There we were strolling through Sam’s Club. The day was going off without a hitch, which when you have a toddler is few and far between that there aren’t hand grenade’s being thrown at you from all directions. I feel like we were on the upswing of learning the triggers to keep the grenades at bay-
This was the day that our entire life changed. This was the day that path that we were on as parents took a crazy turn down a path that we couldn’t have dreamed of, but we welcomed it with open arms, and tears, fears, and questions, but most of all faith.
Back to our day- strolling along after stopping to smell the flower’s (this is one of the things that we do at every store and if we don’t that’s when a hand grenade get’s thrown and you should take cover) Crisis averted – They smelled great! The display! Huge and perfectly separated Boys shoes – red and black Girl shoes – pink and filled with flowers.
My first instinct was to pick up the red and black shoes. I showed Chandler and asked if he liked them. He said they were nice, but that he liked the pink ones. I quickly told him that the black and red shoes would make him fast. We tried them on and he ran up and down the isle saying they were fast, but pink faster! I then told him they didn’t have his size in the pink ones. :- I’m not proud of this. Then this child being completely aware of himself and who he is. Quickly found the box of pink shoes that matched the box of the red and black shoes. He then said with a smile, “They match” at that point I had to let him try them on and once he did- His face, his body, his everything lit up like the fourth of July. He ran happily in the isle and said, “Look mom Pink faster!” He was so happy. I face timed with Josh. After trying to talk Chandler out of the shoes – We both agreed that we had to get him the shoes. Josh took a black sharpie marker and blacked out a little of the pink. Chandler thought that was cool and everyone was happy.
Strangers, friends, and family all thought it was super cool that Chandler had the pink shoes- People would comment how cute and fun!
As Chandler got older and his interests became more and more “flamboyant” as people would say. (We prefer to just call him our rainbow child) The comments, questions, looks, and other disapproval has become more and more apparent. A 2 year old wanting to wear pink shoes is a little different than a 5 year old wanting to wear sparkly, bright, and colorful everything.
It was on that day that we decided that we would always provide a firm foundation for Chandler! We want all of our kids to always know that we are a safe space for them. We try really hard to make sure that our kids know that are seen, heard, and loved. We have also tried really hard to let each kid be an individual and we don’t compare them. They are different ages, at different stages, have different wants and likes, but the one thing that they have in common is they have a firm foundation.
We had provided a firm foundation for our other children and allowed them to express themselves with different hair do’s, clothing styles, sports, and colors. (The other two hadn’t really stepped so far outside the norm and so that made it a little easier to be super supportive)
It’s a little different when your child likes things outside the “norm”
Chandler from day one has taught us so much about us, him, and the world around us. We are so thankful that we have been open minded to learn from an infant, toddler, and now a child. I say this because from day one he knew what he wanted and needed. People talk about how you have to sleep train your baby, put your baby on a schedule, do not spoil your baby, show them who’s boss… Ect….
I disagree! You can not now or ever spoil a baby by holding them. They are in your uterus for 9 months and all of a sudden brought out into this world where it’s loud, and cold, and confusing, and they just want to be held. This is healthy and normal. Hold your baby. This boy wanted to be held and loved and that’s what he got. He wanted to be breast fed on his terms when he was hungry. Why is that so wrong? Who are you putting the child on a schedule for? You or the child? I think it’s more for you.
At the end of the day your baby will grow and learn. They are curious and want to know the world around them. The issue is when we star forcing them to do things they don’t want to do because we as parents are scared of how others will react if our child isn’t doing what all the other children are doing… SMH
I know it’s hard for you Mama’s with littles to wrap your heads around, but they will grow up fast enough. They don’t need you to push them, stress them out, or introduce everything under the sun to them. They need you to SEE THEM, HEAR THEM, and LOVE THEM. That means don’t force them to wear clothes that you like- allow them to pick out what they want. All them to show you who they are! Allow them to play or not play. Allow them to choose the activity they want to be in. It’s okay if they don’t want to do what you did as a kid. It’s okay if your little girl wants to ride mountain bikes! It’s as equally okay if your little boy wants to do dance! They are who they are!
Imagine a world with adults that aren’t depressed, confused, and feel like they aren’t enough… What a beautiful place that would be! I think we could make it better by showing our kids that they are accepted at earlier ages! Instead of forcing them to live a lie until they are old enough to venture out on there own. It doesn’t matter what you force on them as children they will eventually figure out who they are- wouldn’t it be better if we let them be who they are from the beginning so that they could just sprout into these beautiful humans that are kind and caring.
It’s okay to slow down! Our children are only little once- They will do just fine. They will shine ever so bright give them the chance. This is what I am learning from this child. What are you children trying to show you? What are they trying to tell you? Who are they? Are they trapped because they are nervous to show you who they are? Are they feeling like they don’t have a voice? Is there something you can do to change that? Can we work together to help make this world a better place?
Just because something has always been done a certain way doesn’t make it right I promise that.
I grew up in the Methodist Church- I was a strong active member of my Church from an early age. I learned bible verses, sang songs, read the bible and read the bible some more… I helped in Sunday School and showed up to all events… Something very heartening happened recently- the Church will not allow members of the LGTBQ community to be part of the Church- hmmmm It’s strange because that’s not what the bible I read says we should be doing… We shouldn’t be excluding people, we shouldn’t be labeling people… This my friends is what our country has been based on from the beginning… We have downgraded and cursed those that have been different and it has been more than okay with the majority. We limited people because of the color of skin, we limit people because of the genitals that they were born with, we are persecuting those that are different.
Excuse me if we want to raise our children different- We do not want them to put people into groups, we do not want them to exclude those that are different, we do not want to teach that making fun of those that are different is okay in any way shape or form.
Yes this child has taught us that none of this is okay.
I have heard so many parents / people so many times say – to a new Mom. Oh is he/she a good baby?
This question always baffles me- What does that mean? Good baby? Ummmm – A baby is not bad or good. A baby is just that a baby- a perfect little bean that was gifted to you. A baby is born completely innocent and helpless. It is our job as parents, aunts, uncles, friends, teachers, and passer buyers to help this baby grow and learn.
