Rip-Current Events….

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:11-04:00 June 27th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

The last day of school had finally arrived and my son was looking forward to sharing in the tradition of a fellow classmate that included hopping on the train and going to the beach! I, on the other hand, was not so motivated. Schlepping towels and sunscreen and coolers and snacks and changes of clothes, just to get there, and then bringing it all back wet and covered with sand. Yeah, not the biggest fan which is probably why I don’t live in Miami anymore. But, we were invited and the other families going are awesome and dear friends so I knew I would at least have good company and my son would have fun. There are lifeguards on the beach and flags set up that designate where it is safe to swim and not safe to swim. We situated ourselves in the green zone and set to telling the kids the rules. Growing up on the beach, I always had a decent respect for the ocean, not just because of the immensity, but because the ocean can be a very dangerous place. The rules were important. Stay where you can stand, stay with the group, stay within the green zone, and then a quick note about riptides or rip currents as they are sometimes called. Again, growing up in Miami, and taking my kids there a couple times a year, this was not new information. If you feel yourself getting pulled out, don’t panic, and swim parallel to the shore. Easy, right? Slathered in sun screen, off went the Four Musketeers, digging holes and jumping waves, finding hermit crabs, and burying their mates up to their necks! Here’s my son after being buried:

Castles made of boys!

Castles made of boys!

He looks like he’s having a blast, even with a mouthful of sand. The image of just his head peeking out above the sand however, sent shivers down my body because only moments before his head was peeking out just above the water. He had gone out a little too far. I called out to him to come back in a bit closer. Those of you who know me, know he didn’t have trouble hearing me, but he did have trouble coming back in. I was close to the shore already, but now I was ankle deep in the water that was dubbed “way too freaking cold” only a few minutes earlier. I didn’t feel the temperature as I continued to call out to my son and walk deeper in to the water. At the same time, a stranger, a father, was watching what was happening and he too entered the water. He reached my son first and calmly asked if he was having trouble and my son said yes. I reached them in what seemed like an eternity to help my son out of the water. I thanked the stranger, and so did my son, and we made our way to the shore. My son swears that I have never told him about rip currents, that I have never explained countless times what to do if you feel the pull, and although I know I have, it makes sense. He was scared. I was scared. Thankfully no one panicked and he was ok, and eager to get back in to the water to clean the sand out of his ears after being buried by his pals, but I was definitely shaken. I realize that the next time we go to the ocean, not only will I explain the rules to them (for the thousandth time), but I am actually going to make the kids act out what can happen and what they should do if they get caught. It needs to be worked into your muscle memory, which is why there exists businesses based on simulations! Don’t just talk to your kids about swim safety, let them act it out. There have already been a few drownings in the area since the official start of summer, and that’s enough to make all of us take note, and more than enough for me to squeeze my kid a little closer today.

Stay well.

Shark to the rescue!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:11-04:00 June 24th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

Shark-aid!!

Shark-aid!!

I received an email from the mom of a new Shark Totem owner that made me smile, and she was gracious enough to let me share it with you!

[Daughter] saw/heard me writhing in pain because of a foot cramp… she ran over to check on me and then came running back with her Shark.. and said Mommy hold my Totem Tamer. It will calm you down so the pain stops.. SO CUTE! and by the way… it did! Cramp stopped!”

Now what could be better than that? Even just the suggestion from her daughter was helpful, and that her daughter connected so deeply with Shark is the best validation and testimonial there is!!

Stay well.

If you don’t have a Shark Totem to help with your foot cramps (or anything else for that matter), click on the Shark to your left and order one today!!

 

Is that a Totem in your pocket?

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:12-04:00 June 20th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

