Swan Mothers

Discovering Ourselves through Parenting

Perfect Son

The Perfect SonThe Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wonderful, beautiful, heart-warming story. I was teary more than once.

Ella, the wife and mother who’d been managing everything and holding it all together for her son and husband has a heart attack. And . . . “Rightly or wrongly, she believed her life was in danger. Which left Felix [the husband/father] facing the real ghoul under the bed—his true self.” I enjoyed witnessing Felix’s journey of self-discovery and his evolving relationship with his son, Harry.

I LOVED the voices of the young people in this novel. They were so aware — children who’d been raised on therapy and by parents who read plenty of parenting and advice books. They were also fun and fresh and sweet. “Sammie looked at Harry and they both giggled. And in that shared moment, nothing mattered beyond the school rule about personal displays of affection. And his almost first kiss. When could he try again?”

Highly recommended, especially for mothers of children whose needs are particularly intense, and those who love and want to understand them — though, to be clear, this book is not preachy in any way. It’s simply a great story in which the characters have diagnosed and/or undiagnosed Tourettes, ADHD, and OCPD.

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Forgiving Myself My Own Ignorance

IMG_5803.jpgIt takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.
Thomas Sowell

When my daughter was born one week before my twenty-ninth birthday, I thought I was prepared for motherhood. I’d been a youth group leader and camp counselor since I was fourteen. For years, I taught kindergarten in Saturday school. Since becoming pregnant, I’d doggedly perused the 649 shelf in the library, hauling home and reading dozens of parenting books. I knew what to expect during my baby’s first year.

Scratch that. I was familiar with timelines for normal development. I had read about infant behaviors. I had developed a how-to-parent-a-newborn plan. And I was wholly unprepared to be a mother. I had expectations, for my child and myself. I thought having an agenda was a good thing.

Let’s raise children who won’t have to recover from their childhood.
Pam Leo

Within a few days of being home with my much-wanted, instantly-loved child, I yelled at her. She had been screaming for hours. I had changed her, nursed her, rocked her, left her in the crib for a bit, sung to her. In my ignorance, I never considered that she might be in physical or emotional pain, that there could be a reason for her distress. I was failing — so soon! — at being the kind of mother I had prepared to be, the kind I was supposed to be.

Immediately after I yelled, I lay on the bed beside her, and joined her in despondent weeping.

Education: the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty.
Mark Twain

Almost two decades have passed. I think I have forgiven myself for that horrible lapse of self-control, the abhorrent dearth of understanding, but I continue to regret it. My children are my greatest teachers, and I continue to remember the profound lesson: I have much to learn. Always.

This post was inspired by Forgiveness Prompts For #1000Speak January Link-up. #1000Speak is a group of bloggers from all over the world are coming together to talk about compassion on the 20th of each month. The above is my first contribution.

I write about my parenting journey, and the journeys of other mothers, in Swan Mothers: Discovering Our True Selves by Parenting Uniquely Magnificent Children.

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The Memo

I didn’t get the memo…
The one that said
There is an us
And them…
The one that said
Different Is bad
Or scary
Or inferior.
I’m afraid
I am Terribly out of step,
But I didn’t know
That it’s not about
How we play the game,
Because winning
Is all That Matters.
And winners […]


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Every Generous Moment Heals the Heart

Every Generous Moment Heals the Heart   No matter who is doing the healing, whether it is a master Reiki master, a Greek angel, or a two-year-old baby, the essence that heals is the same. The healing force is love, offered from the highest intention, and founded on the truth that under it all, as […]


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Determined to Do 2016 Differently

Even with clear awareness that life is about the journey, not a destination, I want to get where I’ve been going, be who I’ve been becoming, if only for a few days, revel in achievement.


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Parenting Poem

The greater grief

first we have our childhood wounds to heal,
then far more harrowing, our grief
for the wounds our children have to bear
wounds inflicted by our action or neglect
or by giving them what we wanted for ourselves
when they needed something altogether

Elizabeth Cunningham, from her newest collection of poetry So Ecstasy Can Find You

I adore everything Elizabeth writes. Check out her novels and poetry books Elizabeth Cunningham author.

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Purple Profusion 

field of filaments
purple sparkles icy dew
colors yellowing grass

#iseebeauty #micropoetry

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Early Intervention

“When autism can be recognized and identified early, the parents have a golden opportunity to begin working to understand the child they actually have.”

Exactly! We can learn how to parent the children we have and love.

Unstrange Mind

We were discussing early diagnosis/identification and early intervention/therapy over on the Facebook forum for this blog and a reader, Megen Porter, made a deeply insightful comment: “It’s almost like early identification is important so you can intervene on yourself as a parent.”

What a brilliant way to put it, Megen! Thank you!