These little babies will turn into little toddlers, and then children, and then teens- and they will not know how to manage the emotions they are feeling. I know this because most of us adults do not know how to manage our emotions and we either turn into raging lunatics or we self medicate or the fight or flight kicks in and we do one of those things.
Here’s the thing- we have to learn how to teach our children to handle emotions. We have to learn to show them that it is okay to have the feelings they are having. We have to learn to validate those feelings, instead of scolding. Instead of disciplining our children for having the feelings they are having.
So many times people will say to children – “Why are you crying? You have No reason to cry” They will say things like: “Seriously, why are you yelling at me? I’m the one trying to help you?”
They call kids names: “Cry baby, Ball bag, girl, sissy, baby, wimp”
None of these things are true! Just because our kids are kids doesn’t mean they aren’t validated in the feelings they are having. We as adults have moments that we have feelings that we can’t explain. How would it feel if someone told you that you were crazy or didn’t have a reason to be feeling that? First, I am sorry if you are being told that, 2nd I am here to tell you that you are validated! It is not unhealthy to feel!
Take a moment and talk to your child when they are having the melt downs. Bend down and reassure them that they are loved! That you are sorry they are feeling that way, ask what you can do. They will probably fight you, but please do not take it personal. Your toddler / child isn’t trying to hurt you. You are the safest place they know. This means that you get the good pretty stuff with the not so pretty stuff because they trust you. It is your job to show them that you are going to be strong for them. It’s your job to show them that you hear them! You see them! That no matter what they are feeling you will love them.
So many times as parents we take these things personal and that is when the “disciplining” comes into action. When our sweet Chan was 2-4, he would get over stimulated and he would have such big big feelings. He would try and pinch me, pull my hair, yell that he didn’t love me and that I wasn’t his mom. I would always just hug him and tell him that I was sorry that he was feeling that way and I would practice taking deep breaths with him. I would reassure him that I loved him no matter what.
A lot of people would say things like- I had no control or that he needed his ass beat- He needed to be disciplined… He didn’t need to be disciplined! I didn’t need to show him who was boss! I didn’t need to bully him. I needed to try and understand why he was feeling that way? What were the triggers? I learned very quick that I needed to have snacks with us always. I also learned that he didn’t do well when we were in a rush. He got overstimulated if we did more than 3 stops in one day. Naps were imperative. I learned that he struggled with lots of walking and would get super tired really quick. He preferred to be carried. (I know people will tell you and they told me- You are spoiling that baby)
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, you are NOOOOOOTTTTTTTTTTTTTT spoiling your child. You are learning who your child is. You are teaching your child how to handle his or her emotions. You are showing them that you hear them! You see them! You love them!
Now he is 5 and he has learned to take deep breaths. He has learned to express himself with words and he has learned that it is okay for him to feel all the feels. He knows that. He is strong and is very sweet and is in a a very good place for it. Had we done what everyone said- spanked him, showed the 2 year old who was boss, set limits, you know really put our foots down. He would probably be an aggressive 5 year old that hit and said cruel words.
We do not need to show our kids who is boss- We need to show our kids that we see them! We hear them! We love them. They do not need to know you are boss- If we show them all those things we will show them how to respect, how to love, and how to be strong humans. They do not need to fear us, they need to respect us. That fear tactic will only work for a while- There will come a time when they will no longer be afraid of you and they will have no respect for you. Show them from the earliest of ages that they are important and you respect them and they will always respect you.
Vaginal or C-section delivery?
Do you breast or bottle feed?
What kind of diapering system are you using?
Homemade baby food or store bought?
Organic or Not?
Garden to table or fast food?
Pre-school or Not?
Public or Private education?
Home school or Un-School?
Married or Single?
Gay or Straight?
Breath Easy Mama! You are doing okay! Your baby is doing okay! In life we are all dealing with a story. We are all dealing with situations and circumstances that may decide what path you travel down in your parenting journey. This doesn’t make you a better or worse Mommy than the person sitting next to you. This just means that your story sounds a bit different than mine or anyone else’s, but please know that your story is a powerful one! Tell it with grace and understanding towards yourself.
Breath Easy Mama! We all feel scared! We all feel like we aren’t enough! We all feel like we are falling short! We all feel like some days are absolute victories while other days are absolute failures. We all feel like the next Mama has it all together while we are a chicken with our heads cut off. Motherhood is the single hardest most stressful hood you will ever be a part of! It doesn’t matter if you went through child birth or not – Motherhood isn’t how your baby came into the world instead it is the fact that you my friend are putting that child’s needs at the forefront. You are choosing to care for and love that child the best way you know how.
Breathe Easy Mama! we all have to start somewhere. You only need to know this- You were chosen for a reason! God does not now nor has he ever made a mistake! You are enough in this moment to handle motherhood! The only thing that all of our stories should have in common aside from the struggles is growth. Are you growing? Are you allowing yourself to ask for help? Are you allowing yourself to utilize your village- You have one I promise you! God gives us these amazing villages that do not have to share DNA, but instead they share in love and understanding.
Breathe Easy Mama! These early school ages are difficult- There is a lot of pressure- Is your child reading? Is your child writing his or her name? Is your child playing sports? Is your child wearing the right clothes? Is your child sitting still in the chair?
Breathe Easy Mama! Your child is special and unique and will figure things out at his or her own pace! I promise you that if your child isn’t reading at the age of 4 or 5 or 6 or 7 or whatever age everyone else is telling you is the right age your child will be okay! I know this because I have a 15 year old that didn’t read until the later part of 7 and he is a freshman and thriving! He is doing great and even taking some honors classes. Every child learns at his or her own pace. This doesn’t mean that your child isn’t smart enough or good enough. Instead it means that your child is ENOUGH right now!! You are enough right now! Is your child smiling? Are they happy? Are you happy?
The same 7 year old that couldn’t read – was playing golf just under the age of 2, and throwing and catching a baseball at the age of 4, and running for touch downs at this age. I have a 5 year old that has been doing sight words and reading since 4, but can’t hit a golf ball and has no interest in playing baseball or football. Both of these children are special in there own right and neither one is smarter or better than the other it’s just proof that children are different and have different strengths and weaknesses and instead of focusing on the weaknesses that our children have we should start celebrating there strengths.
