The Cultured Seed

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Swinging Back into Balance January 10, 2011

Filed under: Cultivator's Corner — theculturedseed @ 10:29 pm
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Happy new year my friends! Woooh, what a holiday season. I was looking forward to it and we had fun, but now I am soooo glad that it is over. Now we can get back to business as usual – well as usual as usual gets. For the start of 2011 I’ve got a new baby to contend with, grad school starts today and I am back to work next week, the fun never ends!

We are almost half way through January and most of us are still trying to swing the pendulum back into balance; adjusting diets, making resolutions around fitness, and redefining life and career goals. Our kids are also adjusting to our adjustments, which make for even more adjusting on our parts! Reading today’s Daily Om reminded me of this. The holidays often compel us to do extra’s, thereby setting an example of overindulgence for our children. Here is a little food for thought as you shed light on your personal motivations and work to find a place of balance for you and your little ones.

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Daily OM

Too Many Things
Spoiling Our Children

[http://www.dailyom.com/articles/2011/26696.html]

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When you spoil your children with material goods, where is that motivation coming from, your own inner child?
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One of the greatest things about children is that they have the ability to entertain themselves for long periods of time with something as simple as a cardboard box, a container, or a set of measuring spoons. It makes you wonder why we feel the need to buy them so many toys that they won’t even have time to play with them all before they grow out of them. Often, if we take the time to question our compulsion to constantly give our children new toys and clothes, and to spoil them with food that is not even good for them, we will find that we are trying to fill up the space to avoid our own difficult feelings and pain. If you feel yourself wanting to spoil your child with material possessions, take a moment and see if you can feel where your motivation is coming from.

We may be inundating our children with things they don’t need out of our own desire to create a feeling of abundance that was lacking in our own childhood, or out of a need to feel liked by our children. Both of these motives tend to be unconscious, stemming from unresolved issues from our own upbringing or even our adult life. These unresolved feelings naturally come up when we find ourselves in the role of a parent, often as our child reaches the age we were when these traumas were most pronounced. Spoiling your children will not save you or make your pain disappear, only acknowledging and working on your emotional issues can do that. What our children really need us to provide for them is both a sense of safety and a sense of freedom and love of which there can never be too much. If we are able to do this well, material possessions need not take center stage.

We all want to provide our children with a good and happy life, but most of us know deep down that material possessions play a very small role. We confuse our children when we seek to make them happy through buying them things. When we do this, they take our cue that happiness comes in the form of toys and treats, rather than in the joy of being alive, surrounded by love, and free to explore the world.



 

What’s in a Name? June 10, 2010

Filed under: Cultivator's Corner — theculturedseed @ 6:18 am
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So it’s official – “Tiny Turbo” is a boy. I knew it and so did Arya. When we found out numero deuce was on the way we asked Arya, “Is it a boy or a girl?” She replied “a booooy”. We thought maybe she just said that because boy was the first thing we said, so we would ask her periodically and switch it up, boy-girl-girl boy, but the answer was always the same “a booooy,” which was said with this smug little grin like “I know something you don’t know and I’m going to tell you!” Funny little intuitive baby.

Can you see that little arrow? Supposedly his business. Hmmmm...

After some bad positioning kept Tiny Turbo’s business hidden at my routinely scheduled 16-week check up, Eric and I were even more determined to find out. So we booked the 3D/4D ultrasound at a private clinic called Prenatal Peek, in Torrance. We hadn’t done this with Arya because I was too freaked out by how crazy the babies look in high definition, but this little sucker was going to cooperate and we were going to know for sure. We had just started the ultrasound and not two minutes in did the technician say – there is his business, can you see it? That is all Eric had to hear. He was like “Cool, that’s all I needed to know, we can go now!” It had been like two minutes and I was still stretched out on the recliner as he tried to bolt out the door. Dang! Ok, he has a peepee, but could a mama see the baby’s arms and legs and tummy for a second? Can I just say that creating life is truly a miracle and the use of technology to experience it through every phase is even more incredible. My mom joined us for this experience and we were just in awe at his feisty little legs and Bernard pot belly (genetics are something else). Arya looks just like an Aguiar-Fontenot, but I am calling dibs on this one. Step off Eric – Turbo is mine!