There’s a feeling that is almost indescribable when I witness my kids going after what they want, it’s almost like an electric calm. My fingers are abuzz, my heart may beat a tad bit faster, but it’s as though no one else in the room exists except for my kid and whatever activity they are about to engage in. My oldest graduated Middle School on Wednesday, and he was asked to speak, and I am still beaming! As we were walking out the door to head to graduation, I asked him if he wanted a Totem to keep with him. He stopped for a second as if to consider this, and then decided he would in fact take Bear, and keep it in his pocket. I was thrilled, of course, and also glad that my son was allowing for some nerves to creep in for his upcoming speech. I always have my Totems with me, usually all four (yes, my bag is heavy), but sometimes just one, always, just in case. Maybe that’s why I carry this sense of calm with me. Maybe that’s why when the principal called my son and his female counterpart up to the stage to prepare for their speeches, and I watched as my kid put his hand to his head and walk off the stage to the side, I didn’t freak. Sure there was a moment where I thought something must be really wrong, but with a deep breath, and a reach into my Totem-heavy bag to pull out the extra copy of the speech I had brought, I made my way to the front of the auditorium. My son looked at me with his beautiful blue-green eyes, that look that could turn to panic at any second, he let out an exhale as I handed him the speech. His copy was somewhere in the auditorium where he had left it after practicing. The next look on my boy’s face was priceless, and for a moment my SuperMom cape was visible and weighted with a lifetime of kissed boo-boo’s, hugs, catches from too-high ledges, and rescues that we may not remember but will always feel. He took to the stage and proceeded to make the room laugh, to make the room ponder, and to make his Grandma, Dad, two brothers and his Mom, as proud as we could be without bursting. I grinned with relief as the room erupted with applause for the graduates, and I was grateful for the Totem in my kids’ pocket that kept him level-headed, and for my Totems, that always keep me electrically calm. Whew!

He did it!! (We did it!)

He did it!! (We did it!)

Stay well.

You can feel calm, too! Our Totems are heavy enough to feel great in your hands, but not so heavy as to be a simple presence in your pocket for whenever you might need it. Click on one of the images to the left and buy one today!

"Pomp and circumstance" or "my baby is graduating middle school!"

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:12-04:00 June 18th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

Totems, Tassel, Teenager!

Totems, Tassel, Teenager!

That’s the cap my son will be wearing, sans Totems, as he graduates 8th grade today and heads to high school in the fall. I can’t believe it. How did my little mush of a baby boy grow to be way taller than me? My pride has no words because there just aren’t enough, he inspires me and teaches me every day how to be a better parent. Sometimes that lesson comes by way of him screwing up and me realizing that I should have, could have, done it differently. Sometimes that lesson comes from moments where he is recognized for being the outstanding person he is becoming.

Totems and Treasures!

Totems and Treasures!

One of those awards is for Graduation Speaker, yes, my boy is going to get up in front of his classmates and family and speechify! He was one of four kids selected to speak, and I couldn’t be prouder. I took a peek at the speech, partly because I wanted to make sure there was nothing terribly inappropriate in it, and partly because I figured it would help me cry less if I read it ahead of time. In the speech he quotes Neil Peart of the band, Rush, and brings the quote full circle comparing his friends and classmates to seeds in a garden. The he gives a big thank you and says “I wouldn’t be where I am without you and I don’t want to be anywhere else than where I am right now.” Yeah, you’re right, I’m going to cry no matter what, but they are tears of happiness and pride, and sadness that another teeny bit of my baby boy is growing up. One good part is that he’s almost big enough to carry me now! I love you, my son, and can’t wait to see what else you have in store!

Stay well.

Interesting article on why our children may be so "fidgety."

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:12-04:00 June 13th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

This blog post was shared by several mom friends on Facebook. It makes a lot of sense and will hopefully open up some eyes as to what our children would really benefit from when it comes to difficulty maintaining focus and staying alert in school. Many have commented that ADD/ADHD is more prevalent now than it was years ago because the children of today don’t move as much and get enough physical activity. I took my boys out late one night a couple weeks ago to play some frisbee. My almost 8-year-old spent most of the time running up a hill and then rolling down the hill. Over and over and over again! It was a blast and we all felt great because we were being active. My son keeps asking when we go back to that hill again, yes, broken wrist and all! I know the value in physical activity and can see it reflected in the moods of my children compared to a day when we’ve decided to “take it easy” and hang out at home. Often, I will tell them that we need to just go out and get some air and move around a little, because if not, I can foresee the meltdowns ahead. So read the article, and get out there and move!!

Totems ready to move!

Totems ready to move!

Stay well.

Need a Totem? Click on the images on the left hand side and pick one out today!!

 

Totem Tamers presents WARRIOR WEDNESDAY!

