Happy National Dog Day!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:24-04:00 August 26th, 2016|animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bulldogs, dogs, mental health, mind/body|

If you have a dog, celebrate! If you don’t have a dog, rescue! If you can’t have a dog but still want one, Bulldog Totem is the answer! Visit our store https://totemtamers.com/shop to get yours today!

In the meantime enjoy this:

Zeke and Naia say hello!

Zeke and Naia say hello!

Bulldog Totem!

Bulldog Totem!

The love I get from my dog has helped me through some tough times and makes the good times even more special!

Here’s hoping you enjoy National Dog Day!!

Stay well.

Old dog, new human tricks!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:24-04:00 August 21st, 2016|anger management, animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bulldogs, dogs, inspiration, Life, mental health, mind/body, nyc|

Bark at the vroom!

Bark at the vroom!

That’s my doggy there, he’s awesome. He’s cute and fluffy and very smart, most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, put yourself between Zeke and a bone and you will be sorry, but more often than not, he’s just as gentle as a butterfly. When he barks though, it could strike fear into the strongest of man and beast, like the excavator pictured here with Zeke! My sweet and very smart dog barks his best bark at construction vehicles and street cleaners. I often giggle when he does this because he sounds like he can take on the world with all that “woof-woof-ing”, not realizing these vehicles could crush him in a blink. However, the other day when he was taking on the excavator, I didn’t giggle. Instead I watched my dog and saw inspiration in all the commotion. Trying to understand what was behind his barking, I realized it’s likely anxiety because the big machine is moving and making very loud noises and is seemingly threatening. Most of us have likely experienced those same construction bangs and booms, the sound can be very unsettling. What inspired me this time, is that in Zeke’s anxiety, he didn’t back down, he didn’t run away, he didn’t cower. Rather, he stood tall and gave plenty of ferocious ruff-ruff’s and would have continued to do so if I hadn’t pulled him away. Therein lies the lesson, anxiety can be truly crippling, but sometimes facing it straight on is where there is power. For those that struggle with anxiety, you know what it looks like: the sweating, the agitation, the palpitations, the actual freezing in place, the inability to speak, the list of symptoms go on. That’s why Totem Tamers came to be, because I was helpless watching my son experience many of these symptoms, and I knew he needed some tools to help him manage those feelings. When my son has an anxiety attack, thankfully few and far between of late,  he has figured out the way to use the deep breathing and visualization techniques from Totem Tamers to help keep him calm and measured. Sometimes though, you just need to bark, and bark really loudly!! That’s why I hang on to thick magazines and bubble wrap, for example! When any of my kids are needing to let out some aggression or excessive energy, which is often times instigated by anxiety, I put them in a room and give them the magazines to tear to bits, the bubble wrap to stomp on, or just let them bark at the moon if that’s what they need.

Diggin' the Totems!

Diggin’ the Totems!

Now when Zeke tries to take on something that is way bigger than he is, I don’t giggle, I pay attention!

Stay well.

Sticks and stones…..

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:25-04:00 August 13th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, childhood, children, education, family, friends, friendship, mind/body, motherhood, parenthood, parenting, relationships, school, totems|