Breathe Easy Mama- It’s okay if your 3 year old that can clearly dress themselves needs you to dress them. It’s okay that your 6 year old that knows how to tie his or her own shoe doesn’t want to and wants you to do it. It’s okay if your 12 year old wants you to wash his or her hair even though they know how to do it. It’s okay if your 19 year old needs help with laundry even though they know how to do it. No different than it’s okay that you go and get your hair done – even though you know how to do it. It’s okay if you pay someone to clean your house even though you clearly know how to do it. It’s okay for you to have someone pump your gas even though this is something that you clearly know how to do. It’s okay that you pay that grocery service to shop for you even though you know how to do it.
do you understand what I’m saying? Instead of getting frustrated with your children when they ask you to do things for them that they clearly know how to and can do understand that they are just needing you in that moment and there doesn’t always have to be an explanation. Sometimes you just want someone else to do your hair because it just feels good right!! Sometimes it just feels good for your child to know that you still see them! You still see them! Even though they are getting bigger. It’s a transition for everyone in the house. Lower those expectations….
Breath Easy Mama- You are doing a find job- Do not stress about these early stages- You and your children are going to be okay as long as you keep showing them that you see them! Showing them that you here them! Showing them that you love them! The same way that your Heavenly Father is showing us everyday- He sees us! He Hears us! He loves us!
– Breathe Easy Mama –
Sometimes there are moments that just fill a persons heart with such happy feelings, but then quickly turns to feelings of confusion looking for clarity.
The day started off like most- the boys were off to get the day started. Josh heading to work and Jacob heading to school. Chan sleeping like a sweet baby lamb- there I was workout clothes on, but finding everything I could do to not start my workout until finally I had too! It’s a super hard program and sometimes I need to talk myself into it. Half way through- here comes Chan down the stairs- I pause the workout and welcome the little break to greet him with a hug and a smile and a yummy cup of cocoa. Then back at it huffing and puffing my way through…
Friday’s are fun days for us Gymnastics! Then a lunch date usually with Dad, but today we had a lunch date with Tammy in the food court at the mall. We had a few minutes to spare before lunch and thought it best to do a little shopping.
Children’s Place is our go to- As you enter the doorway Children’s Place is split into 2 clear sections – Boy’s to the right and Girl’s to the right. We enter and stand there for a few seconds and Chandler’s eyes found them- The most sparkly, bright colored, fabulous shoes he’s ever seen. This prompted him to quickly take off his hate and jacket. He tells me he needs to really focus and takes off his sweat shirt and extra pair of pants. (We had to dress super warm it was cold). I stand there patiently holding all of his extra pieces of clothes. He get’s up and asks if I can fix his hair pins. (He’s been a fan of sparkly barrettes for about a week) Once he felt like everything was in place he says with absolute certainty “Now I can focus”. He went from rack to rack smiling from ear to ear and excited about all the options- He got even more exited when he found shirts that he already had reminding me that we didn’t need to buy those again because he already had them. He know’s that his size is -S- he was a little bummed that a few of the shirts weren’t in his size. Then we ventured over to the huge table of t-shirts. His eyes found the one- It was a white long sleeve shirt that said, “Birthday girl” in the brightest of rainbow colors. He held the shirt up to his chest and read it out loud and was certain that he had found the shirt of his dreams.
Understand that the next little bit is happening in my head and not verbalized to Chandler. Here’s where the questions for me come in… Chandler knows that he is a boy and like’s being a boy from what he says, and he get’s his feelings hurt when people call him a girl, but at the same time he wants to wear a shirt that says, “Birthday girl” By this time he’s tugging at my hand-
Yeah buddy? Ooh Mom did you see this one? By this time he has about 5 shirts that he is in love with and says well, I am ready to go… Oh bud you have to choose 2 shirts to actually bring home we can’t get all 5. Then he narrows it down to 3- the longs sleeve shirt and 2 short sleeve shirts, then I explain to him that he can get both short sleeve shirts or the long sleeve shirt because the cost is more than the 2 short sleeve shirts. I then explain that if he likes the “Birthday girl” shirt that I can make him a birthday boy shirt in bright rainbow colors for his birthday if he wanted- His quick response: No, Mom I like this one. Okay then what are you deciding to get today. Oh this is a tough tough decision I mean Mom they are all so great, but I think I’m going to have to go with these 2 and come back and get this one when it’s closer to my birthday.
Sweet! Let’s go check out. He heckled it up with the cashier and off to lunch we went. The lunch was pretty fabulous Chandler is super fun to have a lunch date with.
On the way home- He closed his eyes for a quick 20 minute rest (His words)
Meanwhile my mind was racing and playing back some conversations that Chandler has had with us- a few weeks ago I was changing out of my workout clothes and he came in and was like, “I see your penis Mom! Laughing a big big belly laugh!” I respond with Chandler- Mom doesn’t have a penis so you can’t see my penis. Now, I am sure this would have been the perfect time to sit him down and have a conversation about it, but it was happening fast and that didn’t happen we all moved on as if it never happened. About a month ago he was on a kick of marriage and how he just didn’t know who he was going to marry- We assured him that he could marry whom ever he wanted, but that he had a long long time to decide that. He went through a list of names of his little friends- He could marry George from school, but that would be hard because he wasn’t sure where he lived. He could marry Alexis from school, but she had a mad face on a lot of the time and he didn’t think he wanted his partner to be mad. He talked about a couple of other little boys and how they were good friends, but he wasn’t sure- then he brought up his best little friend Kensley and he said they could get married, but then he didn’t want his friend CC to get sad if he didn’t marry her, then what about Evey she was pretty great. Oh mom this is just such a hard decision- I’m gonna have to really think about it.
As I sat there quietly listening he asked Mom right any one can get married- Yes buddy as long as you love that person you can get married. Boys can marry boys- boys can marry girls – girls can marry girls- He says that’s great mom…
A couple weeks later he was talking about being a Mom and Dad and asked what the difference was and I asked him what he thought and he said, “I think they are the same- I responded: Mom’s and Dad’s just love there children buddy. Some people have 2 Mommy’s and some have 2 Daddy’s. Some have only one Mommy and no Daddy and some have only one Daddy and no Mommy, and some kids live with there grandparents or maybe aunts and uncles. That’s because all families are different.
