How to Listen to Annoying Kids – Listening Through The Noise

listen (v):

1. to give attention with the ear
2. to pay attention, to heed
3. to wait attentively for a sound
4. to convey a particular impression to the one hearing

As a Grower of People, this definition makes me laugh.

If you’re not sure what the difference is between hearing and listening, you are cordially invited to my house for dinner. You’ll pull up a chair, we’ll all dig in, then I’ll bring up the topic of “passing gas” with the four year old. Give the conversation three minutes to gather steam, then try to change the subject.

Unless you come prepared with a live monkey for a prop, I can guarantee you MIGHT be heard, but you will for sure not be listened to.
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How to Pay Attention – Be Heard and Learn to Hear

Do you know how to listen?

I’m not always great at listening. As a mother, I have mastered the art of selective hearing, which in turn makes it really, really hard to listen.

If you have kids, you know what I mean.
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What is Depth? Connecting to Others in a Disconnected World

For a very, very long time in my life, I felt lonely.  REALLY lonely, like I was the only person on the planet.  For all intents and purposes I should not have felt that way.  I was surrounded by people through work, family, friendships, church, in groups, online, and in my own house.  I had been married for 10 years and had (still have) three kids that I desperately loved.  In fact, almost all of my time was spent with people.  I hadn’t so much as peed alone for five years, but I still felt most of the time like I was the only one alive.

I felt like a tiny, isolated island in the middle of a choppy, wild ocean, my very existence completely unknown by anyone except myself, constantly beat on from all sides by waves that eroded me away.

I felt like a palm tree in the eye of a raging, savage, tearing storm, cemented in place and unable to move, small and insignificant, bowed and bent and victim to circumstances outside of my control.

Being inside my life felt like being stuck in slow motion on a busy sidewalk.  I was sweating and pushing to go faster, muscles straining and heart racing, trying to wave my arms and scream at the top of my lungs just to be NOTICED, but even with all possible effort I was invisible.  Forgotten.  People buzzed past me, bodies brushed by, and my omittable self was drown out by an endless cloud of blurred faces and swirling voices.

Being lonely when you’re all by yourself is one thing.  Being lonely when you’re surrounded by people that say they love you is something completely different, and infinitely worse.

It sucks.

And it happened ALL. THE. TIME.  It happens to all kinds of people, all the time.

In fact, at one point or another in your life I bet that it’s happened to you.
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How to Be a Mother – Raising Kids the Right Way

In the last few years I’ve done a lot of thinking about being a mother.  It’s probably what I think about MOST, actually, since having kids.  My thoughts fluctuate equally between “Am I doing a good job,” “How much am I going to screw them up by doing-not-doing this-or-that,” and “where’s the instruction manual because REALLY I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE HELL I AM DOING.”

Being a mom is…   well, it’s rough.  And wonderful, and amazing.  And brutal.  And rewarding and miserable and fulfilling and draining and pure bliss.  It’s the only thing I’ve experienced in life that can leave me feeling as full as a hot air balloon, weightless with love, and AT THE SAME TIME as twisted and wrung out as an old, holey and shredded dishtowel.  From the second you conceive until FOREVER your life is no longer your own.  It becomes something totally different.  Something MORE.  Every day your guts feel like they gorged on a party snack mix of puberty mood swing hormones and Sominex and double-frosted kid’s birthday cake seasoned with a hearty dash of crazy and sprinkled with very loud noises.

The best way I can describe it is to imagine that you have a cute, fuzzy, warm, cuddly monkey sitting on your shoulder, playing with your ear, whispering to you and loving you.  On your back.  All the time.
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Accountability and Parenting – Get Up and Make an Impact

Yesterday my older son was scheduled for kindergarten screening.  We piled in the car and headed to the elementary school, siblings in tow.

After brief introductions and an explanation of the process, the soon-to-be kindergarteners were whisked away to the testing room.  Parents were left to finish paperwork, read information on the school policies, sign consent forms, and wait.  And wait, and wait.

Many of the other parents had siblings with them also, some younger and some older.  Force-of-habit head count came up with ten kids altogether.

Some of those kids were more of a handful than others.
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Parenting Isn’t Perfect – Making Mistakes as a Mom

Today was a fun day for the kids.  Today was DENTIST day.

The dentist office we go to is AWESOME, complete with cartoons and movies and a play structure better than most public malls.  Like most days that we visit the dentist, the play place was packed full.  I counted five families and at least twelve kids.

I was sitting on one side of the VERY large room with my nose in a book, waiting for the hygienist to call the kids back for their checkups.  Mace and Norah were in normal busy-busy-busy mode, running and climbing and jumping off the tallest toy to my right.  Wulf was playing on the other side of the room on the other side of a large pillar.  I couldn’t see him from where I was sitting.

Suddenly in a very loud voice from across the room an older man yelled, “HEY YOU, you in the black shirt, HEY YOU.” I looked up thinking “WTF, buddy.”  As I glanced around to see where the noise was coming from I met his eye, realized he was talking to ME, and he said “Is this your kid?”
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