzled! This display of stress and "busy-ness" isn't what I want for my kids. I mean really take a step back and think about what you are exhibiting; are you running like a wild woman because you've stretched yourself thin, are you laying around all-day never putting forth the effort in achieving anything greater, or have you achieved perfect balance and you are the mother that we should all strive to be ::bullshit::! Obviously, there are varying degrees between but think about where you are on the spectrum and how it impacts your children.
Real World Application
I recently witnessed an incredible transformation in a special little boy that sort of spurred this need to know more about mirror neurons.

In the course of about 6 months his family went through some big changes that included; moving, renovating a home, moving again, and selling a business. Needless to say his life was busy and a bit unpredictable. He hadn't potty-trained yet, was a little shy socially, and verbally wasn't very expressive. Last week we spent some time with him and it was a night and day difference. He is fully potty-trained, verbally expressive, and socially engaged. After chatting with his Mama I left feeling confident that she really understood their mirror neuron connection. She explained, "Christian he was feeling my stress and after a week of being settled, at home, and me being less stressed it all came together." Mind you--this Mama was being questioned about his development by family so you can imagine the weight once things finally came together!

I leave you with this,
Remember--Your behavior speaks and your child is also listening.

P.S.--I could talk with you all day about; the great leap forward in regard to human evolution and the need for interdependence but I'll let this video get that point across.

If You Too Enjoy Research::

Monday, April 25, 2016

Stream of Counsciousness...

Where I've been, where I'm at, and why none of it really matters...

As I was headed (here) to my favorite spot in all of Sarasota, the Ringling Bridge, I was thinking about what I wanted to post about. What do I want to talk about; motherhood, natural living, or having a hot husband ::shoulder shrug::? As I was crossing my favorite bridge I noted the running path along the sides and I was quickly taken back to a memory (or a hundred), of running along that path the times that I have. It seems like decades ago that I was childless, training for a half marathon, and had ZERO time constraints. Who was that person? That girl? The "endurance" athlete who had not experienced natural childbirth, the girl giddy for her medal who hadn't overcome breastfeeding challenges, the girl who had no clue what it was like to love someone more than herself. She's such a faded memory. It's like my current life with children has eclipsed all that I knew, all that I was, and now it's affected all that I will ever be. I don't wish for my old life. I don't wish to go back. I just wish that when I HAD it I really understood what it was; carefree and independent. 

This week has been so challenging for me. I'm seeing my sweet baby girl blossom into and inquisitive little girl and my son is hitting the same milestones that I feel like Ella was hitting just yesterday. It's becoming all too real and I'm realizing more and more how quickly time is fluttering past me and I'm recalling instances with my kids as blurry memories. This is scary shit people. Is Christian with adult children, going to look back on Christian with babies and think "I wish she knew what she had..."?

The answer is YES.

So I will capture it. I will breathe it in and let it soak to the core of my soul. I will laugh harder, play the game Sneaky Snacky Squirrel with Ella 100 more times (it's her favorite), and I will play peek-a-boo with Wilde like its the last time everyday. One day...the games will be put away and the peek-a-boos will be traded for real goodbyes and until that moment I will enjoy every single moment while I can.

Young Child-less Christian,
You did the best you could with the knowledge that you had. I really wish that you would have slept more but you liked to party...

Current Christian,
Leave this spot right now and go cuddle your husband and kiss on your babies. There isn't a blog, a business, a website, or a project in this world that is more important than them. Go steal time sister. 

Ps--as I was leaving my spot on the bridge I saw one of the girls that I used to run with. She didn't recognize me and ran right past. Funny how things work out..

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Nightweaning Two Kids: Two Ways

There is nothing more miserable than going without sleep. Often times, moms do it out of necessity and as a result  you end up with a Mama who is sleep-deprived and mentally fatigued. Who wants to "mom-it" when you feel like crap? I know I don't. 

Have no fear two gentle ways of night-weaning are here! 

My experience has varied greatly with each baby and I'm learning that each scenario has served a purpose and maybe that purpose was to help other mamas. Let me first tell you about each child and their pre-nightweaning eating habits: 

Ella:: Ellabird was an angel and still is when it comes to adhering and respecting boundaries. Being that she was my first baby I was much more gentle in nightweaning her. We began the weaning process at 20 months with Ella and after doing so, I realized that I could have done it a lot sooner! At the time, I was pregnant with Wilde and was having UNbearable nipple pain//aversion while nursing. Ella was nursing about 3-5 times a night--even at 20 months! 

Wilde:: He's such a man cub. He was nursing 3-5 times per night but VIOLENTLY. If you have a violent nurser than you will understand what I'm talking about. If you don't then you wont get it when I say, there was NO WAY I'd be able to be in the same room with him while night weaning. He's like a shark--he can smell me and when he wants it, he wants it. 

The Process. 
Like I said each child has been so different! Here's how it happened for each.

