Tree Tanglefoot Pest Barrier – A Great Addition To My Organic Garden!

tree-barrier-2I was first introduced to Tree Tanglefoot Pest Barrier about 10 years ago, when I had a serious ant problem on my lemon tree. It seemed that no matter what I tried, the ants just kept crawling towards the newly budding fruit. I was doing my best to maintain an organic garden, but the ant problem was getting to a point where I started considering toxic chemical sprays and insect killers. This was all out war, and the ants were winning – I had to do something!

Then I tried Tree Tanglefoot. After applying the sticky goop all along the trunk of the lemon tree, the ant problem stopped almost immediately. I was amazed.

According to the Tanglefoot website, this product also works for much more than just ant control. It creates a barrier for the following common pests: ants, cankerworms, gypsy moth caterpillars, army and tent caterpillars, obscure root weevils, pecan weevils, tussock moths, and climbing cutworms. A wide variety of insects that all have one thing in common – they must climb to the tops of the trees to mate, lay eggs, or feed (yes, even the winged insects on the list must climb during the mating and egg laying life cycle, according to the Tree Tanglefoot website).

Pros

  • effective
  • environmentally friendly (no harsh chemicals are sprayed in an attempt to kill the pests)
  • chemical-free, all natural ingredients (according to theirwebsite)
  • does not affect fruit production or harvest
  • reasonably priced

Cons

  • VERY sticky, to the point of it being a bit of a nuisance to apply (and wash off of skin)
  • can be a difficult product to find in some areas of the country

Here’s how it works:

tree-barrier

The Tree Tanglefoot creates a thick, sticky, waterproof barrier that traps some of the insects while forcing the remaining pests off of your tree. Essentially, the pests will begin to crawl up the trunk, realize that a sticky wall awaits them, and will hunt for another target for their egg laying or feeding needs. The waterproof aspect of this product is especially appreciated, because it prevents the nuisance of frequent reapplication after rain or watering.

One word of warning, though, is to make sure that it stays undisturbed. The last thing you need is to finish applying the product only to have a rogue branch act as a bridge across the sticky goop. I had this happen once, and was surprised at just how quickly the ants managed to find a detour to my lemons. So be careful when applying, and make sure the area around the tree trunk is clear.

If you are having problems with creepy crawly insects, especially on fruit trees, give Tree Tanglefoot a shot – I am sure you will not be disappointed! But of course, if worst comes to worst, just hire a professional like this site to cut down the tree and simply make a beautiful stump out of it.

The Ultimate Parenting Resource: Kids In The House

I am very excited to announce the launch of a new parenting website that I think is going to make a huge change in the parenting landscape. Kids In The House calls themselves “The Ultimate Parenting Resource” and you know what? I actually think they may be right.

For the past three years the site’s creator, Leana Greene, and her team (which I was honored to be a part of) has worked tirelessly to put together over 8000 1-minute videos of just about every expert you can think of, discussing just about every parenting topic you can imagine.

So many of my favorites have been interviewed for this site. Imagine having the chance (for FREE) to hear answers to questions from people such as:

  • Dr. Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson, co-authors of “The Whole Brain Child”
  • Dr. Laura Markham, author of “Peaceful Parent, Happy Child” and the Aha! Parenting blog
  • Dr. Gordon Neufeld, psychologist, formost authority on child development and best-selling author
  • Dr. Ned Hallowell, psychologist, ADHD specialist and best-selling author of 18 books
  • Michael Gurian – best selling author of 26 books including “The Wonder of Boys” and “Boys and Girls Learn Differently!”
  • Janet Lansbury, author of the Elevating Childcare blog and specialist in the RIE parenting philosophy
  • Tom Hobson, preschool teacher and author of Teacher Tom’s Blog
  • Dr. Shefali Tsabary, psychologist and author of The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children
  • Two of my mentors, Dr. Pamela Varady and Dr. Joan Friedman, are on this site as well discussing their specialties: sibling relationships and parenting twins (respectively).