Look at that Bernard pot belly!

So it’s a boy – check! Next task – the name. Arya Elena was named 15 minutes after we found out we were expecting. The names just came to us and boom-bam, it was done. This little guy was a different story. Eric’s Aunt Cathy (she was actually the one that named him Eric Allen) came to pay us a visit last October to let us know that we would soon be having a son and the names that came to her were Allen, Aaron and Aidan. This was exactly 6 months before I even got pregnant. Funny enough, if Arya had been a boy she would have been named Aidan so we both took a double take on that one.  When I found out that I was in fact pregnant, Aunt Cathy called again to say that some other names had come to her, one of which was Ethan, which we both liked. In meditation I kept having visualizations of a little egg with glowing embers like it was on fire (and Aidan means little fire – whoah trippy), but there was something about Ethan too… hmmm. Well, between Aidan and Ethan we couldn’t really choose, so the investigation began.

I really do believe that special consideration should be put into choosing a name, because it will evoke a particular spirit in a child. I also think that if you tune in and listen the baby will tell you what it needs to be called. Several cultures do spiritual investigation before the baby arrives to decipher what names he/she needs to carry in order to live out their life purpose, or even to protect them or balance out certain traits that they will live into. Being of the spiritual, but not necessarily religious persuasion, we chose to honor the birth of our daughter by going back to our shared roots and, thus, held an Afro Caribbean Naming Ceremony. We will do the same for Deuce. We can tell you what his “street” name will be in the mean time. Taking Aunt Cathy’s input into consideration, Eric actually ended up choosing the first name with my spin on the middle name (yeah, I went and did it on the middle name fiends!). His legal name will be Edan Nathanial Aguiar, chosen for it’s meaning and numerological significance. His extended name is still under spiritual investigation and will be fully released during the naming ceremony upon his birth. I can’t wait to see what we have in store with this little guy!

 

Whoa Baby… Here Comes Round Two May 20, 2010

Filed under: Cultivator's Corner — theculturedseed @ 2:47 pm
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A few weeks ago I started feeling a bit, well, not myself. I was irritable, exhausted, and all I wanted to eat was bread and meat. This was promptly followed by a perpetual seasickness (but I was no where near water). It took me a minute to figure it out. I thought I might be vitamin deficient or something from all of the enriched white bread I had been eating of late. But then it hit me – maybe, just maybe, I’ve been down this road before? Ah yes, this is not an iron deficiency– I’m pregnant! I just hit week 14 and can officially say it, baby numero DEUCE is on its way.

Truth is, I have not been down this road before. With Arya I was not a day sick. I was a little sleepy, very hungry and way moody, but all of this turning green and having to keep crackers stashed in my purse at all times is new to me! Plus, I was super active with Arya, going salsa dancing 2-3 times a week with my girls and doing yoga daily. Now all of my physically weariness over the last few weeks makes total sense. Not to mention that with Arya I was working 10 hours a week and this time around I have a full time job, two side gigs and a toddler to chase! Whole different ball game my friends.

So I wonder what it is going to be? We don’t know the sex yet but yes, we will be finding out (I am a planner) and it will likely be

Woohoo! Look at my back! You can't see me!

in the next couple of weeks when I have my next ultrasound, so stay tuned. I can tell you that baby deuce is a total ninja master though, already nick named Tiny Turbo. I have been feeling him/her kick since week 10! Which is crazy early. I didn’t feel Arya until week 13. I say it’s a boy because 1) I’m just feeling boy energy, 2) bread and meat (hello!), and for 3) only a boy would act like a baby tornado in my belly. Seriously, it took the nurse 10 minutes to get the babes measurements during my first visit because Tiny Tubo was like “hey, look at me, no don’t look at me, now you see me, now you don’t, look at my butt, check out my back, watch how I flip over!” Que loco.

