Archive for May 2011

Beach Reading

The qualification for inclusion on my summer reading list is that a book has to be beach reading. No matter that it’ll be at least another six years before I get to ever crack a book at the actual beach. There have been times in my life when I could slog through a slow-moving book, but I have to be honest with myself and say that this isn’t one of them. If a book has even the slightest potential to put me to sleep, I’ll never get past page 3.

So what I’m going for this summer is beautifully written books that are also fantastic page turners. Here’s the start of my list.

What’s at the top of your summer reading list?

1. The Vicious Red Relic, Love by Anna Joy Springer
2. Tinkers by Paul Harding
3. Ms. Hempel Chronicles by Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum
4. On Black Sisters’ Street by Chika Unigwe
5. Toward You by Jim Krusoe
6. Dancer by Colum McCann

Pretty is Available for Pre-Order

For some reason it always feels like at the last minute someone’s going to tell me that I’ve been punked and no one is really publishing my book after all. But I guess Pretty is really coming out, because it’s now available for pre-order at Powell’s, Barnes and Noble and Amazon! Or you can wait until it comes out on August 30 and buy it at your local independent bookstore.

You can read more about it here. Tour schedule coming soon.

Roots of Connection Breakfast

Many people have commented or emailed with questions about the blog I wrote on why we don’t punish T. Well, I didn’t make that stuff up. Scott and I learned most of it at The Echo Parenting and Education Center. The center is an invaluable resource for us and for many other parents and educators. They’re having a free breakfast event on June 1. We’ll definitely be there. Come join us! Here’s the info from the website:

Please come to our first ever Roots of Connection Breakfast on June 1st! We’re so excited that this event will be held at the legendary Dominick’s restaurant!

This is a free one hour event with great food, inspiration from Echo Parenting & Education staff and board, and a multimedia presentation. You’ll be asked to give, but it’s not required! There’s no minimum or maximum amount, we’d be thrilled to have you come.

Seating is limited, so it’s crucial that you RSVP to Glenda by email, glinares@echoparenting.org or phone, 213.484.6676 ext. 310.

If you can’t attend but would like to contribute, click here to DONATE NOW.

Event location:

Dominick’s is located at 8715 Beverly Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90048
(310) 652-2335
valet parking is available for $5

Accentuate the Positive

I realize that sometimes I’m guilty of sharing the hard parenting moments and breezing right over the good stuff. So I’d like to give you an update on our struggles with T and his challenging behaviors, because we’ve had a few pretty amazing breakthroughs. I attribute them in large part to the work we’ve been doing since we attended the Heather Forbes seminar a few months back.

Far and away the most challenging thing for me to deal with has been T’s rejection of me. Even when I’m able to remain grounded and patient and not take it personally all day long (it’s a rare day, but it happens), come bedtime I still find myself lying there with tears rolling down my face, thinking that in a million years I never imagined being a mother would feel like this.

I’ve decided to answer his rejection with yet more affection. Every time my impulse is to walk away, I instead go tell him I love him and offer another hug. Even if it means getting bopped in the face with a train car yet again.

Well, I’m thrilled to report that there’s been a definite shift. I’m still getting a pretty regular smack-down; I got an airplane wing in the eyeball just yesterday. But T has been accepting my love and snuggles lately more often than not. We’re having more fun together when we hang out just the two of us. And he’s been looking to me for comfort, which is major.

I imagine for parents with children without disrupted attachment, this must sound as normal as breathing. But for us it signals a profound shift.

Scott is leaving for tour tomorrow and I dread the fallout of that because Daddy is the star of our show around here. I imagine we’ll have some good old fashioned regression. But overall, I feel tremendously encouraged.

And yes, that’s a whoopie cushion he’s sitting on in the picture. Because I believe it’s important to expose children to culture as early as possible.

Do the Twist

Maybe it was because Scott was out of town and it was one of those mornings with T that seemed to stretch on forever, but I got inspired to try a new ‘do. It was pretty spontaneous and as a result my sections were messy and uneven at the beginning. I also probably could have gotten some product suggestions, although our Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding worked just fine. Next time I do it, I’ll consult one of the awesome websites geared to white mommies/back hair, like Happy Girl Hair. I’ll also plan for it taking longer than I originally thought. This took about an hour. And T loves nothing better than sitting still for an hour. Actually, we had to bust out the Yo Gabba Gabba about five minutes into it.

The result: ridiculously cute. I don’t have quite as many hair options as my friends with girls, but it was still fun to change his look around. Next stop, cornrows.

Chocolate for Breakfast

This Saturday is World Fair Trade Day. Fair trade basically just means that farmers and workers were justly compensated for the coffee in your espresso maker or the cotton in your shirt.

We’re getting in on the Wake up the World campaign by being more conscious about including fair trade products in our breakfast. Having a spirited kid, I drink coffee. Lots and and lots of coffee. Much of the coffee we drink comes from Ethiopia and the issue of fair trade there is particularly close to our hearts (the pic is of Scott and me with some farmers we met in the highlands above Lalibela). So we’re going to start right there.

Plus, here’s a yummy fair trade-friendly cacao and blueberry oatmeal recipe from the Fair Trade USA website. I love anything that involves chocolate for breakfast.

4 cups of water
2 cups of rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon of salt1 teaspoon fair trade certified cacao powder
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
almond, soy or regular milk

Cook it.

Yum.

Holla at the Mamas

Yeah, I busted out that old picture again. I can’t help it- it’s the first picture of me as a mother. I’m still wearing the name tag we had to wear when we visited the orphanage.

Mother’s day is complicated for me, both as a mother and a daughter. I think that these sorts of holidays are rarely simple, but the complexity is magnified when adoption comes into the picture.

I have the mother who raised me, the mother who gave birth to me, the grandmother who inspired me and the many women who have mentored and cared for me over the years. So it’s a day for me to contemplate the ways they’ve affected my life, the losses and the blessings. It’s also a day for me to consider the ways that I’ve learned to mother myself as an adult.

Mother’s day is an opportunity to honor the women who cared for my son before I could- the mother who gave birth to him, the various women who nurtured him at the orphanage in Addis Ababa. My gratitude to them is immeasurable.

I feel very lucky that my story gives me a chance to see that there are many ways to mother.

Much love to all the mommas out there who inspire and support me every day.

Where Carrots Come From

Last week we managed to get our garden started, in spite of the fact that T went tearing down every aisle of the nursery and then seemed to only want to throw dirt up in the air rather than actually plant anything in it. But I was resolute that he see food actually grow out of the ground this summer.

Even though he showed limited interest in the initial venture, he keeps showing “his garden” to all of our visitors and he asks to water it every day. He’s particularly excited about the carrots we planted from seeds. I hope we get some sprouts.

I’m proud of us for getting it going. And at least I have him to blame if I kill everything again this year.

Bookends

Being a working mom in a creative field has its own set of challenges. I’m lucky enough to work from home, but that has its pitfalls as well. When I’m with T, I’m often distracted with thoughts of work and when I’m working I’m concerned with the minutia of my domestic life. Neither sphere is served by my lack of focus.

I usually do some yoga, light a candle, try to create a separate work space from what three minutes before was actually my closet (it’s a big closet, but it’s still a closet). Lately it just doesn’t seem effective enough.

Does anyone have suggestions for how to put bookends around your work time?

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