Ellabird:: I have always communicated with Ella through story and play. It's just her personality. If I were to sit her down (even at 20 months) and tell her "no more" she would have been very hurt (she's my sensitive sweetheart). I opted to start the process of "Milky in the Morning". It actually came from the book that we read together "Milky When the Sun Shines" and at night we would tell milky night-night, I would put on a sports bra, and when she'd reach for it in the night I would gently remind her that she could have milky when the sun was up. 
Funny story--
There was only one night that she actually had a difficult time and it resulted in us laying on the coach in the living room. I have a large back sliding door that looks out on horse pastures. Ella saw the barn light on in the distance and screamed, "mama, it's da sun, it's da sun, I has milk now..." Uh..negative. 
About a week to two weeks of this and Ella was sleeping through the night--GO ELLA! 

Wilde:: Remember how I mentioned Wilde being a violent nurser? Ya. The kid is intense in every way. One day it will serve him well but today and in the evenings, it's a pain in the ass. Realizing how beneficial nightweaning actually is, I've decided to wean him earlier than I did Ella by a few months. Maybe it's the age or maybe it's the personality but the book and gentle reminder method is not and WILL NOT be the solution for him. He's more of an out of sight, out of mind kinda guy. We started the process with Nate putting him to sleep and me coming in later--which totally worked until he realized that I was there. It was almost like he wasn't used to sleeping deeply because he was wanting to nurse. Make sense? So we began The current process of me sleeping in the guestroom for a few nights while he acclimates to a full nights sleep. It's working. I came in at 6AM this morning and he was out, he knew I was there, I gently patted his back and he went right to sleep. GO WILDE! 

My Advice
-I would not wean your child earlier than 18 months and even then you really need to ensure they are getting plenty of solids and water throughout the day. 

-Ensure that you have adopted a schedule. Kids THRIVE when there is routine and order. 

-Find a method that's right for them and be patient. Nightweaning is a HUGE milestone and for many littles can be a big deal. Stay empathetic and gentle. This is just as tough for them as it is for you...

-Include your spouse in this process if possible. It has been more difficult for us considering the schedule that Nate keeps but EVEN SO I can see how valuable it is. Your child should be comforted by the other parental figure in the home and in our case it has actually facilitated Nate having unique bonds with each of our children. 

If you have any questions, need any support, or just an ear, I'm here for you! 


Sunday, June 7, 2015

DIY Salt Spray

It's no surprise to friends, family and maybe even YOU that I made my own Salt Spray! Here's how it's done!

You'll Need:
-an old Saline Spray bottle (get out my house 'Little Noses')
-QUALITY Pink Himalayan or other sea salt
-a funnel or steady hand

To make:
Sanitize your bottle and the water that you'll be using for your spray. Don't avoid this...
Mix 2 tsp to 1/4 cup of sanitized water and boom! Let it cool, pour into your container, and label! 

My sweet boy is fighting the sniffles so this wash, paired with YL's 'Snifflease' on the chest is just what the mama ordered! It's a rejuvenating and refreshing blend formulated just for little ones!

Friday, April 10, 2015

When you're needy toddler really NEEDS you!

Hey guys! 
I wanted to share what has been going on in my life lately in the hopes that it might be able to help someone else. I've been experiencing some new parenting trials and wanted to share with friends. 

Here recently (about 2 weeks) I have been noticing that our sweet girl has been very very needy, a bit spunky, and overall more challenging. So I decided to dive in deeper to try and help her along. I pulled out some of my human development textbooks from school and got to studying. Every time Eleanor goes through a developmental milestone I'm always amazed at the awesome wonder of creation. My tiny little human...getting so big and developing big girl thoughts and gaining more independence. She's done so well with adjusting to having a new sibling and within the last month her verbal processing skills have increased. 
All of that to say this---it's no wonder that she has been more "needy" because guess what, she NEEDS me.

There's something in development called the "reconnecting phase" and it's typically an intermission between developmental leaps. When parents are out of harmony typically discipline problems will multiply. If you are trying to foster independence and your child is trying to bond you're totally out of harmony. It's not being "needy" it's NEEDING to reconnect and it means that an emotional refueling needs to take place.

If you get too busy while your child is in the reconnecting phase you may miss out on the opportunity to patch up breaks in communication. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Multi-Level Marketing--a Viable Income for Mamas!

I recently saw a comment on a thread that went a little something like this, "people used to be all watch out for pyramid scheme and now it seems that everyone I know is getting into something, it seems as though it's targeted to women, what's the deal?"

That comment was so poignant that I decided to write a post about it!

I want to answer the question in a public forum as to educate others. 

The answer is this--it works.

Within the last month I have witnessed (personally), mothers without hope beginning hoping again.
A single mother who now has the ability to provide the necessities for her son. A Mama who was trapped//stresses in the day-to-day of owning a business now having the ability to spend quality time with her family, while providing additional stress free income, and lastly a pregnant mother enjoy her postpartum without the stress and sadness of having to go back to work. 

Stories continue to multiply and you're right--it IS geared towards women, specifically mothers. It's growing and will continue to grow, as long as people continue experiencing the financial freedom that multilevel marketing has to offer!

