Friday, March 11, 2011


since the dawn of toddlerhood, i've always made it a point to name bonzo's feelings as he's having them in an attempt to help him process them and to be able to express himself.

the other day he could hear the next door neighbor's gardeners hard at work.
oh how the bonz loves the gardeners – but hearing them and not seeing them? well, that's like being starving while watching a cooking show: it's kinda rad but it kinda sucks.

i tried to explain how we could use our ears to hear them but we wouldn't be able to see them behind the fence but bonz was too bummed for such rationale.
he kept repeating "look at it! gardeners! weed-wacker! mower! look at it! see it? gardeners!" each time more desperate and pleading than the last, when finally he threw his hands over his head and then instantly to his sides and said "frustrated!"

needle off record.

um, whoa.

it really cannot be understated: bonzo's always had a lot to say and pretty much excels in the language department. i mean, not to be that mom but this guy blows my mind on a daily basis with the depth and breadth of his vocabulary – it's pretty remarkable to hear him talk.
okay, enough waxing about my kid and onto my point: him being able to tell me how he's feeling has totally turned the page and begun a whole new chapter.

he knows when he's frustrated, mad and scared – and tells me with almost complete accuracy when it comes up.
and i let him know i hear him and that i understand. i don't try to change or deny his reality or fix it for
him – with an occasional exception, i suppose, if i'm completely honest with myself – i just listen and let him know he's heard. and dudes, it's been pretty rad. most of the time this look washes over his face like, "oh. okay. i guess i don't really need to fight to let my feelings be known. we're on the same page. i'm mad, she knows it. okay. great. um... what should we do next?"

and sometimes it escalates and it's clear that it really is just the pretext for him to let it rip and have a good, productive cry. which, as an aside and something i have much, much, much more to elaborate on, is rad.

crying is welcomed with open arms in this house.
but that's the key: with open arms.

which brings me to this:
i just wrapped up my second workshop with dr. aletha solter who is a developmental psychologist and author as well as an expert on attachment, trauma and non-punitive discipline. and on top of all of that, she lives here in town and teaches workshops here to boot.

i have huge appreciation for her work and approach and, it's safe to say, that the principals of my parenting have been shaped and honed because of her books and i am so grateful for that.

i discovered her through her books when bonzo was just a teeny tiny new guy and her "aware parenting" approach has pretty much changed my life. so much of it comes as naturally as breathing – but it's also an amazing tool for me for when i feel like i'm stepping out into uncharted territory.

lots more on this to come.


blake said...

I love this. Our pediatrician calls some of this: developing a child's "emotional intelligence" -- and I agree that it's so, so important. Bonzo's "frustrated" brought a smile to my face. thanks for the book recs! xoxo

amy said...

Great post! Looking forward to hearing more on this.