Tuesday, July 23, 2013


The last few days have been rather challenging again with the two kids in the house. Mona is teething rather badly and Leander... well I wasn't sure what exactly was going on in his mind. But he seems to be unsettled. He is wild and loud but not in a playful way. It looks like he does not know what to do with himself at all. And what is going on with himself either. Until this morning my husband found an explanation: it's me and Mona again. Before we entered the kitchen he was fine. The moment we step in he loses it. 

I am grateful to have a husband who is so aware and observant. Who doesn't just say: "Jeez what's going on there again? What phase is that?" No. He cares.

So right now it's back to more observation. Is it rather me or Mona? Or the way I am dealing with him when he's around Mona? I realized that he became wild around her. And rough. Not obviously. I call it "silent aggression" - he leans onto her and squeezes her. He silently takes her fingers into his mouth. And bites. When she screams he smiles. I haven't had many of those moments so I am not so good in sportscasting this. Instead my motherly instinct so far made me protect her. And blame him. Although I know this does not work. The more I think about it the more I realize what has gone wrong over the last week. Yes. Just a week is all it takes to have this downward spiral start spinning again.

Magda Gerber used to say: "Observe more. Do less. Enjoy most." 

This reminder should be printed and pinned on the wall of every room in the house. It's not just that you enjoy those wonderful moments in their play or development. It's also that you discover what's going wrong right now. And where it has started. Observation is the key to successful parenting. Only then can you change your own behaviour. Because as bad as it sounds - more often it is us - the parent - who is in a strange phase or moment. If it's a stressful time at work or a moment of hunger and dehydration after a hot day - it's up to us to take care of ourselves to be able to take care of our children. A child is just a child and does what lies within his abilities. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013


My parenthood and my life itself has been inspired by many books and online resources - but mainly: people. One of them is Lisa Sunbury - a RIE expert and wonderful caregiver. Lisa has been going through a very rough year:

Dear RIE Parents and Caregivers,

As many of you know, Lisa Sunbury is a RIE instructor, mentor, parent coach, trusted advisor and cherished member of our group who has helped us to foster a generation of confident, authentic people. Now we have an opportunity to help her. 

She put everything on hold and moved from California to Florida in order to care for her infant niece and is the midst of the adoption process. Once the adoption is complete she will then be able to return to her livelihood in California. The adoption proceedings can take seven months to a year. Until then, she is the full-time caregiver as she can only use a mandated state daycare facility, which is not an ideal environment. This makes it very difficult for her to work, but she is doing what she can from home.

I am asking you, dear parents, to consider what Lisa gives us in time, knowledge and experience and how we now have an opportunity to help her.

There are more than 2,000 of us in this group. We can assist her with the cost of plane tickets, legal fees, and incidentals that may arise during this challenging time. Any amount that you are able to donate, no matter how small will help.

Thank you Lisa for all of the support and insight you have given to us and others over the years.

Below is a link to the website where you can make a donation in the amount of your choosing:

This is not just to help Lisa. It's also to help R. who has been living with her for 8 months now. And - if all goes well - will stay with Lisa for good. For this girl Lisa is the best that could have happened to her. Or as Lisa has put it:

And someday, when she asks questions, I am going to be able to share with her about this group, and all of you- so many people, many of whom I've never even met in person yet, but who have nonetheless reached out, listened, shared, cared, and stepped up to help. The gift you are giving HER is amazing, and I can't thank you all enough.

So today I choose to thank Lisa for her support and inspiration given by supporting her. I have donated already. And I would be happy if you did so too. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Today when I picked up Leander from kindergarden he was already waiting for me at the gate. Sitting on a tricycle watching the cars outside drive by, park and drive off again. I kneeled down next to him to say "Hi!" when he pulled my arm and wrapped it around himself. Then put his thumb back in and continued watching the cars outside. 

These are moments as a mother that make your heart melt. The little moments no ones else might notice. The ones you did not expect when you were a pregnant woman not knowing what to expect at all.

Too quick they fly by. Those moments. And in a busy life like ours they are gone in the blink of an eye. And forgotten. Maybe forever. So I decided to sit down and recollect some of those priceless moments as a mom of two.

  • Leander's happy smile when I go into his room and for a short cuddle curl up next to him after my husband has just tucked him in and I have sent Mona to dreamland.
  • The first time he said "Schuckigung" (his version of the German word 'Entschuldigung' which means "I'm sorry!") It was in the darkness of his room when I was lying next to him waiting for him to go to sleep and he accidentally hit me with his knee.
  • His smile with his thumb in his mouth when he is too tired to take it out
  • When he tries to grab a piece of my clothes while sucking his thumb all with the same hand (when he is completely exhausted and tired)
  • How he demands me stroking his neck or head after I have started but stopped "too soon". 
  • Him saying "Mama, I don't need a kiss. Dad, come on we need to go!" when they are about to leave for kindergarden in the morning.
  • Him and his Dad ringing the doorbell a minute after they have left in the morning because Leander had decided that he actually DID need a kiss from me
  • When I see him observe the world around him without actively taking part. When to others he might seem sad or upset but smiles and excitedly tells me about his observation the second I stand next to him.
  • When we both observe the world around us without talking but sitting close together. Simply enjoying each others company.
  • Him saying "Mona, mama is just gone to the toilet. She will be back soon. It's ok." when I left the two of them outside a public toilet in the hospital.
  • Mona's toothless smile in general. But especially the one she reserves for her Dad.
  • Mona's giggly laugh when Leander is jumping up and down in her eyesight.
  • Both their sobbing but slowly calming crying when they are lying in my arms.
  • Both of their real, natural and self driven giggly laugh.
  • Their sleepy faces I so love to watch before I go to bed myself.

None of those moments happen when I want them to happen. Not when I am busy with a smartphone or a computer in front of my nose. Not when my thoughts are somewhere in a different world. And if so - they are back in this world, in this very moment within a second and I know exactly where I belong.

What are the priceless moments in your life ?