As these conversations were happening it never hit me until yesterday, but I wonder if in his little mind that he thinks that boys and girls are the same – meaning he doesn’t really know what the difference is? Part of me wonders if he is confused himself and isn’t sure that he is a boy –
We decided that rather than having a conversation about it we are going to let him lead the way- From now on when someone calls him a girl we are going to smile and nod and let him decide if he wants to correct those around us or not. We are going to try really hard not use boy terms with him over the next week or so and see where it leads.
As confusing as this all is – I have to say that I love that he is oblivious and maybe thinks that everything is the same and that everyone can do what everyone does. How beautiful to just see life and happy and feel like you can do anything without restrictions. At the same time – Does he feel sad when people call him a girl because he thinks I get sad? Am I projecting my thoughts, fears, and frustrations where he can feel it and see it? I know that I try so hard to stay very neutral with everything and try not to talk about any of it in front of him. Maybe just maybe though I am and that is why he get’s upset? I don’t know.
I read an article this morning that talked about a woman as a child that she felt like she was a boy and she had no real understanding of what that even meant- she just knew that she liked “tom boy” clothes and everyone told her how strong she was and brave for standing up- she never understood any of it- she just felt like cool – they like my outfits, then puberty hit and it was like WOAH I am a girl and girls have this awful thing that happens to them and she transitioned just fine into womanhood if you will- Now she has her own 4 kids – 2 girls and 2 boys- One of the boys is total boy and one is total girl- same with the girls.
This article makes me feel a little less alone in that there are kids like Chandler they just aren’t all over – especially not in this little town of Columbia City-
As a Mom I am trying to shower our kids with love and acceptance for who they are and not who I or anyone else thinks they should be- We shall see how this week unfolds using completely gender neutral terms. 🙂
Thank you for indulging in my thoughts for a moment – if you have any advice for words of encouragement eel free to drop a comment below
Last night was filled with eye opening elevated conversation – In small terms “argument” Contrary to most peoples beliefs I think disagreements / arguments / conversations are healthy. They are healthy because they are a way of expressing oneself and when doing this with your partner you should be able to be raw – You should be able to be seen and heard- Be vulnerable.
The conversation was a simple disagreement, but during that little disagreement other stuff came up. For me it kind of opened my eyes as to why I do what I do-
Growing up my parents were busy- They had a lot going on. They had 7 children between them and I think somewhere in the 20-30 grand kid / great grand kid mark. Plus it was just a different time. I remember being told “what do you have to be stressed about” you are a kid. I also remember those feelings being big and feeling important. I remember most people making a joke about me being a cheerleader, and that feeling not great. The biggest for me was after my Dad died and everyone kind of hid stuff from me- No one told me that he was sick until it was apparent. Everyone kept saying that I was too young. Yes, I was young, but I wish that I would have treated like I could handle it or be given the opportunity to handle it. I remember showing up for a softball try out as a sophomore and the coach thanking us for coming to cheer them on.
This means that a lot of life I felt like I wasn’t being taken serious-
After Jacob was born I was clueless as to what I was doing and felt like I knew nothing, but I always wanted him to know that I take him serious. I hear him! I see him! At the age of 2 he loved to wear my heels around the apartment – They made awesome noises why wouldn’t he want to wear them. He wanted a baby doll at the age of 3, and why wouldn’t he baby dolls are fun to hold and do life with. He would take it to the park swing it, take it to the pool and swim with it. (No it wasn’t plastic) After the 3 week long journey with the baby doll it looked as if we found it in a dumpster. (immunity building) At the age of 4 he decided he didn’t want to call me Mom anymore. He wanted to call me Chrissy- why wouldn’t he? EVERY ONE else in the world calls me Chrissy. Why would I be offended about that and not let him try it out. After about a month or so one night during story time he asked if he could go back to calling me Mom. This is also the age that he requested that he be called Flash because Flash is the coolest name and of coarse you can be called Flash- I called his kindergarten teacher and explained to her that he wanted to be called Flash and that he learned how to write it and that from this point on his name would be Flash. She wasn’t thrilled with it but she allowed it. After about 2 months- He came home and said he wanted to be Jacob again.
When he was little we used to do a talking circle- This was about 3-5 minutes that we would sit and chat and he could tell me anything he wanted without getting in trouble. Sometimes he would say things like, “Mom, I really didn’t like what you cooked or Mom, the shirt that you bought me wasn’t great.” I would just respond with okay. Thank you for telling me. I tried so hard to not use my emotions and let him have his feels. The most memorable was when we were driving- he asked if he could have a talking circle- He was just starting 2nd grade and he said Mom, I don’t think you can come have lunch with me anymore because I’m big. This one was hard- I just said okay and asked if there was anything else. He said nope. I quickly turned the radio up while tears rolled down my face because it made me so sad. I didn’t allow him to see that sadness because I am in charge of my emotions and it’s not fair for a 7 year old to have to deal with my adult emotions. Plus I wanted him to feel like he could express himself without fear of hurting my feelings.
As time went on there were other things here and there: hairstyles, ear piercings, activities, interests, likes and dislikes. At the age of 8 he wanted to change his name to Hunter- We allowed him to go by Hunter for a little bit explaining that in 6 months if he was serious about the change we could legally change his name. As of now he’s still Jacob because it only lasted about 6 weeks…. Who am I to decide what his name should be. He’s the one that has to live with it for his whole life.
There are times when our kids have these huge emotions and they don’t know how to handle them- for instance when Chandler was age 2-3 Everyone says terrible two’s – I disagree… This age is hard because they have big big feelings and little tiny vocabulary. Chandler would pinch me, hit me, pull my hair. I would take lots of deep breaths and I sounded like a broken record. I would hold him so tight – Chandler, I am so sorry that you are feeling so sad and I am so sorry that you are feeling so frustrated. I would repeat over and over again for him to take breaths and I would show him. He would say You’re not my mom! I don’t like you! Most people would say something along the lines:
I’m you Mom and you are not going to talk to me like that or stop being disrespectful or some other for of having expectations that are not clear for a 2-3 year old. The truth is that Chandler was never trying to physically hurt me. I wasn’t trying to emotionally hurt me. It had nothing to do with me. Sometimes he was crazy tired, sometimes he was hungry, sometimes he was over stimulated, sometimes he just needed his Mama to hold him and love him. During this span of time it was hard and emotional and I would spend evenings just crying because I was emotionally drained. I tried my hardest to stay calm and I reminded myself “this too shall pass” I just think sometimes we need a reminder that these little’s have big big emotions and they just need you to show them how to channel it. They lash out at you because they have a safe feeling with you. It’s an opportunity to show them that no matter how big those emotions they are feeling are that you are bigger! You will take it! You will hear them! You will see them! You will show them that the feelings they have are valid.
