I wanted a girl.
When I was in the first trimester of my pregnancy with Lucas, I was certain that I was having a girl. My husband was certain. Our friends were certain. My more intuitive friends would say, "Oh, that's definitely girl energy!" It may have been my overwhelming confidence in this assumption that swayed everyone else's hypothesis, but nonetheless, it was a shock to everyone, it seemed, to find out I was pregnant with a boy.
I actually cried on the ultrasound table when the technician pointed out my baby girl's penis. It's not that I didn't want a boy; I just hadn't ever, ever, ever, considered the possibility that I would become a mother to a boy. Truly! Isn't that kind of crazy? My daydreams of motherhood just so happened to always involve snuggling a teensy baby girl, decorating a little girl's bedroom, and attending mother-daughter teas in matching frocks. That last example alone was a pretty good reason for this potential daughter to pass me up and let Lucas take this gig instead.
It took a while for this discovery to sink in. I knew there was a 50/50 chance of this happening, but it still just didn't compute. I found myself wondering if perhaps I'd sensed he was a girl because maybe he had really feminine energy. Maybe he would be gay. I was cool with that. It was far preferable to me than a muscle-headed jock.
[Aside: I know this all sounds, well … not very enlightened. We're supposed to just want a healthy baby, right? And we're supposed to suspend all of our expectations so we can see our children clearly for who they are and who they are meant to grow into without imposing our unmet desires on them. Yeah. Well … I know all that, but this was my truth at the time. I may as well admit it. Thank goodness I've grown just a bit since then.]
The fact of the matter was that my petite and delicate baby girl turned out to be a 95th percentile chub of a distinctly male, toy-bashing, truck-loving, non-snuggling baby boy. Oy!
How's that for making sure my expectations were duly shattered? This was a gift, of course. He forced me to take notice of who he was. He forced me to take off the mommy glasses that held the vision of motherhood I'd been polishing my entire life, and be here now in this reality with him. He forced me to pay close attention, and wonder, and think outside of the box. Through all of this, he taught me to be the mother I am today.
I am madly in love with my amazing little boy, (if you haven't guessed it from this blog) and I can't imagine him being anyone other than who he is. I also don't imagine my spiritual journey unfolding in quite the same way if I'd had a girl instead. Loving Lucas has given me compassion for men I'd otherwise resent, fear, or scorn, since I can now picture them as innocent little buddies just like Lucas, and know that at their core, that innocence is who they truly are. Accepting reality in the face of strong (and different) expectations was a long and arduous task, but working through it paid off in a new ability to more easily flow with life instead of trying to control it.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. I know Lucas has much more to teach me just by being who he is, testosterone and all.
[Funny note: I started out intending to write about my son's three female alter-egos, but I backed up so far in setting up my thoughts that it became another post. More on those later, then. J]
I wanted a girl.
Lucas doesn't watch cartoons. He doesn't watch television. However, due to his obsession with all things guitar, we do watch more than our fair share of concert videos. With a musician husband in the house, we have quite the collection. Last month, Lucas' favorite was a Pat Metheny DVD. Currently, he's really into a Sting concert from the Soul Cages tour in the '90s. He's watched it so many times that the video tape is beginning to give out.
Do you know that Dominic Miller was Sting's guitar player on that tour? Lucas does. He studies and imitates every move Dominic makes, from his guitar slides to the casual toss of his shoulder-length bobbed hair. I offered Lucas a wig so he could get the full effect, and he thought that was really
cool. Um … yeah.
He says, "I'm Dominic Miller! I'm playing my electric guitar, wowowowowoweeeeow! Now I'm bowing and I flip my hair. I'm Dominic Miller. Now I'm red." This last is in reference to the lighting guys switching to a red gel. It's a crack-up! He enjoys the attention when we "sit in the audience" on the couch and watch him, but he also "practices" diligently and enthusiastically when he thinks no one's looking.
I'll take this any day over, "I'm Sponge-Bob Squarepants!" or "I'm Spiderman." I'm grateful that he's spending his time perfecting stage moves instead of battling it out with pretend enemies.