There are, literally, hundreds of other parents and experts that I could recommend you check out, and I am sure I will begin to share specific videos from time to time in the hopes of introducing you to other people you may not yet know. But there is nothing stopping you from going over to Kids In The House, setting up your profile and beginning the research yourself.

Questions about raising biracial children?
Adoption?
Co-parenting with an ex?
Teens and body image?
Parenting a special needs child?
Safeguarding your children while they’re online?
This site has experts and answers to it all and more.

I was so honored to be have been asked to be interviewed and to have my videos on parenting twins featured on this site. Yeah, can you believe it? They actually called me in and interviewed me! But I must warn you of a few things before you click over to see my videos.

First, the videos were made almost 2 years ago and I was in the process of growing out my hair and it looks dreadful. It’s unfortunately the first time I didn’t have bangs in 40 years and it will certainly be my last. Also, the makeup artist decided I looked good in orange lipstick. On top of this, I was so incredibly nervous about being filmed that everything I know about parenting instantly went out of my head as soon as the camera started rolling, so I sound like I know next to nothing! But I did my best and regardless of all of my insecurities, I am thrilled to have been included on a site with so many of the experts I look up to and admire. Oh, and my false eyelashes look pretty awesome in my videos if I do say so myself! LOL!

In addition to getting parenting questions answered, the site also allows members to message each other, create and share play lists, connect with like minded others in forums centered around specific videos and topics and so much more! I’d love to connect with you on Kids In The House. Just look up my profile and send a friend request. As you search the site, let me know whose videos you love and what topics you find interesting. I’ve seen hundreds of the videos, but there are so many I haven’t had the chance to check out yet!

Two Thousand Kisses a Day: A Review

Before I became a parent I will admit I knew less than nothing about parenting. I had no “philosophy” about how I would parent other than some vague notion that I would, of course, love my children and teach them “everything I knew”.

Under the best circumstances, this really could be enough. But for most people, myself included, when parenting starts to get a little harder we either fall back on how our parents parented (which sometimes left something to be desired) or fumble our way through trying various inconsistent methods in the futile hope that one of them will be a magic bullet and suddenly being a mom will be what we thought it was going to be like!

I do wish that in the early days I had some sort of guide book that focused on what I now have come to call connected parenting. It would have given me comfort to know that certain things I did, instinctively, were creating a better relationship with my kids. And it would have provided suggestions which resonated with me when I had difficulties.

L.R. Knost of Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources has written such a guide. Her new book Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages (A Little Hearts Handbook) reads like gentle suggestions from a good friend. The author is an independent child development researcher and mom of six (6!) children ranging in age from toddlerhood to young adult. Because of this, Two Thousand Kisses a Day doesn’t just stop after the first 5 years, as so many other parenting books do, but continues on to give advice for raising great kids all the way middle school, teen years and adulthood.

In the introduction, the author makes the point that connecting with our children is:

“…about maintaining and enriching a strong parent/child relationship through all of the ages and stages of childhood so that, through a foundation of trust and mutual respect, parenting takes the form of guiding instead of punishing, encouraging natural growth instead of forcing premature independence, and creating a strong, intimate, interwoven family fabric that will stand the test of time.”

Although Two Thousand Kisses a Day covers a broad ranges of ages and stages, the chapters are short and easy to read. The author provides understandable scenarios to illustrate her points and often gives easy to follow suggestions for every-day difficulties, such as doing chores in the house or feeding a picky eater, from a gentle parenting point of view.

For those of us who give a lot of thought to how we are parenting, it is very easy to blame ourselves every time our children have difficulties. I love that the author devotes a chapter to parenting guilt and reminds her readers that “…when our efforts don’t produce an endlessly-happy, always-confident, perfectly-reasonable child, we can make the mistake of feeling like a failure as a parent instead of simply acknowledging that we are the parent of a human being with all of the normal quirks and foibles inherent in human nature.”

What L. R. Knost leaves us with in Two Thousand Kisses a Day is encouragement and simple ways to make an enormous difference in our children’s lives. She reminds us that it is never too late to start having a connected relationship with our children and, from my favorite chapter in the book, that “it’s important to be in our children’s lives but also to be intentional about making our time together count in the small ways that really matter to children.”