Why am I bringing all of this up?
I’m bringing it up because a lot of parents struggle letting our kids explore different things and ideas. Parent’s struggle when our toddler acts out over something trivial… We will say things like why are they yelling at me or hurting me when I was the one trying to help… Understand that it has nothing to do with you. They are feeling hurt, tired, confused, hungry, they might be feeling overstimulated and they are doing what they can.
We as adults have days that our emotions are just off the hook and we can’t explain them. We just know that we are on edge for no apparent reason… Our little tiny tykes have these same feelings and they don’t have the words. Be compassionate with your little’s show them : You see them! You hear them! You love them! As they get older this will come into play.
Kids just want to be heard- They want to be seen – They want to be taken seriously. We have to understand that just because we have “adult stresses, adult communications, adult brains we shouldn’t put those expectations on our little’s. They are still learning.
From birth to 5 is such a big big time. It’s during this time you have to decide what you are showing them. Are you showing them that you see them? Are you showing them that you hear them? Are you showing them that they can trust you with the emotions they are feeling? Are you showing them that they can talk to you freely without being put down or disregarded? If you show them that you do not take them serious at these early ages they will not come to you as they get older because they won’t feel like they can without judgement.
Parenting is hard!! Ahhhhh it is sooo hard! None of us will do it perfect – We will all make mistakes and really just mess things up… My only goals as a Mom is to always show my kids that I see them! I hear them! They are loved! I think making a conscious effort to use these three things in everything that you do with your children makes all the difference. Everything else will fall into place!
We are in this parenting thing together! Next time you see a tired parent at the grocery offer a smile or a helping hand. Be part of the solution and not the problem. Do not cast your judgmental stares at the Mom losing her shit! Do not cast your mean looks at the Mom who’s kid is wearing a costume that looks like it hasn’t been washed in a year! Do not offer your opinion on whether or not that Mom is breastfeeding or bottle feeding… Do not cast your opinion on whether or not that’s Mom’s kids are throwing ginormous fits in the middle of the store.
Understand that in these situations we as Mom’s and Dad’s we are feeling all the feels and we are just choosing our battles and we are just doing what we can. What you can offer is a helping hand and smile and maybe even a few words: Your doing okay. This too shall pass! You got it Mama!
Let’s build each other up. Let’s help each other! Let’s offer help!
Yesterday was a day that I felt invisible – like no one could see me! Yesterday was a day I felt ignored – like no one could hear me! Yesterday was a day I felt like a shadow – no one could touch me. If you have ever felt like you weren’t seen, heard, or felt – Then you know it hurts. It hurts physically, mentally, and emotionally.
It’s this feeling I am on a mission to get rid of- It’s this feeling that no one should ever have to feel. The truth is that if you are “different” or you do things that are different that what most people around you are doing – this is how you will be treated. You will be treated as an after thought. You will be questioned and made to feel like something is wrong with you.
I am here to first tell you that NOTHING is wrong with you! Just because you see things, do things, and feel things different than those around you doesn’t mean you are broken. It stead it means you were created to spark change! You were created for a reason! You were created for a higher calling! I promise you are not alone!
Now that you know you are seen, heard, and felt – I will explain our story-
The day started off running to Jacob’s school to drop off lunch money, we have been in this office oh about 20 times since the beginning of the year. Each time we go in the office ladies are very sweet and always greet us with a smile and each time they tell Chandler what a beautiful little “girl she is”. Each time I correct with a smile and say oh this is Chandler and he is pretty cute. They then chat with him and ask him about Jacob- They always remember that he is Jacob’s sister- The biggest problem I have is that when we walk in they know that we are Jacob’s family.
Then we decided to do school at the library- The library is a place we frequent about 2 times a week and have for about 7 months or so. We spend anywhere from 1 – 2 hours each time we are there. We spend time looking at books and almost always get help from the same 2 librarians. I have told them Chandler’s name about 25 times- and explained that he is a boy. They still call him a girl, the problem is that we are what is considered regulars and I’m gonna go on a limb and say that they don’t see kids like Chandler ever- this would make him stick out like a sore thumb and be a little more memorable. While we were at the library a girl that used to do a mom’s group with us came with her children, she has 3 boys, oh and we go to the same Church. I was checking out our books and Chan has asked the little boy to play- The Mom proceeded to come and get her son and say let’s go this way. Looked at me as if I didn’t exist and walked away.
I would give her a pass as if maybe she didn’t recognize me, but this is the same girl that recognized me by name after not seeing me for 3 years. She commented how old was my daughter and I said oh this is Chan our 5 year old son. She was quick to point to Chandler and say oh well, I couldn’t tell that he was a boy. The conversation ended with her saying they had to go and from that day on she looks right through me and my child.
After leaving the library we headed to the grocery – we were greeted by a smiling face that commented how beautiful my little girl was and that she was the most beautiful little girl she had ever seen. I said thank you, we think he’s pretty cute. His name is Chandler and he’s 5. She said, Oh I didn’t know and gave a disapproving look. We ventured through the store and were met by another person that commented how beautiful my daughter was and by this time I just said thank you, then Chandler just smiled and said that’s okay Mom.
As they walked away – He said Mom why do people always call me a girl. My clothes are just clothes. I know sweet child and it’s not your fault. Some people are just not educated and that’s okay. All that matters is that you feel good – Do you feel good wearing what you are wearing? Yesssss MOM!! My outfit is AMAZING!
I’m okay with feeling completely unseen, unheard, and unfelt, because I am an adult and I do not need approval from the world around me. What I do need is for adults to be a little more compassionate towards and child and his or her feelings. I need to spread awareness that the words you say, the looks you give, and the way you physically touch people affects them, especially children.