These musician role models are doing something real in the world. Lucas will never be Spiderman, but he could very possibly be a musician, putting on concerts for cheering fans. If he does decide to take that route, he's getting plenty of practice.
My writing for this blog has slowed down just a bit over the past two months, and the reason is that I've been spending more of my writing time working on a book that addresses this same topic in depth. There are a few books out there on the subject of crystal children, though none written from a mother's perspective. I am hoping to present the information and stories in a way that appeals to a wider audience than that of the books already published. I've completed eight chapters so far, and before I get too much further, I want to put this request out to my conscious, bloggy community.
I know many of you who regularly read this blog have stories to share about your intuitive children, and I would love to include them in my book! In addition to sharing how your child's gifts have revealed themselves, I'd love to read about how you've dealt with those situations. How did you nurture them, or not? What effect has your child's intuition had on your own consciousness or spiritual growth? Please don't feel limited by the questions, though. Any stories you think would pertain to the topic of mothering a sensitive child will be considered.
The book will NOT be an anthology of stories. It will primarily be my own story, but I would like to augment it with the voices of other mothers who are in a similar situation. If you would like to submit a story (or a few!), please email me at alexisla (the at sign) cox (dot) net. (I take it this cuts down on spammers. Everybody's doing it.) If your piece(s) are selected to be published in the final book, you'll be given credit and a free copy of the book.
Please feel free to forward this post to anyone you know who might enjoy contributing. Thank you so much for your ongoing support, readership, and insightful sisterhood.
Back in March, I had the good fortune of attending a fun event with Lucas at Bears, Buddies and Toys. I had the even better fortune of winning the evening's grand prize of a theme birthday party. At the time, Lucas' third birthday seemed so far away. Time passed quickly, as it tends to do, and I found myself booking our September party last week.
Lucas had a choice of holding his party in the pirate ship or the castle. (See photo above. This place is amazing!) I assumed he would choose the castle, since the last time we were there, the pirate mannequin in front of the ship scared the bejeezus out of him. However, I assumed incorrectly. When consulted, he said he wanted the pirate ship. He doesn't even know what a pirate is.
The biggest fun of the theme party is that the kids get dressed up in costumes, with a choice of becoming a princess, pirate or knight. Lucas is excited about dressing up as a pirate. Did I mention that he doesn't even know what a pirate is?
To my media-sheltered toddler, a pirate must be a very abstract concept. He doesn't watch cartoons, television or videos, and pirate books haven't yet made their way into our reading repertoire. I certainly don't want to explain what real pirates actually do. I wracked my brain to figure out a way of making this pirate thing a bit more fun for him, without opening up a big can of violent, pillaging worms.
Then it came to me … Peter Pan! Yes! Those pirates were relatively harmless, weren't they? They wore outfits just like the ones they'll have at Lucas' party. It's been a long while since I've watched Walt Disney's Peter Pan, but I do remember it had plenty of songs to appeal to our budding musician. I just wasn't sure how scary the pirates would be for Lucas. I knew we'd have to watch it together and be prepared to shut it off immediately if there were any, um … issues.
We know this from experience. Last year, our neighbors lent us the movie, Madagascar, thinking Lucas might enjoy watching it with us. We weren't sure how he would handle a movie, but we figured the bright cartoon characters of the animals would be fun for him.
Well, they were fun for a while. We skipped the movie around a bit, glossing over parts we thought would be uninteresting to him. He loved the part where the lemurs were dancing to the song, "I Like to Move it, Move it." Then we got to the part where the lion accidentally set his rescue statue on fire. Lucas instantly started screaming and crying hysterically, clawing at us as if to burrow into safety. We turned it off right away, of course. He had nightmares about it that night, and talked about that traumatic scene for months.
A month or so later, we thought we'd try Finding Nemo, thinking he'd love that cute little fishie. At the first sign of stress in the movie, you'd think he was watching Nightmare on Elm Street. There was more screaming, crying and clutching. We got the message. No more movies.