What do you think baby deuce will be? Cast your vote below…

 

The Art of Graceful Surrender March 8, 2010

Filed under: Cultivator's Corner — theculturedseed @ 12:00 pm
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Arya and Mama in the Sleeping Position of Choice

From the day that Arya was born I knew that I had handed in my “boss-of-me” keys to a tiny little powerhouse. She had been on this planet for all of 24 hours and she made it known that she knew exactly what was up. We should have known what we were getting into from the first night home, when she screamed from 1-5 AM until the Grandma’s came to the rescue. Or even by her resistance to the bassinet, which meant that we had to switch off sleeping with her on our stomachs for about the first month. From the start, she has let us know exactly what she does and doesn’t want. No matter how we have tried to push or persuade otherwise, this kid has found ways to make her position be known and respected.

I hate to admit it, but we certainly underestimated her ability to verbalize these preferences. Her first communication damn near pitched me out of bed. I had been doing simple baby sign language with Arya from birth. She was 4 months old and we were just waking up for the day. I said, “Hello Arya” and her little hand rose up to answer back, “Hello Mama”. I nearly had a conniption! I know I was the one teaching her to sign, but I really didn’t expect her to talk so early, especially when the books tell you it shouldn’t be until 9 months. Looking back I don’t even know why I was surprised. Now, at 17 months, she can say just about anything you can say. She is even starting to put together 2-3 word sentences. Sometimes when she gets pissed I swear she is cussing me out. I hear “no no no ggaii feerrbb bbar nunu mama”, but she is really saying, “no no no, I don’t want my nunu mama”! Sheesh, attitude. The crazy thing is that I am not only seeing this with Arya but with her little cohorts as well, who are crazy advanced. (This generation of babies is really tripping me out.)

There were also times when I tried to push for things to operate differently… say with breastfeeding… but she still held her ground. Nursing is by far the most amazing bonding experience that you can have with your child, but let me be one to keep it real and say – it is a commitment! I saw all my other bottle-feeding mommy friends having nights out on the town or leaving for a weekend, but I was going nowhere. Not with the “I-don’t-do-bottles” leche monster on hand. I was ready to start weaning at 10 months, but Miss Fly was not having it. I kept whining about it and of course my hippy (but super smart) Mama kept saying “she will stop when she is ready”. That was not what I wanted to hear, but she was right – everything in due time.

My lesson for 2009 was exactly that. All things happen in divine time. At one point we have all been there, trying so hard to push the envelope in one direction or another. We pack all of our rationale into a neat little hand basket and set out to manipulate our world. Yet, despite our control freak antics, sometimes someone has another plan for us. Be it a higher power or just a little power-baby, we must learn to gracefully surrender to what is and continue to pray and be grateful for what will be.

Sigh. Release. Ashe.

 

The “I’m havin’ a baby” Real February 22, 2010

Filed under: Cultivator's Corner — theculturedseed @ 11:31 pm
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Rebecca & Eric awaiting Arya

OK. So I know my baby is going on 16 months now, but before we launch in to present day insights I feel like we have to back it up for a second and give you a taste of where The Cultured Seed started…

For a woman, the physical experience of pregnancy is immediate and undeniable –constant peeing, sleepiness that no nap will ever overcome, and an insatiable urge to eat everything. For a man, while not a direct experience, I think that most partners experience some form of these symptoms by osmosis; at least my husband did, matching my midnight cravings and flowing down that emotional rollercoaster with periodic bouts of crying. As an expecting mommy, you watch everything that goes in your mouth, you exercise, you do the best by your little seedling because by-golly, there is a baby in there! And all you can think of is extracting this baby (healthy and beautiful) from your body so that you can stop worrying about tripping or developing diabetes from all of the peanut butter covered brownies you want to eat.