Do you know that suicide rates for children in the lgtbq community are 3 times higher than a heterosexual child- Did you know that 50 percent of trans males commit suicide-
As of right now Chan is just a child that loves pink and purple things, clothes, and rainbow everything else, but as he get’s older people are getting more judgmental. We provide a firm foundation of total acceptance here at home and studies have shown that does help lower the percentages of suicide, but how sad is it that we live in a world that people believe they are holier than though and find it okay to hurt children with words. How sad is it that in one sentence people go from thinking that our “daughter is the most beautiful little girl to looks of complete disapproval”.
I am on a mission to educate and promote acceptance of children and people that are different and make that okay and more than that make it the norm.
“How do I make this decision? They are both so great! How much are they?” – Chandler asks
Well, buddy they are 3 -dollars
“Well, that’s not very much, I can just get them both.”
hmmmm, I will compromise- you can get both if you give me 2 dollars when we get home.
“Yes, I want them both- Chandler gasps out
Okay then are you sure this is what you want to spend your hard earned money on, these pants?
Yes, they are perfect! Sparkly, bright, and perfect!
Is this not the typical conversation that you have with your 5 year old son? This is our typical conversation- Chandler loves a good lunch date, dinner date, and his favorite is when we can have a “family date at a restaurant of his choice.” He is getting more adventurous with his food choices- Bob Evans is pretty high on the list I mean who can resist a good pig faced set of pancakes. Subway is a new found interest. He is just amazed at how fresh the smell is and how the sun just shines so bright in on the tables. It’s a real refreshing place to eat (his words). Then there’s Mcdonalds- if pony’s are an option he is sure to ask for the pony toy, (yes, we get looks of disapproval, but seriously why do people care). I am on a new mission to educate Mc Donalds and other fast food places to stop asking – “boy or girl” and instead saying we have and say the toy options. Let’s face it there are little girls in the world that want to play with Monster trucks and there are certainly little boys that want to play with cutie cars.” CHANGE MINDSET
As Chandler is getting older and the kids around him are getting older- wheeew my fears are setting in. I often times feel alone- like no other Mom is going through what I am going through- I have the world’s best husband that is so supportive and I am thankful everyday that God brought us together because doing life with him and these kids – Talk about blessed!
However, as a Mom, I do not feel like I have anyone in my life that really understand’s a Mother’s fears more specifically my fears!
I fear that as his little girlfriends that he loves and adores start to get older and spend more time in school, they will start to notice that he is different and what will happen then? When we get invited to a birthday party or really any gathering… in my head I go through possible people in attendance, once I have gathered a tentative guest list, then starts the conversations in my head and how they will go – these do not bother me so much… The hard part is new kids and how they are going to react to Chandler at first. Will they be little him and tell him that his clothes are for girls- because this is what they have heard at home.
Something as simple as going to Church- This is one that makes me physically, mentally, and emotionally ill-
When we walk in the door~ we get looks and people are still calling Chandler a girl mind you we have been going to this Church now for over 7 months-
A couple of weeks ago Chandler went to “Church school” as he calls it- I check him a couple of times during the service because I want to make sure that the kids are being sweet to him and I also want to make sure that the adults in the situation are allowing him to be him without words that aren’t necessary. Pastor Mikes wife watched as I walked in the room 2 times and bless her heart she came up and asked if everything was okay after service and I explained my fears- she ensured me that her and her husband have talked about Chandler and that they have been keeping an eye out.
Just so we are clear this is hard! Last week we went and he was anxious to go to Church school and we let him… about 10 minutes in I had to go to the bathroom sick to my stomach. Because as sweet as it is that they are looking out for him it doesn’t change that this is sad, maddening and completely uncalled for. This sweet child is 5!!! At the age of 5 there are people that have to look after him in a church- a place where people claim to be Christian! A place where people claim to be accepting and understanding and every other ‘ing you can think of!! In this place I as a Mom do not feel great. Where then do you ask can I or we feel great and completely okay- Well, only because you asked. There isn’t a place outside of our home that we can just relax and know that we can breath without feeling like the oxygen in the air is thin.
There is a girl at our Church that recognized me after not seeing me for 3 years- she came up to me knew my name asked how we were and made small talk- she then asked how old our “daughter” was… WE smiled politely and said oh our son Chandler is 5. The conversation ended quickly and from that day on she completely dismisses us as if we do not exist. Now, please understand I do not need to be her friend, but let’s be honest why is she completely dismissing me as if she doesn’t know who I am when she is the one that approached me after a 3 year hiatus…
I am not bringing light to thing because we want attention, but rather so that maybe you can read this with a little compassion.
Maybe start using different words in your house- Change the phrase “that’s for girls” or “that’s for boys”
Instead- understand that colors are just that colors- clothes really aren’t for boys and girls- clothes are just clothes. Where in the history of ever does it say that because you are a girl you have to like sparkly, frilly, bright colored things…. News flash a lot of girls like darker colors- Why because you have a penis do you have to like sports, trucks, and collared shirts… WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT
Please tell me I am not the only one that feels this way!!
Take a step back and know that just because you force your kids to wear “matching – gender – appropriate” clothes by society standards… I have news that doesn’t mean that they will always like that. They will eventually become there own person and what a shame they had to wait until they were in there 20’s to express themselves. How sad for your child that they had to live a lie for 20 years of there life.
Do you realize that your child isn’t a way for you to relive your glory days???? Do you understand that your child is his or her own person! They do not have to like what you like! They do not have to do what you do! Allow them to be themselves!
If you don’t want to do that – cool! At least allow other children to express themselves without your harsh judgement’s!
Last week we went to the movies and followed that with a later than normal trip to Walmart. We initially thought this will be fun for people watching. People watching is fun…
As soon as we entered there were a couple of people that I instantly thought “People of Walmart” because at first I thought what in the heck are these people wearing and why did they leave the house looking like that.
To my defense as if I need one this is something that we all chat and laugh about and it has never crossed my mind that it was not nor should it be funny or talked about.
As we were leaving the store though Chan was walking in front of me with his eccentric loud style and it hit me!