Ultimately, that’s what Two Thousand Kisses a Day is really about: finding as many ways to continue to be as connected to our growing children, as you did when they were infants and you kissed, cuddled and told them you loved them every chance you got.

Empathy, Conflict Resolution And More: A Review Of The Friendship Show

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
~ Anaïs Nin

Around about the same time I began this blog, I came across a site called The Mother Company. Because my focus here is connected parenting, I was immediately intrigued by their aim to encourage social and emotional learning for parents of young children through articles, books, music and more.

Because I am also a parent who closely monitors and limits what my children view, I was so happy to find their show “Ruby’s Studio: The Feelings Show”. My children loved Ruby and all the beautiful video segments that helped give them words to express and understand their emotions. I was hooked!

I am thrilled to say that The Mother Company has done it again with their new show “Ruby’s Studio: The Friendship Show”. As one’s children grow older, their blossoming struggles with friendships take center stage both for parents and for the children themselves. Ruby beautifully helps children explore topics such as empathy, bullying, conflict resolution and the golden rule.

“Join lovable host, Ruby, as she welcomes kids into her magical art studio for a day of creativity, fun and friendship. With the help of adorable animated segments, art projects and inspired original music, Ruby guides children through an adventure of learning about empathy, conflict resolution, The Golden Rule, and other ways to make and nurture lasting friendships.” ~ The Mother Company

friendship-launch-invite-4I watched a preview of this episode with my children this weekend and they were both enthralled. My daughter, who rarely gushes about movies or TV, kept whispering to herself as we watched “Oh! I love this!” and at the end wanted to watch it all over again.

Both of my kids seemed particularly intrigued by the episode “One For All” which is about bullying and the golden rule. My daughter’s personal favorite was Garden Theater – Casey Caterpillar Feels Left Out where the Garden Theater bugs learn important ways to become compassionate, considerate, and caring friends. And me? I really enjoyed it all, but I especially loved the simple art project Ruby does with the children where they create friendship trees which helped the children develop a deeper consideration of the friends in their lives.

Both of The Mother Company’s Ruby’s Studio episodes are beautifully shot and art directed. They’re a joy to watch. I am especially grateful that they produced this second episode because now that my children have moved out of the protective bubble of preschool, I see how developing the skill of making and maintaining friendships is needed.

I highly recommend Ruby’s Studio: The Friendship Show even for children younger than mine. It’s colorful, slow paced, and very, very charming. The show can be downloaded on to your computer or tablet now. And you can pre-order your DVD, available December 14th!

If you happen to be in Santa Monica, CA, The Mother Company will be holding a FREE premiere of their new show on Sunday December 16th at The Aero Theater where your children can get a chance to get their pictures taken with Ruby herself! Click on the flyer just above for all the details.

Full disclosure: I occasionally write for The Mother Company and was given a copy of Ruby’s Studio: The Friendship Show for possible review. I was, however, under no obligation to do so and all opinions expressed are solely my own.

Want To Know What It’s Really Like Raising Twins?

When I first found out I was pregnant with twins, one of the first thing I did was to find books to help me prepare for the road ahead. Since I didn’t yet have any friends with twins and didn’t yet know about joining a multiples club, books were my first resource.

While there are a ton of books on being pregnant with twins or taking care of newborn twins, there are few and far between that I know of that tackle life as a mom of twins over the span of years. And even fewer that are real, honest and make you feel as if a friend was letting you in on her personal story. That is, until Jane Roper wrote her book Double Time: How I Survived—and Mostly Thrived—Through the First Three Years of Mothering Twins.

I “met” Jane on Twitter about a year ago and soon became a fan of the smart, funny, self-effacing style of her Babble blog, Baby Squared. I was very excited when Jane told me she had just written a memoir and asked if I would read it.

What I loved right away about Double Time was that I felt as though at last someone was speaking my language. Jane doesn’t necessarily offer “how-to” advice on handling a twin pregnancy or those first months (or years) with twins, but she chronicles so many moments any parent of multiples will recognize that you instantly feel as though this is a friend who has been in the trenches with you. You feel bonded. You feel understood.