The standard meaning of the phrase early intervention is to jump in with hours and hours of therapy to try to get an Autistic child to be “indistinguishable from peers” as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. This means extinguishing Autistic behaviors, even absolutely harmless ones that are beneficial to the Autistic person but embarrassing or off-putting to onlookers, the classic example of which is hand flapping.

But Megen put a lovely spin on things by pointing out that it is the parents who need the early intervention. When autism can be recognized and identified early, the parents…

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Wondering Why I Write


Wednesday Woman Writer

Weeping Wednesday Whiner

Wondering Why I Write

I published a book in 2012. Self-. Because four carefully-selected publishers rejections were enough. Because I knew (I’d seen it in my meditations) that thousands of mothers needed to read our stories. I could not delay. Or so I believed while the gremlins laughed.

Swan Mothers was all about me, of course. It was also all about us. “Discovering Our True Selves” was the subtitle. I knew with every word I wrote that I was writing for my tribe: mothers awakened by autism, women enlightened through parenting, evolving humans transforming themselves and the world.

Almost four years later, I wonder again/still: why did I write at all? Why did I bare my heart, expose my family, reveal my fears and tears, my illusions, dreams, and delusions, for all to see?

My community knows, or can know. My friends see, or can see. I’ve left the door unlocked, and for $2.99, strangers can come and tour my soul.

It’s out there. In print and on the internetwebs. Impossible to recall.

I question why I published, why I let that story, so personal, so revealing, out into the world. It has not reached the millions I knew it would. It has not transformed the world.

And yet, I don’t regret the writing. My writing coach and time in circle opened me, recalled for and to me what I’d hidden: I am a writer. As the sea churns, dark and murky, as my heart breaks for the failed book, I am, miraculously, magically, mysteriously inspired to write again.

You may also be interested in the post I wrote on the one year anniversary of the publication of Swan Mothers:

The Story of Writing a Book



Summer Eating Ideas for Feeding Your Children Well

Through the years, my eating/feeding philosophy changed many times as I acquired new information.  I found “all or nothing” approaches difficult to maintain.  I like to be able to eat what is served when we are visiting family or friends or traveling.

At home, we eat mainly whole, organic foods, buying as many locally produced items as possible.  I enjoying preparing food for my family, but I also like to keep things simple.  Pizza night keeps me sane and eager to cook again.

There is no eating plan that suits every philosophy or family, but there are some guidelines that benefit almost everyone:

1.       Eat locally grown, whole foods as often as possible.

2.       Eat lots of fruit and vegetables.

3.       Healthy fats and oils are important for developing children and brains, hearts, and arteries.  Include pastured meats, butter from pastured animals, coconut oil, and fish oils in your diet.

4.       Processed foods (anything that comes in a can or box) should be kept to a minimum.

5.       Gluten, the protein in wheat, seems to cause problems in many people.  Look at your menu and make at least one meal a day wheat-free (no bread or pasta).

6.       Eating at home is the best way to know what you’re eating. Most restaurant foods are full of partially-hydrogenated fats and other unhealthy additives.

In the summer, when most children are home, it is possible to introduce healthy eating habits. Consider trying one of the above ideas. And if you have super-picky eaters or children with oral sensitivities, see When Your Child Won’t Eat:  Help for Resistant Eaters.

Two-Part Breakfast

It is best to eat fruit on an empty stomach. It digests quickly and easily and, thus, can cause stomach upset when eaten at the end of a meal.

When children first want to eat, serve fruit. Serving only one kind of fruit is best for digestion.

Some fun and easy suggestions:

  • Serve strawberries or blueberries topped with sweetened sour cream
  • Sprinkle thinly sliced apples or pears with cinnamon
  • Make little cubes of kiwi or mango

The next time children are hungry, serve eggs. Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on Earth. The yolk is the food that grows a baby bird. Experiment with a variety of preparation methods to discover some your child enjoys.

  • Scrambled with some fresh herbs and cheese
  • Poached over sautéed spinach
  • Sunny side up on a piece of buttered toast

Healthy Snack Ideas

It is easy to rely on packaged foods for snacks. Nature provides plenty of foods in their own packages – though we can make them more desirable to children with a little preparation.

  • Celery, carrots, cucumbers, radishes, peppers (and any other vegetable) a creamy dip. It is easy to prepare one at home by mixing sour cream and mayonnaise with a healthy seasoning mix. Or, try dipping veggies in hummus.
  • Apples and peanut butter.
  • Puree berries with a bit of sweetener and pour into popsicle molds. Freeze and serve healthy frozen treats. Yogurt may be added for a creamy treat.
  • Cut up melon.
  • Frozen grapes or berries.

This summer, introduce your children to a new food or a new way to look at breakfast or snack time. Take your children shopping at the Farmers’ Market. Encourage them to pick a new fruit or vegetable to try. Enjoy the bounty of the season.

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