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:12-04:00 June 11th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

Here we are again, another week, another search for a WARRIOR. Last week, I implored all of us to become WARRIORS as we continue to hear of stories of our children hurting other children. The week before that, I WARRIOR-ed (yes, I can make it a verb if I want to) the father of a boy who was killed in a shooting in California. Well, son of a bitch if we aren’t in the same place again, with two school shootings in the last week. I am practically speechless! Thankfully, I do have the power of speech, and the right to speak, and so do we all, and we need to speak up and speak out that we cannot allow what seems to be an epidemic to continue! I often hesitate at the word WARRIOR, because it conjures up an image of a soldier, or someone in a battle, but the reality is, we are in a battle now, and we are losing. There are people dying, young people, and it’s not ok. The gun lobbyists say that it isn’t the weapon that’s violent, that it’s the person, and we need to treat the person, not the weapon. If that’s the case, why make it so easy for people to access guns? Don’t you think that’s the bigger issue?! How did a 14-year-old kid get a hold of an AR-15 and loads of ammunition? Many people sit around wanting to know the explanation, that there must have been a reason, something must have made him snap. You know what? I don’t give a shit what made him snap, what I do care about is that somewhere along the way he decided that he wanted to shoot and kill people, and himself, and he was able to accomplish that with ease. That is what scares me! You talk about background checks, you talk about waiting periods, you talk about permits and licensing, yet there is no evidence that any of these supposed protections are even in place, and they are definitely not working! Look, I am an American, I love this country, even for all the screwed up things in it, and yes, that means healthcare (we are trying though, it’s just going to take some time), that means people who are discriminated against for who they love, that means people who are born with physical limitations that still have to fight for the right to safely access a building, and yes, that also includes the constitution, which even though it was written a very long time ago, still is the basis of our nation. That means, the right to bear arms. I have no interest in guns, but I made that an informed decision. I had the chance to shoot rifles at sleep away camp, I was even a pretty good shot. That was almost fun. As an adult though, I had the opportunity to shoot a revolver and even a 9-milimeter. Scared me to tears. The power in the gun was so overwhelming, that I ended up excusing myself from the gun range. Some people enjoy it, I am not one of them. The notion that my son, who is 14, might decide that someone should die, and could probably go out on the streets of New York City and secure a weapon to carry that out, is even scarier than being at a gun range. It’s not ok, and we need to speak up to do something about it! I shared the link a couple weeks ago to help you reach out to Congress, who according to President Obama is “terrified of the NRA”, and tell them how you feel. NOT ONE MORE! You are a WARRIOR in this battle right alongside me, and we need to stand together and protect our children.

Stay well.

I will step off my soapbox, but as I do, I will ask that you take a peek at our Totems to the left. They are a great calming tool, and clearly at this moment, I am struggling with remaining calm, but grateful for my Totems!

All's well until the parents show up!

By | 2014-06-08T13:36:37-04:00 June 8th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

Earlier this week, my youngest son ended up in Urgent Care with what turned out to be a broken wrist. He was awesome and thankfully so was the experience at Urgent Care. Not so much for another little boy that was there at the same time. His experience reminded me of some others, and then the epiphany hit! Here’s this boy, who couldn’t have been older than four or five, with a wad of paper towels held to his forehead. He’s totally chill (likely in a little shock) and just sort of waiting for the nurse to check him out. He’s with his baby sitter, who was also chill (likely freaked out but definitely being less attentive than she should have been) and waiting for the boy’s parents to show up. The nurse comes in and starts to set up for what she’s about to see and treat, she puts her gloves on and gets a tray ready with gauze and cleansing solution and whatever else she might need. She has the boy release the paper towels and she gives an audible “Oh my!” Well that was the wrong thing to do of course, and in my opinion she needed a lesson on how to deal with children. She was young and had the nerve to say to this kid “Now don’t you cry. I have a 2-year-old and he don’t cry.” I know, you’re proud of me for not pushing my way into the room, aren’t you? I came close!! Needless to say, the kid wasn’t crying, at all. He was now holding the gauze to his head and asking all kinds of questions about what was on the tray. I thought that this kid was so brave and courageous and keeping it together. Then his parents showed up. That was it, the boy lost his shit. Don’t get me wrong, now he knew he could fall apart because his parents were there and they would provide the comfort and nurturing he needed and deserved. Sadly though, now that he was falling apart, it became a whole lot more difficult to treat him. That’s when I remembered when my middle son broke his wrist (I have three boys, it happens) and I wasn’t in town, and neither was his Dad, the sitter was in charge and she’s the best! A dear family friend, who is a doctor, came over to assess, and realized immediately that his wrist was broken and they needed the emergency room. My son was a rock, and a rock star. The family friend commented at how my son kept it together and didn’t cry once and really took the whole thing in stride. Ding ding ding!! Is it possible it had something to do with the fact that neither of his parents were there? Maybe!! I was certainly heartbroken at not being there, but my boy assured me that he was ok. Then I remembered when my Mom took me to college my freshman year. Go ‘Cuse! She was going to stay for a couple days to move me in and then head back to Miami. Suddenly, the second day there, I came down with some gastro-related illness and ultimately ended up in the health center. My mom, sensing that I was probably just really nervous, and also having a plane to catch, decided that I was in good hands and that she was leaving. Sure I was hurt and disappointed that my mother would just up and leave while I was in a strange new city with tons of people I didn’t know and not feeling well, but it was apparently the right thing to do. I was up and out of that health center, likely within an hour of her leaving, and I never looked back! I needed to be strong, brave, and courageous, and I couldn’t do that for myself while she was still tending to me. It all makes sense now. I think back to the brave boy in Urgent Care who was now a puddle of tears and anxiety, and I’m glad his parents were with him, but I suspect it might have been easier to treat him if they had conveniently waited outside for a while longer. I’m not suggesting that as parents we leave our children to fend for themselves, but it might be helpful for parents to consider that kids tend to be a whole lot tougher when they have to be. My two cents for today!