You see "direct sales" or "multilevel marketing" has changed rapidly over the last couple of years. Before with companies is like Amway, Melaleuca, or Mary Kay you had to carry stock and provide your customers with the products that they desired. Nowadays companies like Jam Berry, Young Living, DoTerra, and Plexus provide you with something as simple as a member number, an affiliate link, or a back office! Simple and streamlined. 

Along with the explosion of multilevel marketing companies we have also seen huge growth in the "blogosphere". It seems as though every Mama is a "Mommy Blogger"  and you'll often find affiliate links sprinkled throughout every single one of their posts. You see direct selling is very very similar to those blog affiliate links, you receive a commission based on what someone purchases, just like that blogger receives a commission on whatever you purchased through Amazon.

Here's the catch though---you receive a commission every single time someone purchases through your "affiliation" --even once and it's called residual income. Furthermore, you receive additional commission when that initial individual that you introduced, decides to introduce someone else to what it is that you offer (and are passionate about)! You see it's a trickle down NOT so much a pyramid. Think of the company that employs you (if you work), you probably have a President, a CEO, and a Manager--that my friend is a pyramid. 

Imagine if you got paid every single time you recommended your favorite cloth diaper, teething remedy, or shampoo and someone went and bought it. Can you imagine getting a check in the mail every single time someone purchases one of your favorite items? 
So here's the catch to multilevel marketing, you have to sell something that you believe in! If you don't find essential oils to be useful--don't sell it. If keeping your nails manicured isn't your passion--don't sell it. Instead find something that you really love and WILL use so that when you talk to others you're not "selling" instead you're-- SHARING. 
Something else that you want to look into is the company's compensation plan. If the compensation plan isn't rewarding you adequately for your work then you should find another company. For instance, if you have to do a lot of work for a minimal pay then that doesn't fix your---"I want more freedom" problem does it? Find something that you're passionate about and that will pay you what your worth. 

My passion has and always will be, to help mothers who are working and have the desire to be home, come home. With this structure of business I am able to do just THAT! 

Let's face it--equal pay for women, specifically mothers is an ongoing issue that needs to be addressed. Whether you're working in a job or you're working your own multilevel marketing level business, I support you! 

If you are involved with a direct selling company that has changed your life, I want to hear about it! 

If you're getting involved and see the potential, I want to hear about it!

Let's support one another in our endeavors!!!

**edited--by posting a photo of my check. I am making no income claim and have attached my companies income disclosure form.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Ripping off the band-aide..

I was about to type out how it "pains me to write this" or "how I am a failure" and maybe add in a "wish I could do it over" but I'm not...I'm not going to type any of that regarding the previous existence of Everyday Baby. I am not in pain. I'm not a failure. I wouldn't do any of it over...

Instead I'll tell you the truth. 

When I gave birth to Ella it changed my life, the traditional work force wasn't for me, and I needed a way out. Everyday Baby was my ticket. I dreamed of a place that I could take my baby to work, empower other mothers, and provide support. I emptied my savings account and got started building a business from the ground up. I was good at it. My previous business experience served me well and I was going steady. Heres what I didn't have experience in, motherhood. I had zero clue how much raising a child was going to take, nor was I prepared for the uphill battle that owning a brick & mortar business was going to be. Fast forward a rigorous year and a half later and I find out that I'm pregnant with my second baby while battling my (newly diagnosed) Ulcerative Colitis, wasn't a very good first trimester. The store suffered, I suffered, and I wasn't happy. My happy place became a prison. A prison that I had created. A place that was supposed to be my ticket to freedom became a major stressor.

I needed a plan...and fast. I had nothing.
I could've hired and I could have modified operation but I felt like I would be doing a disservice to the business because my heart just wasn't in it anymore. After months of prayer I decided to close the brick and mortar and head to the Farmers Market, which I don't know if you've tried to apply to get into a Farmers Market but it's REALLY difficult, at least the market I wanted to get into..I actually had my 3rd meeting with them the DAY Andersen was born, needless to say I had to cancel.

The day that I had Andersen something else birthed from me, I became immune to the feeling of failure regarding EB. I realized the moment that he was born that Everyday Baby was done. That my "Everyday Baby" is my children. That I wanted to devote this time to them and that I wasn't a failure.

Failure is, the state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective, I have succeeded in everything that I set out to accomplish with Everyday Baby-it WAS my ticket out of traditional business and for that I am grateful.

There you have it.
The truth. Painful. Beautiful and all mine.

I will be closing the online portion at the end of this month.

I hope that you still choose to follow me! Just Christian the wife, the mother, blogger, and friend. I will be blogging more and talking about my new life as a SAHM and more about my oil stuff (which is now paying my bills, thankfully or I would've had to go back to work)..

Thank you to all of the people that helped make Everyday Baby what it was! I have met so many wonderful friends and can't thank you enough for your patronage. I will always hold the 'Everyday Baby days' fondly in my heart. You helped make me the Mother that I am today.

A chapter closed, the band-aide has been ripped off Nate. You were right...I do feel better. Love you!