Most importantly, you come away from reading this book with a picture of what it’s really like to raise twins, even if you don’t have the added complications Jane had of battling severe depression, being the family breadwinner or struggling with feeling pulled away from the career you had originally dreamed for yourself.

double timeDouble Time: How I Survived—and Mostly Thrived—Through the First Three Years of Mothering Twins is hilarious, honest, compelling and ultimately very uplifting. It’s a great gift for new and expectant mothers of twins and a great read even for those of us who have passed the stages Jane writes about. It’s just so refreshing to feel that there’s someone out there who “gets it” when it comes to being a parent of twins and hasn’t sugar coated the difficulties or minimized the joys in any way.

Jane Roper’s memoir is released today, May 8th. I was honored to be given a chance to read it in advance and Jane has very kindly offered a copy to be given away to my readers. Please leave a comment below and let me know who you’d like to win a copy for (even if it’s yourself)!

I’ll pick a winner at random (via Random.org) on Mother’s Day, May 13th. Please be sure to include a way to contact you if you win and share this review with your friends – I think every mother or mother-to-be of multiples should have this book on her bedside table!

Help For Hitting And Aggressive Behavior

Among the handful of blogs and websites I turn to over and over to find advice and support, is Hand in Hand Parenting. Patty Wipfler, who founded this organization more than 20 years ago, has been teaching and supporting parents since the early 70’s.

From sibling rivalry to agressive behavior to common childhood issues like whining, transitions or separation anxiety, the advice and insight offered by Patty and her team always leave me feeling as if I better understand what is motivating my children’s behavior and what response from me will work best.

I was very excited when Hand in Hand Parenting contacted me a few weeks ago to review their new online course, “No More Hitting!”.

The basic premise behind Hand In Hand’s approach is centered on everyone’s strong, innate desire to love and be loved. That is, when children act out, they are actually asking for closeness, connection and understanding. When parents’ behavior goes “off track”, they need support and a place to offload the feelings that interfere with their ability to parent well.

The new course they’ve developed focuses in on helping parents who have toddlers who bite, push or are otherwise aggressive to other kids. For anyone who just doesn’t know what to do, or is concerned about their child’s behaviors, this is a course definitely worth checking out. However, even if your child doesn’t hit and even if you don’t have toddlers, this course can still be life changing.

My Experience

I reviewed this series of 15 short videos over the past few weeks and came away with so much insight into my 5-year old daughter’s difficult behavior patterns. She has never had a hitting issue, but she does have huge emotional outbursts, difficulty handling adversity and we get locked into power struggles often. After taking this course I feel armed with some excellent ideas on how I can change the way I respond when she spins out of control into a tantrum and a greater understanding of what is behind her seemingly irrational behaviors. Most importantly, Hand In Hand Parenting’s approach has given me a stronger understanding of my daughter’s deep need for connection, especially when she seems to be pushing me away.

The Details

  • Don’t worry if you don’t have time for a course. This one is self-paced. You have 6 weeks to watch the 3 hours of video which is broken up into 15-minute long segments.
  • Your partner can watch them as well so you can both be on the same page!
  • You also get 9 eBooklets including ones on How Children’s Emotions Work, Special Time, Crying, Reaching for your Angry Child, Healing Children’s Fear and more (a $24 value).

The Bonus!

“No More Hitting” is $79. I’m excited to say that Hand In Hand Parenting has offered 10 sessions at 50% off. These discounted sessions are first come first serve and you just need to enter the code TWINCOACH when you are purchasing. But even if you don’t manage to get the course at a discount, it’s well worth the $79!

Discovering The Joy Of Reading (Plus A Giveaway)!

“The habit of reading is the only enjoyment in which there is no alloy;
it lasts when all other pleasures fade.”
~ Anthony Trollope

“The more you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
~ Dr. Seuss

My fondest childhood memories revolve around the love of reading, writing and story-telling my parents shared with me. This passion for words and expression meant there were books everywhere in our house, librettos were read before going to an opera, deeply personal diaries were kept and long, detailed stories were told before bed. Now that I am a mother myself, I am doing my best to create this love of reading and story telling with my own kids.