Then your sprout makes his or her grand entrance and the relief rapidly gets smothered in a whole other level of paranoia. You have a person to grow! This is not the lovely sapling that your hubby gave you on Valentine’s Day. You know, the one you forgot to water and sneakily shoved into the trashcan when the leaves turned shriveled and yellow. This is a mini-you-him-real-live-baby that will grow up to be someone’s wife, husband, CEO, CPA, Senator, Surgeon, Super Star! They say babies don’t come with a manual – and if mine did, then that mean nurse that wouldn’t bring me a sandwich when I was in labor must have stole it! As new parents we want the best for our little ones, we want them to be smart and loving and responsible and kind. We want them to exceed our accomplishments and bypass the areas where we got hung up. And while our parents did a damn fine job, even that manual can’t be followed to the “T”, because these are just different times and you and your partner are two different people.

So I began to ask myself, how do you cultivate your little sprout into a kick-ass global citizen? How do you grow a child that has been exposed to those things that will give him or her the tools to think and act critically, to know how choose for themselves, to be sensitive to the needs of others, to create a life that impacts and heals the world, to live in happiness and know how to give and receive love? I think that as parents we write that manual every day. The guidelines will differ from household to household, based on your morals, priorities and ultimately what you have been exposed to and think is essential in the formation of your little tyke. But ultimately it is a lifelong journey down unknown paths, filled with adventures and misadventures, triumph and failure, joy and tears. The journey is what cultivating our seed is all about. And even though we do it all for them, we learn so much about ourselves in the process, so much so that we would no longer recognize ourselves without that little person to fill our days.

 

Introducing The Cultured Seed February 14, 2010

Filed under: Cultivator's Corner — theculturedseed @ 6:00 am
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From the day I found out that I was pregnant, I was instantly hit with a double whammy of excitement and paranoia. OMG… I was growing a person! Some tremendous soul in a tiny body with a divine purpose to touch the world chose to come here through me! I knew that I would now be responsible for something much bigger than myself. I was about to bring forth my most precious creation in life and I was scared as hell. Even now, 15 months in, I still struggle to swallow the weight of this responsibility. I think it’s kind of a given that as a first-time parent you get sucked into the “what-the-heck-do-I-do-with-this-thing-now!” panic vortex. I’ve never done drugs but I will assume that the tumultuous first 3 months post-birth (which felt like hell) are like being on a bad acid trip – all wired up, no sleep, can’t eat, stupid anxiety, plus you look like a train wreck.

In hindsight (with my 1 + years of parental wisdom at hand, chuckle), I have found that the panic is really for naught as the adventure unfolds naturally, day-by-day. I had no clue about the depths of unconditional love and the wisdom that could be found in love alone. Just cluing in to Arya’s needs and what stimulates her is such a trip! I feel like I am re-learning life through a new set of lenses just by watching her explore her world. I think that exposure is what makes us who we are, and whatever we are fed as children really lays the foundation for who we become as adults. Ultimately, I want my kid to be more than just sane, I want her to be a kick-ass global citizen! But how? Well, you don’t have to teach a seed how to grow, they just do it, right?  However, you must present a balanced set of conditions to stimulate it to take root and grow into a sturdy tree. This means developing the right sense of timing and knowing just the right amount of water and sunlight to give it. As parents, we control our little seed’s environment and that determines everything. This is why I am paying so much attention to the first few years. As a new mom I don’t pretend to have all of the answers, but I feel it forward and every day I learn something new to guide us on our way.

Please enjoy these snippets of my journey with Arya, using love and the world around me to cultivate my little seed. These insights will be documented as a weekly blog at www.theculturedseed.com. Over time this blog seed will grow into a multifaceted online resource tree, designed to guide you as you cultivate your seeds, be they your own children, nieces, nephews, grandkids or just bitty people who you love. The Cultured Seed will flourish as the ultimate educational enrichment resource for the arts, culture, travel, food and fun with an array of experiences that can be had in your neck of the woods. Hopefully you will feel inclined to join in on the fun. Happy Reading.

Love,

Rebecca