Happy 4th of July from Totem Tamers!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:27-04:00 July 4th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bears, civil rights, Liberty, Life, military, mind/body, nyc, soccer|

I was lucky enough to enjoy a soccer game with my kids and dear friends yesterday at Yankee Stadium, which feels American in and of itself. There were peanuts and popcorn and lots of rah-rah’s! It also happened to be Military Appreciation Day at the NYCFC (New York City Football Club) game, so we were blissfully serenaded with our national anthem by the Sergeants Choir which was just awesome.

Bear waits for the flag!

Bear waits for the flag!

There were many members of the military on the field and it was heartwarming to watch the entire stadium rise to their feet even before the announcer asked everyone to rise.

Bear watches as the flag unfurls!

Bear watches as the flag unfurls!

This was definitely a beautifully choreographed scene and then it took an interesting turn, this was no ordinary flag!

American flag of America!

American flag of America!

The flag is in the shape of the United States of America!!! Never seen that one before and it was awesomely patriotic!

Celebrate safely my Totem Tamers friends, and marvel at the world we live in and keep those who are suffering and struggling and living in fear in your thoughts and prayers. We fought for independence but we are dependent on each other to stay safe.

Stay well.

Paris in our hearts and on our minds.

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:54-04:00 November 14th, 2015|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, brothers, death, family, gun violence, hate crime, Liberty, Life, loss, military, nyc, parenthood, parenting, politics, prayer, soccer, totems, travel, Uncategorized, victim|

We wake up to a new day, the sun shining in New York City, a chilly wind providing shivers and reminders that winter is around the corner. Those shivers hardly distinguishable from the ones I’ve experienced since last night while following the tragic, and horrific attacks that took place in Paris. I can only consume the news in small doses, and find that watching it is even too much, so I periodically check Facebook and Twitter for the latest little tidbits. It is just so overwhelming. Some people need to know every detail and not miss any news update, because that’s helpful to them, but not me. A friend’s status update on Facebook  helped me find the words I wanted to share this morning. She was contemplating having the conversations with her children about what was happening in Paris, understanding that her older child would be able to process more info than her younger child. This made me consider how I would talk to my children as well. I know there will be lots of counselors and authorities out there giving their tips and suggestions, and they will all surely be helpful in some way or another. Please know that I am not a psychologist, or a social worker, or some “lettered” authority, I am a parent, and that gives me a voice for my experiences, and gratitude for a forum to share them. This is not about advice, this is not about right or wrong, this is about one person’s process, mine. My youngest (9) is sitting in the other room now, blissfully unaware and playing some game on his computer. I will go to him and plainly give him the facts about what happened in Paris, because opening that communication is more important than protecting him from reality, no matter how horrible. “Honey, I want to tell you what happened in Paris yesterday because you will probably be hearing a lot about it over the next couple days.  There was an attack, and many people were injured and killed by some very angry and very bad people.” That’s how the conversation will start, and then I will take his lead while guiding him along the way. He may ask tons of questions, he may also choose to go right back to watching silly YouTube videos, and that’s perfectly ok. I am all about honesty and being very straightforward with my kids, because I have found that the imagination can color way more horrifying pictures than the truth can. That being said, my almost 16 year old will be able to handle a whole lot more information than my little one, and even my middle one, and he’ll discover it on his own on the internet. So with him, the conversation will surely be different and maybe even more philosophical, but again, he may not want to go into all the details, but I will reassure that I am here to talk if he needs to. The bottom line is giving your children permission to ask questions, and giving yourself permission to being ok with not having the answers. Also, not being afraid to be open with them, even if it is about your own fears. Because sure I’m scared, and that’s reasonable, but I have faith that the people we charge to protect and serve us will do everything they can to protect us, and that’s how I go about my days. That’s what I will share with my children as I pray for their innocence to last just a little bit longer, and as I pray for the people of Paris and the rest of the world while we mourn right along with them.

Praying for Peace in Paris

Praying for Peace in Paris

Stay well.

This is my son's brain, this is my son's brain with anxiety!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:57-04:00 September 15th, 2015|anxiety, childhood, Life, parenting, soccer, sports, stress|

Yes, it’s a dramatic title, because it makes you think of that ridiculous PSA about drugs and the fried egg sizzling in the pan, because everyone knows that drugs will sizzle your brain, right?! (Well, some actually will, my issue was/is more with the message of abstinence. Totally for another post.) Comparison being however, that when my son is anxious, his brain gets totally sizzled. He practically forgets where he is and who he is if he is feeling extreme anxiety. It is so unnerving to witness, and initially infuriating until I’ve figured out that’s what’s going on!! That’s why I talk about this stuff, so maybe it will help you the next time your child claims to have forgotten left from right and you’re pulling your hair out and ready to blow a gasket! There are times when blowing a gasket is important however, and the other day, was one of those times. There were sports tryouts at school, and my kid was eager to have a go, but needed new sneakers. I ended up having to get him a pair during the day with the plan in place to meet him before the tryouts to deliver the shoes. This was where I first noticed the anxiety. My son was not sending me clear text messages as to where he was and where I was to meet him. At one point, he actually texted that he didn’t know how to get from one place in his school to the front door of the school. He’s been going to this school for TWO YEARS!!!! That’s when it became clear he was totally freaked out about the tryouts and his brain was overcome with the anxiety and therefore not functioning at full speed. Recognizing this, helped me release the pressure that had been building inside me with all the confusion, and then when I finally saw him, I was able to help him see how the anxiety was affecting him. We moved quickly getting the new shoes on and even taping his suspected broken toe, and all seemed well and good. Here’s where the blown gasket comes in to play. My boy started to panic that he was late and the tryouts must have already begun and that he wasn’t going to be able to participate because we took too long. The tears were flowing, the jittery hands were going, and the sabotage was coming. This is not a moment when using the calm, nurturing technique will work, at least not for my boy. This is the moment your inner Bobby Knight is needed (or whatever hard-ass coach you choose, minus flying chairs), and you just have to psyche them up in whatever way you can. I gritted my teeth, and lowered my voice, and basically growled at my son that he wasn’t going to miss this opportunity and that he would regret it if he walked away and that he was going to get out there and do the best darn job he could because it mattered to him. And of course, I softly told him I would wait on the other side of the fence and watch and cheer him on. (I’m not a total jerk!) He did it, and he enjoyed himself, and whether he makes the team or not isn’t important anymore. My sweet, sensitive, anxiety-ridden boy, even apologized to me for “losing it”. Anxiety can take many forms, but it doesn’t have to take over!!!