We’ve read to our children from day one, kept books everywhere from our cars to our bathrooms, and let our children see us reading books for enjoyment. In our home our children know that books are important. We inscribe them with the kids’ names, who the book was from and what occasion the book was given for. This year I started using these personalized, vintage bookplates from Oiseaux in the children’s favorite books. When we read aloud we try to make it exciting, using different voices, hushed whispers and lots of expression. As children’s book author, Mem Fox, says,

“When I say to a parent, ‘read to a child’, I don’t want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate.”

bob books learning to readWe never have tried to teach our children to read. Rather, we have tried to impart a love for books and what they offer. Because we laid this foundation, when I brought home a box of Bob Books about 4 months ago and asked my 4 1/2-year old son if he wanted to try and read the books on his own, he dove right in.

To my amazement, this boy who deeply loves books, but who had never even tried to read on his own, was reading these books within minutes. The look on his face when he realized this was priceless!

For Christmas he got lots of cool gifts, but the one he’s enjoyed most so far are his set of the next level of Bob Books. He’s figuring out words he’s never seen before, understanding simple stories and totally encouraged to try more. He’s even ventured into reading some of his regular books and is making his way through some of the simpler Dr. Seuss stories.

I would never recommend pushing a child to read before they’re ready. Like anything else with early childhood, pushing too soon can often backfire. I merely offered the books and was available whenever he wanted to try. But because of the way they’re designed, he felt successful right off the bat. I think it’s our son’s passion for really wanting to read, coupled with his excitement to be doing something before his sister, that has spurred him on. And it is absolutely this amazing series of books that has given him the confidence to say “I can read”! That’s him, below, reading one of the new books, “O.K., Kids”.

I hadn’t heard of Bob Books until stumbling upon them via a connection on Twitter, but since having such success with them I have told everyone I know how well they work and how much both my children love them. As with just about everything else in my life, that means I also share it on my blog with you! But even better than just telling you about how well they work, this post is a chance for you to win a set of Bob Books Set 1. These books make a great gift or, if your child is too young to start, win them and keep them until the time is right!

Winning is simple. All you need to do is leave a comment below and tell me what the first book is that you remember reading. I will pick a winner at random (thank you, Random.org) on Monday, January 9th at noon, PST. Please be sure to leave your email address so I can notify you if you win!

Book Review and Giveaway: If I Have To Tell You One More Time

onemoretimecoverHow many of you have caught yourself nagging your kids to do simple tasks? How many of you have children who seem to “act out” on a regular basis? How many of you have ended up yelling over your kids’ sibling rivalry behaviors? How many of you feel as though your discipline strategies just aren’t working? I’m sure most of you have experienced at least one, if not all of these scenarios. I’ll admit I’ve been in these situations, sometimes all of them within the span of 10 minutes!

A few weeks ago I came across Amy McCready’s new book “If I Have to Tell You One More Time” and was intrigued. The subtitle of her book is actually: The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids To Listen Without Nagging, Reminding Or Yelling”! But don’t let that subtitle fool you, what this book is also about is how connect to your children in a deep, meaningful way and how to speak and react to them so that you are bringing out the best in your children.

An Expert You Can Relate To

amy mccreadyRight off the bat, I loved Amy’s style and could totally relate. She freely admits to her imperfections as a parent, but also makes it clear that she didn’t want things to continue the way they were going. She knew things were not going as well as they should and she set out to change those dynamics.

The book begins with an explanation of why many of our tried and true methods like Time Outs or 1-2-3 counting just don’t work for the long haul. But she doesn’t just tell us what not to do, she gives excellent, doable suggestions in a step by step plan for changing the way we interact with our children.

Best of all, Amy McCready explains the psychological needs behind our children’s behaviors, helps parents define their parenting style (thank you – I now have proof that I am controlling) so we can recognize how our own behaviors could be making things worse, and shows us concrete ways to bring out the best in our children and ourselves.