Stay well.

Don’t have a Totem to help you through moments of overwhelming emotions? Click on any of the Totems on the left to order one today!!

Dem bones, dem bones, dem broken bones.

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:13-04:00 June 6th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

X-ray vision!

X-ray vision!

Wednesday afternoon I went to pick up my little one, who would glare at me for calling him little, he is 7 3/4 year old, after all! Anyway, he hurries over to me and says “Hi Mom! I broke my arm today. I’m going to go play!” Off he went, he didn’t seem too concerned, so I wasn’t either. About 20 minutes later he came back and had that face that parents know all too well. You know the one where they look like they might cry but since all their friends are around they are going to try super hard and suck it up? Yeah, it was that face. So I looked at his wrist, and didn’t see anything remarkable. I assumed it was a sprain or just a major bruise. Home we went to ice it and of course play nursemaid! He seemed ok and was using his hand, wrist, arm, etc., which confirmed my initial unprofessional diagnosis that it wasn’t broken. When my boy continued to complain the next day, I thought we better get it looked at, so we went to Urgent Care. Urgent Care is awesome because they are free-standing walk-in clinics that will take you on the spot and they can handle everything from broken bones to stitches, so I knew we could at least get an X-ray. Even my son could pick out the spot on the X-ray that looked “funny.” His wrist had cracked and it was suspected that it was right along the growth plate, which meant we needed to see an orthopedist today. When my friends started checking in, they all said “If you need a guy, I’ve got a great one!” Sadly, I have been through this before with each of my other boys, so we had a guy too, except she’s a girl, and she rocks, but she wasn’t available! So now the panic sets in for Mommy! I was doing ok for the most part since prior experience lends itself to calm, but now that our regular doctor wasn’t available, I was worried we would end up having to go through the weekend with a roughly set soft cast. I started making calls and getting passed from one office to another. I finally had one office tell us to come right in! Turns out he’s some superstar sports doc, and has written books and been on TV! Funny how he managed to fit us in when several others couldn’t. He got a big thumbs up from a friend who has a practice in Jersey (yeah, good friend, but I wasn’t going to Jersey) so I was sure we were in good hands. When Dr. Jordan Metzl walked into the examining room with a big “Duuuudes,” I was momentarily put off. Then I realized, he wasn’t there for me, he was there for my kid, who was immediately engaged and eager to tell his story. That’s a great bedside manner. Turns out there was a fracture along the growth plate, and my boy is now in a cast for three weeks, but thanks to Dr. Metzls’ chill nature, it was not a big deal!

Black casts are cool!

Black casts are cool!

As the doctor knocked on the cast to make sure it was hardened, my son said “Hey, I could use it for knock-knock jokes!” We all agreed that was a better choice than using it as a weapon on his brothers. So yes, I was anxious that it was going to be a traumatic experience, but grateful that everyone remained calm, cool, and collected! So I hope you never need an orthopedist, but just in case, I’ve got one, or two, and if you’re willing to go to Jersey, make that three!

Stay well.

Dr. Metzl was eager to hear about Totem Tamers for anxiety relief, so I promised to bring a couple when we go to the cast off. Do you have a Totem? Click on the left to get one now!

This WARRIOR is shaken.