You know the old rhyme! “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Most kids are taught that one early on in childhood when they have their first experience with name calling. “Mommy, Janie called me a poopy-head!” “Well dear, it’s just a word and as you know, sticks and stones, sticks and stones.” There are others we had too, like “I’m rubber, you’re  glue! Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you!” That one was always bizarre and never really made much sense as a comeback, almost as weird as this exchange: “You’re a poopyhead”, said Mikey. “I know you are, but what am I”, retorted Billy. What? I know you are but what am I? What does that even mean and why do we continue to perpetuate these comebacks when they don’t really deal with the bigger issue at hand. Words can and do hurt! I mean, ok, someone calling you a poopyhead isn’t a big deal in the scheme of things, but there are plenty of harmful words out there that are sometimes used against our children and we are doing them a disservice if we don’t equip them with the tools to handle them. Namely sticks and stones! I’m kidding!!!! Physical violence is never an answer. What I’m getting at though, and what’s super important, is validating your child’s hurt if they come home sad because someone called them “stupid” or “fat” or “ugly” or a “prude” or a “loser” or a “geek” or a “nerd.” What doesn’t work is telling your child that the perpetrator didn’t mean it, or they’re only saying those things because they’re jealous, for example. What your child needs is for you to recognize that no matter what was said to them, they are feeling hurt by it and they need to know that it’s ok to feel hurt. It’s dialogue waiting to happen! “Mom, Timmy called me stupid today in the yard.” “Oh honey! That sounds awful. You seem upset, and that’s totally understandable. Do you want to talk about it?” You can even take it a step further and use the incident to teach some compassion. Talk to your child about what might make “Timmy” want to call other kids hurtful names. Maybe even suggest that “Timmy” might have been having a hard day or tough times at home, and that usually name-calling is a reaction to something deeper going on inside the perpetrator. Sure this might be going a little deep, (and “Timmy” might just be a grade-A jerk) but you can likely gauge what shape your child is in and how much they need from you. It might be enough for them to just hear you say “yeah, that probably sucked a whole lot and I’m sorry it happened.” Bottom line, and this is for any situation, not just when your kids are hurt but when anyone expresses their hurt, validate, validate, validate!!!

Sticks, stones, Totems!

Sticks, stones, Totems!

Stay well.

Music is the stuff of life!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:25-04:00 August 6th, 2016|animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, art, artists, children, classic rock, co-parenting, creativity, Life, Music, nyc, rock and roll, rock n roll|

In the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of witnessing , in one form or another, each of my three kids doing something they love. Rocking!! Music has always been a big part of our family life and has always been something we loved to share. Well, ok maybe not all of the music, but most of it. I don’t expect to be going to a Slipknot concert anytime soon, and my youngest son would sooner eat a tub of mushy green beans than be subjected to any Counting Crows! Either way, there’s always music happening wherever we are. Whether it’s my little one banging out a rhythm on the couch while watching TV, my middle listening to a guitar solo so he can emulate it later, my oldest thumping out a bass line while I’m trying to have a conversation with him, or me singing Broadway tunes while I do the dishes! There are some moments that are beyond priceless, when we all sing a line together, or I hear my boys harmonizing on a tune, then I threaten to get out the Tambourine and rent a tour bus! C’mon get happy!! I can see it, I really can!! Ok fine, it’s not about me, it’s about how in the last few weeks, my kids have taken this gift, this love of music, and individuated from each other and created their own space. My oldest hit a rock band camp for a couple weeks (shout out to NYC Guitar School), where they basically put a band together on Monday and less than two weeks later “Stay Hydrated” is jamming on the stage at a local bar!

"Stay Hydrated"!

“Stay Hydrated”!

You’ll have to forgive the photos, they’re all kind of lame but I was seeing through tears anyway so the blurriness is fitting!! The show was super fun and the lights and the smoke machine was a dream realized for my teenager. Up next is my middle, who is attending a weekday sleep away camp (shout out to Campus Kids!), where he excitedly called to tell me he and his pal were going to perform in the talent show. Even though I couldn’t be there to hear them do “How to save a life” by The Fray, the camp is awesome about posting pictures! I did crop out the pal because I didn’t ask permission to post (even though I’m sure I would have gotten it.)

My middle "saving a life"

My middle “saving a life”

Last but certainly not least, my youngest kid had such a good time watching his oldest brother on stage, he decided he was going to rock band camp, too!! So off he strutted with his drumsticks (given to him by a highly regarded NYC drummer) and had an unbelievable experience with his band called “Gus”! Kids ages 8-11 and they managed tunes by AC/DC and Foo Fighters!

Keeping the beat!

Keeping the beat!

There is nothing as magical as watching your child doing something they love and I am thankful that they each have found something that they can share with each other while maintaining their individuality! Music just happens to be what works in my family, in terms of bringing us all together. Maybe for yours it’s baseball, or geocaching. Whatever it is, find something that you can all enjoy together and you will make a lifetime of wonderful memories. Me? I’m off to get that tambourine!!

Totems in tune!

Totems in tune!

Stay well.

If anxiety keeps you off the stage, maybe you should get a Totem!! Visit our store to find your calm https://totemtamers.com/shop!