Getting Out Of Power Struggles

Many of you may remember some of the power struggles I have with my daughter on a regular basis (like when she’s acting like Veruka Salt or when I let my triggers get the best of me, so I was eager to try Amy’s ideas to improve our relationship.

One area I struggle with that I haven’t written about is my daughter’s obsession with food. She continues to ask for food, even when I know she can’t possibly be hungry anymore. In addition to arguing about her wanting to eat, we would get into battles about how food was placed on the plate, how it was cooked, what I was offering and on and on and on. I have tried everything from saying yes to every request, to setting up meal “rules”, all while trying not to make food an issue for her! As a result, what has happened is that she and I have a power struggle around food on a daily basis much to my chagrin. And really, I knew deep down it wasn’t about the food, but I just didn’t know how to tackle the issue. I really didn’t think anything in Amy’s book was going to help me with this problem, but boy was I surprised.

stubborn

I began using the first of the tools the book recommends called Mind, Body and Soul Time. This is essentially one on one time with your children. Those who read this blog regularly know I am a huge proponent of this, but since we no longer have a nanny, I have not been able to do it the way I used to. But Mind, Body and Soul time is simply 10 minutes with each child, 2 times a day, set up as a consistent schedule your children can count on. This tiny, little, easy idea radically changed things with my daughter in just 1 day! I was amazed. Here I was thinking I spend so much quality time with them, but all my daughter needed was to know that each day she was going to get me to herself twice a day and her strategy of seeking attention from me by locking into numerous power struggles has dropped dramatically. Now when she asks for more food after she’s already finished a meal, instead of addressing that request I translate it in my mind as a need to be filled up with some attention. My offer to spend alone time is always met with a happy “yes” and the “hunger” she complained of just disappears. As Amy McCready writes in a section titled All Behavior Is Goal-Oriented:

“Your child doesn’t even know it, but she’s on a mission to achieve the feelings of belonging and significance she longs for. Misbehavior isn’t the actual problem, it’s just a symptom of a deeper issue. If we address it, the misbehavior will disappear and our children will get what they need in a more positive way”.

So, while I used a power struggle over food as an example, this idea applies to any area in which your children are misbehaving. Remembering that it’s a symptom of something else and knowing how to react when that symptom shows itself is a huge game changer. Mind Body and Soul Time is just the first of 23 easy and effective tools outlined in this book.

Help With More Subtle Calls For Attention

While the change in my interactions with our daughter may be the most obvious, I can see, too how it is changing my relationship with my son. His way of trying to get attention generally manifests itself in acting helpless or becoming overly frustrated by things he’s perfectly capable of doing. Because I get drawn into intermittent reinforcement of this behavior, it’s only gotten worse. In the past week I’ve been applying some of this book’s methods to understand the reasons behind the behavior so that I am, instead, encouraging his independence.

What Makes This book So Good?

  • me and sI love the book’s approach to encouragement for effort as opposed to simple praise.
  • I love the ideas about getting your children involved in “family contributions” as opposed to “chores”.
  • I love that the book is about empowering our children as opposed to controlling them.
  • I love that the book spends a good deal of time explaining, psychologically, why children behave the way they do so parents can move beyond the label of “misbehavior”.
  • I love how thorough and organized it is, with real tools any parent can use effectively.
  • I love that it has methods that work with children ages 2 to 12 and that the author differentiates how to
  • I love that there’s a whole chapter devoted to sibling rivalry!

This book has, in a very short span of time, helped me make some significant changes in our home. While I was already aware of many of the theories Amy McCready talks about, I wasn’t always confident in the way in which I applied my knowledge. And I was certainly not experiencing the same level of happy cooperation that I am now. I know it will take some work to have these methods become second nature, but I’m excited about the possibilities.

I’m Not Just Reviewing It, I’m Giving One Away

Amy McCready sent me a copy of “If I Have to Tell You One More Time” with a request to review it. Although I was under no obligation to do so, I liked it so much that I not only am recommending it, but I asked if she would consider offering one more copy as a giveaway!