Stay well.

Having a Totem handy can definitely help bring calm in some of the most tense situations. Visit our store https://totemtamers.com/store, and get your Totem today!!

Sometimes parents suck!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:59-04:00 August 5th, 2015|camp, childhood, children, divorce, Life, marriage, parenting, soccer|

I know I’m going to get a lot of pushback on this one, but I can’t seem to stop myself from needing to vent this out!! I will qualify all by saying that I am very blessed to be in the situation that I am with my life and my kids. I have the wonderful ability to be there for them (even when they may not want me to), but the best part of it, is that I WANT to be there! You know why? I like my kids! Sure, I love a break, and my time alone and all that, but really, my kids are pretty cool and I like hanging out with them. Also, there is some tremendous satisfaction watching them grow and interact with others and being there when they screw up and make bad choices. My childhood was anything but easy, but compared to some horrors I’ve heard of, it was pretty mild. I love knowing that my kids experience will be different, and better, for sure. This takes us to this morning where I will gladly set the scene for you and give you a better idea of what my kids childhood looks like. Two out of three kids are home doing a soccer day camp (the oldest is still at sleep away.) Last night, the two youngest were at their Dad’s house, as per our family schedule. This morning, their Dad brings them to my place to get their soccer gear, and me. I pile in to the car right along with them to drop them off at camp. Most of this is just ease because my ex can stay in the car while I walk the boys into the park, and the rest of it is because my kids are just damned lucky that my ex and I have a great co-parenting relationship/friendship. I also needed to sign my little one up for the afternoon soccer tournament, which is a blast to watch because the kids and the coaches get so into it, and any team sport always offers some sort of learning opportunity. Again, I am blessed that I am able to be there in the afternoon to watch the tournament, but again, I wouldn’t want to miss it! There I am filling out the form and paying the fee when I hear a mother next to me ask in an exasperated tone “Do I have to be at the tournament, or can I just come when it’s over?” I couldn’t help myself when I turned to get a look at this woman, who clearly sounded like she was looking for any excuse to not have to show up until the last possible moment, and I said “It’s so fun to watch!” Needless to say, I don’t think I’ve ever seen “bitchy” come across in a look as well as I did in that moment. And there you have my ire! Now of course, it’s entirely possible that she has an ailing parent at home and she never gets any rest and she hasn’t had a shower in days (her hair was indicative, and yes I’m being really catty now), and maybe, just maybe she was hoping to use that extra time to feed the homeless or go downtown and give out clean needles to substance users. Maybe, just maybe, she needed to get her ailing cat to the vet for chemo treatments, or cook a big batch of stew to feed her elderly neighbor. Or maybe, just maybe, she’s a narcissist and has no idea what the face of her child looks like when he/she scores a goal and realizes there’s no one there to witness except a bunch of strangers.

These kids deserve medals even when some of their parents don't!

These kids deserve medals even when some of their parents don’t!

Thank you as always for letting me release some steam, as I try hard to withhold judgement most of the time, or at least most of the time I do it rather quietly. There is no big lesson here folks, just try to love your kids as much as you can because at some point, you won’t get to squeeze and smush them and give them high-fives and kiss their boo-boos and watch their games, because they’ll be all grown up!

Stay well.

I could have used a Totem with me this morning to calm me down, thankfully I was able to take some deep breaths and repeat the rhyme that Totem Tamers offers as a guide to remaining calm. Do you need a reminder? Order a Totem today by clicking on any of the Totems on the page, and keep calm with you always.

Totem Tamers congratulates the 2015 FIFA World Cup Champs: the U.S. Women's Soccer Team!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:03-04:00 July 10th, 2015|championship, FIFA, Life, soccer, sports, US Women's Soccer, world cup|

There has never been a ticker tape parade for a Women’s sports team, until today!

Unbelievable view of parade and ticker tape!  Photo credit:EE

Unbelievable view of parade and ticker tape!
Photo credit:EE

Thousands upon thousands of eager fans lined the streets of New York City to watch the 23-member team parade by on floats. There were grins from ear to ear, and even tears of joy from many in the crowd!

World Champions!!

World Champions!! Photo Credit:PR

Many dignitaries including the mayor, and Governor Cuomo, were on hand to honor the team, all thanks to Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who circulated a letter earlier this week asking for the team to be honored! Robin Roberts, whom I’ve long admired (there was a time I wanted to be a sportscaster) was the emcee of the event (she was also gifted a Totem a while back!) Keys to the City were given, and cheers were sounded, as the masses celebrated this team of women who played brilliantly in the World Cup event. Congrats and thanks for bringing this community together to celebrate your accomplishments!

Stay well.

How about a Totem Tamer Ticker Tape parade? Ok, maybe not, but it’s fun to say Totem Tamer Ticker Tape, isn’t it?! Maybe you still want a Totem, though? Yeah, you do. Just click on any of the Totems on the side of the page and order yours today!