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:13-04:00 June 4th, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

It’s Wednesday, and as usual, every week I look for stories to share, whether from people in my own life, or people out in the world, who are WARRIORS. What is a WARRIOR? Well, it could be anyone really, but it’s typically someone who is working hard to overcome some obstacle in their life, or doing something remarkable to help others. Should be fairly simple to find them you would think, but sadly, it’s a weekly struggle. Sure I could give you tales of sweetness, like the one about the little girl whose ice cream cone fell to the ground. She’s standing there in tears, looking from the melting ice cream on the pavement to her best friend who is holding tightly to her own cone. The best friend, without hesitation, offers a lick and says “We can share!” How sweet, right? Except it isn’t true, it didn’t happen, I made it up. I have hope that it would happen, but it’s hard to maintain that some days, especially when I am reading horror stories. Yes, it’s true, there is a story surfacing now about a couple of twelve-year-old girls who lured another girl into the woods so they could stab her with the ultimate goal of killing her, in the name of some made-up character online called, Slenderman. What shook me to the core, as if these pre-teens plotting to murder a friend wasn’t enough, was that I knew exactly who this made-up character was! I sat there in awe reading the story, because my kids have talked about it and shown me videos, and I am left thinking, what went right in my house, and what went horribly wrong in the homes of those girls. My oldest came home a long time ago talking about Slenderman, and showing these truly creepy videos. At no time, NO TIME, did it ever occur to him, that he should borrow a kitchen knife, lure a buddy into Central Park and stab him 19 times. At no time, NO TIME, was I ever concerned that he would.  And as I sit here writing and watching news clips, I realize that my son actually went dressed as Slenderman two Halloweens ago.

Harmless costume or wicked inspiration?

Harmless costume or wicked inspiration?

That’s something creepy right there for sure, now that this character has been associated with an awful, unspeakable true crime, as opposed to fantasy. But again, I wonder what must have been happening in the homes of those 12-year-olds, that no one noticed. They allegedly planned for months what they were going to do, and no one noticed. Am I pointing fingers at their parents, their other friends and neighbors, their schoolmates, teachers, etc.? You’re damn right I am!! I am no expert, but I would venture a guess that in most violent crimes committed by young people (and there have sadly been so many lately) there are signs, there are clues. Where are their WARRIORS? Who is protecting them? Who is guiding them and teaching them? I am not a perfect parent, I know my kids will make choices in their lives that I won’t agree with, but I would like to think that if heaven forbid one of them was in a place where they might hurt themselves or someone else, that I would know about it, and do something about it! I am WARRIOR to my children, and the children of my friends, and the children in my community, and you should be too!

Stay well.

A lesson among the flowers.

By | 2018-04-07T23:24:13-04:00 June 2nd, 2014|Life, Uncategorized|

I am grateful to live in New York City for many different reasons, but chief among them is the opportunity to be out and about on foot witnessing all the sights and sounds this bustling metropolis has to offer. Sure there are plenty of places I still haven’t been to (Staten Island, Coney Island, to name a few), but even in my little neck of the woods there is plenty to see. The trick though, is to actually look. Today is a beautiful day, and I found myself walking some errands (I wasn’t running, so that cliche didn’t really work) when I noticed some lovely flowers planted outside a brownstone. I noticed them, “Pretty,” I said in my head. They were thriving, and there were yellow ones and purple ones, and I noticed them, and I kept walking on my way. Then it actually registered. What I had noticed, were not yellow flowers and purple flowers planted together in the same flower bed, they were yellow and purple flowers! I know, sounds confusing, so I turned and walked back, not caring that I was on my way to an appointment, because I had to make sure my mind wasn’t playing tricks on me. Well, no tricks this time!

Flower Power!

Flower Power!

I was struck that each flower had what seemed to be three yellow petals and two purple ones on the same stem! I don’t know what this flower is, so if you do, please let me know. All I know is that I began to think about how as a culture we often get uncomfortable when we see objects (whether people, foods, or things) that we don’t expect to see together, in the same place. This could be as simple as mayo on a hot dog (blech!), or as complex as an interracial couple, for example. I am hopeful that our current societal culture is evidence that different makeups of families are now more the norm than anything. Kids with two moms or two dads, kids that have only one parent, adopted children from other countries, these are all things that at least my children, don’t question. I am grateful for that, but I also hope that even though they don’t question, that they at minimum take notice and see how beautiful something can be, even if we don’t originally think it belongs. But never mayo on a hot dog, never.

Stay well.

What Totem do you connect with? If you don’t have one yet, click on any of the four images to the left and get one today!