Sensitive kids are sensitive to everything. I am guessing that the stress and action that keeps a regular children's movie interesting feels far more intense to a sensitive child. Think about it: If a child is very empathetic, as crystal children are, they feel other people's emotions as if they are their own. So when Lion was running around yelling in despair over his burning statue, Lucas felt that despair. When Nemo was being approached by sharks, Lucas felt that fear. Along with the loud noises and suspenseful soundtracks that tend to accompany these scenes, I think this was a possible reason for Lucas' extreme reaction.
So fast forward to today, when I brought Peter Pan home from the library. I had given him a spotty synopsis of the story already, so he'd be prepared for what would happen and know that everyone would be okay in the end. I was a bit worried about the pirate scenes.
Little did I know what would set him off so early into the movie. As the kids flew out of the nursery, the youngest one, Michael, dropped his teddy bear, and had to go back to get him. Throughout the rest of the flying scene, Lucas was vigilantly on the lookout for the bear, worrying that he would be dropped again. Tears came to his eyes as he fretted over the bear, until his whimpering erupted into a full-fledged wail. We turned it off. He talked about that bear all throughout lunch. "He has to hold that bear tiiiiiight! He has to hug the bear tiiiiight so he won't fall! If he drops him, he will have to go back and get him and hold him tiiiight!"
We affirmed that Lucas was a very good friend to be so concerned about leaving a buddy behind, and we assured him that the bear would stay safe throughout the rest of the movie. He was unconvinced.
Hours later, he watched a few more minutes of the movie with his papa while I made dinner. Surprisingly, Lucas had no issues with the pirates. He wasn't even concerned when the crocodile stalked Captain Hook, scary sound effects and all. However, in every scene featuring Michael and that beloved teddy bear, he became tense and worried that the bear would again be dropped and left behind.
I think we've watched enough of the movie. At least now Lucas knows what pirates look like. As for me, I now have greater insight into what my loyal, compassionate little boy values. Thanks, Peter Pan.
Back in April, I shared about my fear of bridges and how Lucas seemed to read my mind about these fears. My psychic friend later suggested it was a left-over fear from a past-life bridge accident in which both Lucas and I lost our lives. Thinking of it this way helped me let go of the fear since I decided to trust that it wasn't some sort of intuitive premonition about an event to come. Regardless of the truth of the matter either way, it worked for me, and I haven't felt the fear response for months. Lucas has also not mentioned it since then.
Until the other day…
I was driving over a new overpass from one freeway to another, and as we began the upward curve, I felt the subtle twinge of fear returning. As soon as it leveled off and began to drop down, the feeling disappeared. I was absent-mindedly pondering why the fear response only seems to happen on the upward curve, and wondered if that was the location on the bridge where the past-life accident had occurred. Meanwhile, Lucas had been in his car seat pretending to play a variety of musical instruments. As we'd begun our ascent up the curve, I'd heard him say, "I'm putting all my instruments away. I'm putting them in cases so they'll be safe when we bump." I wasn't really paying much attention to him, and what he said didn't register right away.
But at the same moment when I felt my own fear dissipate as we began to come down the overpass, Lucas said, "It's safe now. I am taking out all my instruments." I realized his words were mirroring my own meandering thoughts. I asked him why he had put his instruments away a moment ago. He said he wanted them to be safe so when the car "bumped over" they wouldn't get smushed.
Make of it what you will.
For those of you with intuitive children, do you have similar stories of them reading your thoughts or recalling past life experiences? I'd love to read about them in the comments.
This morning while still in bed, I heard Lucas ever so sweetly call out from the bathroom, "Toilet paper, please. Mommy … toilet paper, please."
I walked into the bathroom to find him sitting patiently on his potty chair, a smile on his face. "Wow, Lucas, you did this all by yourself. How independent of you," I told him as I handed him a bit of toilet paper.
After the strategic discovery that gave us a great start back in May, followed by his love affair with Pull-Ups and commensurate loss of interest in the actual potty, his bathroom independence has taken a quantum leap forward in the last week. My patience, through gritted teeth, seems to be finally paying off.