Number 1 I am a mean mean person, but more than that I can change and should change in this moment:
I preach constantly that we should all feel good in our own skin and we should all be allowed to dress in a way that we feel good. For instance when Chandler dresses I don’t have to agree with the outfit and nether does anyone else, but we can all agree that the smile on his face says, “I look like a million bucks” and I want to be treated that way. If this is what I believe and preach then why am I judging these people on there clothing choices when in reality I should be celebrating them because what a beautiful thing: to dress and act the way that you want without fear of judgement or social norms. I mean kuddos to you all that choose to dress loud and proud!
I love that as life continues I am able to step outside myself more and more and have a more compassionate heart. I am completely embarrassed of my close minded self that I was, but I am proud of the fact that I can stand up and say, “I was wrong and I wanna be better.”
I am learning as time passes that it’s more than okay to be you all the time! We do not now nor should we ever have to put on a front. It’s like going to Church- I was always taught to dress appropriately, but in all honestly what does that even mean? Is God checking my outfit as I walk in the door, “damn girl – nope not today”
Understand that Loud and Proud isn’t half naked- you should still understand that you are beautiful without showing everything. That is just having self respect
We rang in the New Year with friends and family!
Followed by moments! Moments that took my breath away. Moments that I am thankful we were blessed to experience.
We started the year off with birthday shenanigans for Jacob ~ 14 and Josh ~ 39! We did small celebrations with friends and family showing love and excitement for them. #birthdaytime
Throughout the year we had some big bucket list moments- March was huge- We got to road trip to Chicago and see Pink in concert! This was something that has been on my list for some time! I always felt like we would get to see her, but it would be years from then. Like a come back tour in 30 years or something crazy. My awesome husband surprised me with tickets for us! The best part was we got to have our first over night without kids in a little over 5 years! Getting to see Pink in concert and spend the night with my husband with no distractions! #winning
June was another big month for us: Our daughter graduated high school! Our son graduated middle school!
Our sweet toddler became a big 5 year old!! We celebrated sweet Chan with a 5 year old sized birthday party- Friends, Family, pink and purple everything, along with a rainbow pinata! “It was a dream” Chan’s words.
Watching these kids grow and change is something special! 🙂 Experiencing life with them is always an adventure no matter where we are!
We purchased our home in June- This is our 3rd family home 🙂 June brought on some fun travels as well~ We visited St. Louis – Grants farm was pretty amazing! What a beautiful place! Who can go to St. Louis and not visit the Anheuser-Bush Brewery! That was incredible to see how it all works and hear the history of it all! The Clydesdale horses!! Ahhh they were magnificent! Treated like royalty! Talk about living the life! #royalty
June – August were filled with birthday parties, sun shine, bonfires, park visits, ice cream shops and festival fun! Lake days, paddle boarding, days at the baseball field, and outside goodness. This couple of months also boasted a day trip to the Dunes and along with a day trip to Winamac.
I finally legally changed my name in July! Only 8 months after getting married! We officially became the “Hise-Johnson Family”
We decided to end our summer adventuring with a trip to Niagara Falls. This was such an epic experience! We boarded the Maiden of Mist and felt the falls first hand, the feels were absolutely all over the place! This was a huge bucket list check, and more than that being able to take our kids and see the looks on there faces as the falls came crashing down- priceless! We then ventured over to Goat Island and took in all the sights. We went on the perfect day because they had family game time along the street. There was life sized checkers, connect 4, sidewalk chalk, a petting zoo. Unexpected free awesomeness!! We ended the trip with a visit to the mall.
August and September was filled with it’s own set of experiences- We started off with play dates with friends and family, fun times on the lake with our paddle boards, we celebrated a couple of weddings and moments with our friends and family. We were fortunate to spend some time with Uncle Nate in Chicago! This was a cool adventure for our kids because we visited a beach filled with gay friendly beach. I love being able to introduce our kids to everything because I am a firm believer the more you introduce to your children the more accepting they will be.
We moved into Freshman football for Jacob- Talk about awesome watching our child do something he loves and excel at it!
Chandler and I tacked home school and we are loving it! This brought on some really exciting stuff- it prompted me to work on a few books- I published a couple of All about me books that we use as our base for home schooling, and a couple of bible verse books that allow for daily devotions for children. #accomplishments
I was fortunate to celebrate my 35th birthday with a great group of friends and family! Such perfect memories! Find your village and hold on to it!
The end of September we boarded a plane in Indianapolis and ventured to Cape Coral to spend time with our Florida friends and visit our “stomping grounds” we visited some really cool pet stores (Chandlers favorite activity) we explored a new beach- Delnor Wiggins State Park- it was pretty amazing! We ventured to the Octegan Animal sanctuary and saw an array of different animals. More importantly we spent some great quality time with some wonderful friends. We also took in the Florida sunshine!
October and November brought on the end of football, but the beginning of Halloween fun! Pumpkin patches, pumpkin carving and painting, family dinners, and of coarse the choosing of the costume. We did DIY projects to our house, and put away our summer stuff 🙁 These 2 months did bring on some pretty fun home school adventures. Science Central, The Botanical Gardens, and the library became our go to’s. Gymnastics was on that list as well- This is actually the favorite. Play dates, lunch dates, hikes, and treasure hunts, we celebrated some birthdays and fun times with friends and family. Josh and I ran the Veterans 5k- we didn’t smash any records, but we did it together and it was awesome. Jacob broke his thumb and had to have a cast. He was still able to finish up football like a champ!
Thanksgiving was spent in Chicago! 4 days of fun! We saw an awesome Thanksgiving parade, ate at The Rain Forest Cafe, spent an afternoon at the Bean, found the best park of our lives- Maggie Dailey Park, a trip to The Lego store, Navy Pier, and we went to the Amazon Go Store! That was pretty amazing! I have been wanting to visit the Amazon Go store since it opened a couple years ago in Seattle- Thankfully they opened one up in Chicago. we then ended our trip with Giadarnos- Josh, Jacob, and Chan’s first time 🙂 Oh and Josh and I ran a couple of miles in Chicago! This was a first for both of us. 🙂
We celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary while in Chicago! One year of officially being married to my best friend! My partner in life! Yessssss!!