So, if my review has intrigued you and you’d like to understand your children better, have more cooperation in your house and actually have some great tools in your toolbox for handling misbehavior, then leave me a comment below and let us know why you’d like a copy of the book. Make sure you leave a way for me to contact you if you win! If you’d like a double chance of winning, become a subscriber to my blog as well. I will choose a winner at random (through Random.org) on Friday, August 12th at noon and announce the winner on my Facebook page.

I look forward to your thoughts about this book. Do you think it could help with some of your own parenting issues?

I’m Guest Blogging At Rookie Moms!

twinsweek-smallMany of you may already know the terrific site, Rookie Moms. If you don’t, it’s a great resource for parents with young children. This week Rookie Moms is running a full week of posts dedicated to multiple moms. I am very honored to be one of the first bloggers to be featured for Rookie Moms’ Twin Week.

Parents sometimes find themselves feeling more of a bond to one child than the other. It’s not something most people feel comfortable talking about, but it happens. Here’s the post I wrote about figuring out how to overcome the disconnection I felt from my daughter in the early days.

My post was originally titled One On One: The Cure For Disconnection, but Rookie Moms simplified it and just titled it Bonding With Each Child and it begins like this:

One of the fantasies that I had about being a mom of twins is how I would instantly love both my babies in exactly the same way. What surprised me the most when our twins were born is how very common it is for parents of multiples to feel more of a connection to one than the other. It is so rarely talked about that it causes a great deal of shame for those of us who experience it. This is not postpartum depression but rather an imbalance between how easily you connect to one twin over the other. This bond imbalance can fluctuate, shift from one child to the other and generally does not last – especially if the parent is proactive about it. This is an issue that I believe exists solely for those of us with multiples; a singleton mother may feel disconnected from her child at times, but she doesn’t have the side-by-side comparison staring her in the face which adds to the already enormous guilt…

What The World Needs Now…

I’ve been thinking a lot about the world as a whole these last few days. I know there has been an awful lot going on for years, but world news tends to fill me with anxiety, stress and extreme sadness. So for my own sanity, I try to tune out as much of it as possible.

My husband (who does not share my sensitivities) remarked to me last night that it is being reported that there is much less aid being donated toward Japan, and the survivors of the earthquake and tsunami, than there was sent to the victims of Haiti’s earthquake last year. Apparently, this is because the photos coming out of Japan tug less at our heart strings because they are more focused on the imminent nuclear meltdown as opposed to reminders that thousands of people are homeless, starving and freezing.

There have been horrible comments on Twitter lately, ranging from random idiots talking about karmic retribution for Pearl Harbor, to comedians making jokes about the disaster. The lack of empathy may, in part be due to overload (how much more can we take on top all of the horror stories coming out of the Middle East), but it doesn’t forgive it.

Years ago I read an amazing series of books, the first of which is called Journey Of Souls. Dr. Newton’s books can be somewhat controversial as they have to do with reincarnation, afterlife and what he calls “life between lives”. For me, these books resonated deeply and were profoundly moving. I subscribe to Dr. Newton’s belief that we all come from the same place, that our souls have connections to each other and that each of us affects all of us.

It is not always easy to be kind or to put others first when we have so much we may be personally struggling with. Yet, extending a hand to others is the greatest way to uplift yourself. I remember in the weeks after the tragedy of 9/11 how amazing it felt to be around other people. Do you remember how kind everyone was to each other and how people looked each other in the eye and smiled just because there was another human being standing there? Even in the midst of this terrible time, I remember thinking how beautiful people could be.

After reading Journey of Souls I remember having a very similar feeling. For a short time afterwards I didn’t see how people looked on the outside; all I was “seeing” was their energy, their soul, the sameness that connected us.

I know this doesn’t specifically have to do with parenting, which is what I usually write about, but in a way it does. As parents we are striving to raise our children to be kind, empathetic, generous souls. No one wants their children to live in a world full of fear and hatred and intolerance. Yet, we have so much of that. I don’t know how to change such an enormous issue, but I know that I am doing my best to teach my children to treat people with respect and kindness. I want them to understand that the more people we have who truly value that, the better the world will be that we leave to them and their children.

Maybe Burt Bacharach had it right all along. What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing there’s just too little of.