By patience, I mean my intention to make the potty-training process free of coercion and stress for Lucas. By gritted teeth, I mean my fear that he may just decide to take another year to get around to using the bathroom, and we'd have to give up his spot at preschool next month. I worked through this contradiction in the same way I am learning to work through all of life's challenges these days.
I surrendered the potty training to Lucas and his natural inclinations. I surrendered the idea that preschool had to start this fall and at this particular place. I let go of all the "shoulds" and decided to be okay with either outcome. This relieved a lot of stress for me and made it less likely that I would pass along the stress to Lucas, or worse, succumb to the pressure to just break out those rewards and bribe him into compliance.
The funny thing (though not really so funny, as this sort of thing happens every time I surrender) is that as a result of letting go of the stress and surrendering the outcome, a new solution emerged. While not even really thinking about it, it occurred to me that we might just try buying some big-boy underwear. We'd been using Pull-Ups for months now, and while he's adept at taking them off and even changing them himself, he still prefers to use them as his toilet instead of the actual potty chair. I guessed that he might not feel the same way with underwear.
I guessed correctly. Long story short, he loves his big-boy underwear, and doesn't like to pee (or poop) in them. He now runs straight to the bathroom every time he needs to go. It has been a little over a week now, and he's very consistent. We still use Pull-Ups for naps and at night, or if we'll be away from a toilet for long periods of time, but even with the Pull-Ups on as emergency back-up, he'll often still ask to use the bathroom. I'm rather amazed at how simple this was, after all of the fretting of previous months.
Surrender. So simple. So subtle.
I think we're going to make the September potty-training deadline after all.
I wonder if I'll have to write about this every month.
I keep hoping that with greater awareness and appropriate accommodations, I will eventually make it though the two days preceding my period with just a little bit of grace and without sending my sensitive son over the edge.
I'm just not there yet.
It's not for lack of effort. Unlike previous months, I was watching the calendar, and I knew it was coming. I gave my husband a good 4-day warning so he'd be prepared, just in case I forgot about the grace part. I held off on the caffeine, sugar, wheat and dairy (Well, except for those two Haagen Dazs bars – Have you tried the salted caramel ones yet? Divine!). I even went so far as to thin out the calendar for the rest of the week, and only make plans that would feel relaxing. In other words, I was trying to be proactive in removing all triggers for bad behavior.
When I woke up yesterday, at the apex of hormonality, the very air around me was irritating beyond belief. I didn't plan for that.
It was all downhill from there.
Coincidentally, as happens every month at this time, Lucas, too, had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, complete with lots of whining, tantruming, demanding and stonewalling. (Oh, and we just switched to big-boy underwear this week [I know – horrible planning!] so you can add peeing everywhere to the list.)
I don't even remember now what he did to warrant this response from me, but I actually said to him, "Lucas - God! You're bugging the hell out of me today!" (Not proud. Not proud at all. ) He ratted me out by saying the exact same phrase to my husband, inflections and all.
Luckily, (or so I thought) the plan for the morning was to relax at the beach under a shady umbrella with my friend and her son, who is Lucas' favorite buddy. You would think this would be a good plan for a PMS-day, wouldn't you? The boys would run around and play with their sand toys, while my friend and I would relax and enjoy catching up.
Not so much.
Between the lugging of gear, the peeing, the incessant demanding of snacks, the peeing, the fighting over toys, the sand throwing, the crying, and the peeing, we were exhausted within the hour and packed it up to leave, with the promise that the next beach day would be without kids.
The rest of the day wasn't much better. You get the idea.
Today? A completely different story. I got to circle the date on my calendar, and all was peace and love in my world. All was cuteness and cooperation with Lucas. Yesterday's drama and frustration were behind us, and it seemed crazy that it could have been so awful when only such a small thing had changed.
So what have I learned this time around?
- Cheating with Haagen Dazs maybe does make a difference with the hormones. (Drats to this one.)
- Go NOWHERE for the 2 days before my period. Even if it seems like a calm, peaceful idea, don't do it. Just say no.
- If possible, have someone else take Lucas out of the house for the day before my period – the apex. He would have been fine if he hadn't been absorbing all my jagged energy all day.