After Chicago excitement it was cookie making and decorating a long with family fun! #makingmemories
As the end of November approached it was time! Elisa was in labor and sweet Baby Camilla was going to make her entrance! She sure did too! This was beyond special- Elisa has always been and will always be like a daughter to me- Watching her grow and being a part of her life from the beginning from teaching her to write her name, tie her shoes, cheers from the time she could walk, driving her to and from school…. Watching her give birth in such a way! She was so brave! So strong! I was completely humbled by her ability to power through! This was a moment that for sure took my breath away and I will forever be grateful that I was able to be a part of something so amazing!
December- had it’s own set of awesome attached with it. It marked the end of the semester for school! Jacob finished with flying colors and it has been so much fun watching Chandler love learning!
Josh officially adopted Jacob- Talk about the best Christmas present- What a monumental moment for our family! We followed it up with a celebration dinner surrounded by our closest family and friends.
Then brought on our vacation filled with bucket list checks, heart happy moments, and just complete and utter awesome! We started our trip spending one night on Daytona Beach- Josh and I ran 2 miles on the beach. We spent time playing on the beach, soaking in the hot tub, and just relaxing! From there we headed over to Cocoa Beach and topped that off with a visit to a Ron Jon surf shop! Then we were off to Ft. Lauderdale- Here we spent 4 days soaking up the beach, taking in the sights, and relaxing. During this 4 day stint we took a day trip to Key West! Wow! What beauty! I can’t believe during our stint of living in Florida we never ventured to Key West- it was so sweet! White there we visited the lowest point in the United States! We ate an an awesome restaurant and left a signed dollar bill 🙂 “All the cool kids were doing it” Then it was time for the Christmas surprise!!! A day trip to Bimini, Bahamas! The Ferry ride was a little rough on the way there, but we all handled it like champs- Once on the island we rented a golf cart- went to a local beach right quick and got our snorkel on! Seeing water like that felt like a dream! It was absolutely insane to be able to see all the way down to the bottom- During the day we bounced around the island, chatted with the locals, did some shopping, eating, and playing on the beaches! What a perfect surprise for our kids!
Then it was to Cape Coral we go! Cape Coral just feels like home. It’s a bitter sweet visit each time because it’s so hard to leave. We just have a comfort level here, but the visit- AMAZING! Spending time with our Cape friends is the best! The kids all pick up where they left off and it’s the sweetest! We at the Boathouse- one of our favs! We spent time doing a little shopping and napping, and more time trying to convince my family that we need to make the move- 🙂
This year has been one for the books on exploring new places, but also one in the books for just trying new things period- For me personally publishing 4 children’s work books wasn’t something that was ever on my radar, but wheeew I am so proud of these books- they have been the base around our home school journey and it’s been so sweet watching Chandler love learning!
For Jacob- This kid has stepped outside his comfort and gone out for volleyball. He has pushed himself and worked really hard at sports and school. It’s been really awesome to be able to watch him as he is growing into this sweet young man!
Josh- started his new job, which he’s not in love with, but it has prompted him to work really hard on some new products-
Ashley= She is still trying to decide where she wants her path to go, but for now she is just working and trying to navigate her way through life.
Chandler- is a daily adventure- He is reading, doing double digit math, loves his bible verse book, and is nailing his sight words- He is dancing his way through life and we are so excited to have front row seats.
This year has brought on some challenges for our family as well- Anyone who knows us knows that our sweet Chandler is what is referred to as “gender nonconforming” or as we like to call him our “Rainbow child.” Wheew it’s been something watching people with there dirty looks, mean comments, the worst has been people distancing themselves from us because of it. At first it made me really sad now I just feel empowered, because I know that small minded people exist, but more than that I know that there is a whole world of open minded awesome people and we will surround him with that! We will make sure each of our children know that they are allowed to be who they are and not who society thinks they should be.
We were contacted by “The Daily Mail” in the UK and they did a story featuring our family- Talk about really awesome! It was something to be contacted and asked about our parenting philosophy. I love getting our story out because especially in the mid west it’s just not something that is common and really it’s hard for people to wrap there heads around it.
Here’s the link- copy and paste it.
We are very blessed with our village of awesome people that have completely accepted us and wrapped there loving arms around us it’s a beautiful thing! We are so very grateful for those individuals!
2018- We Experienced moments that took our breath away! We Embraced people! We Enjoyed each day! We have felt secure in who we are and are continuing to stand strong on our firm foundation!
As 2019 approaches I am excited for the adventures, I am excited to put myself in uncomfortable situations and try new things!
Have you ever woke up and felt like you didn’t belong? Have you ever felt like you can’t find a place that you feel absolutely at home? Have you ever felt at home in a place and then left and came back and felt completely lost?
This is my life- I have been struggling finding my place. After moving away and feeling like I was missing “home” or my idea of home, and coming back home and realizing this home isn’t anything like I remember it to be. Then the question in lies where is my place? How can I find my place?
The last few weeks I have struggled with these questions- but the truth is the only area that I feel absolutely at home is when I am with my kids and my husband. There isn’t an actual place that I feel at home. The houses change, the states, the vacations, and the only thing that holds true is that when I am with my family I feel completely at home. Hearing them laugh, watching them explore, feeling there embraces, and just being with them. My favorite thing to do is show my kids new places and meet new people.
I have been struggling lately at feeling like maybe I am more than a “Stay at home mom.” Ahhhhhh what does that even mean? I catch myself saying I am more than a stay at home mom, and it sounds truer than true. The reality is that I am thankful that we as a family have made the choice to be home. I am thankful that we don’t have to worry about where our kids are going to go, I am thankful that I get to experience them on a daily basis. I love that I get to experience this learning journey with our five year old, I love that our teenager gets to come home to a house that isn’t empty. I am thankful.
The reality is that our jobs do not define us! They are just that jobs in whatever capacity that job is however important or non important you feel at your job. At the end of the day it doesn’t define who you are. In the same manner that being a stay at home mom doesn’t define me. We are all people outside of our “job titles”
Do not let your job define you and make you feel less than- Do not allow yourself to get lost in the day to day. Find something that interests you and go after it. Figure out a way to make that a part of your life. Understand that there isn’t really a right or wrong way to do life. I know that what works in our house doesn’t have to work in your house and vice versa. Find something that works for your family and go with it.