All posts by Alex

A time for thoughtful reflection, acceptance, and conversation.

This is a guest post by Mr. Nurshable.


Dear Nurshable readers,
As you know, these elections have had a tremendous impact on us all. The lead up has been exhausting and the result has been shocking for everyone. Mrs. Nurshable is still recovering from that shock. As with all things, it will take time.
In the mean time I would like to share some thoughts with you all about moving forward.
Right now, the US is a divided country. Red vs Blue. Liberal vs Conservative. Urban vs Rural. Men vs Women. Majority vs Minority. There are so many differences that it can be easy to get lost and look down on others just for living in a different neighborhood.
And this is exactly the state that the country is in right now. Half of us are celebrating, half are grieving, and both sides are pointing the finger of blame at the other.
No matter which side you find yourself on please pause for a moment.
Now, consider this community. You are all different. Some of you come from the city. Some from the country. Some are God fearing. Some are skeptic. Some are wealthy. Some are poor. But all of you share the common trait of aspiring to be gentle with your parenting. It is this commonality that brings you together. More importantly, it is this commonality that guides how you all interact with each other.
This community is inclusive. When faced with anger you respond with kindness. When faced with frustration you respond with gentleness. When faced with blame you respond with understanding. It is these traits and responses that this country sorely needs right now.
Our community values allow us to coexist peacefully and without vitriol, even if we disagree sometimes. We do not need to feed the flame of anger and blame others for inheriting a broken system and trying to make the best of it. What we need more of is understanding.
Now I ask you. No matter what side of the election you were on, take the time to talk to people- especially those of your opposite view. Do so with the Nurshable mindset of understanding. Do not blame anyone for the results and do not blame anyone for forcing you to allow this to happen. That is counterproductive.
If you are grieving, remember that the 60 million people that voted for this result have felt exactly how you do now in 2008 and in 2012. And if you are celebrating, remember how you felt in 2008 and 2012.
If there is one thing that both sides can agree on is that the system we have is broken. What we are experiencing now is the result of that system. If we keep pointing fingers at each other then all we will succeed in doing is perpetuating the endless pendulum where half of us feel like our world crumbles every 4-8 years.
The path ahead will be long and arduous, and there are many things that we can do to help and to fix this. But it all starts with a conversation.
Words.
Words of understanding.
I ask you all now to put aside your anger, fear, frustration and grief, and try to UNDERSTAND the opposite point of view.
I am reminded a little bit of the Industrial Revolution which had a similar situation where poor, established factory workers were put out of work by poorer, less qualified, and less expensive immigrant workers. Fighting between the two groups was natural and was also fueled by wealthy industrialist interests who knew that they wouldn’t stand a chance if those two groups united.
And that is what I am reminding you all of today- to get through this, we must be united.
And we will get through this.
But it all starts with understanding.
So.
Understand that your opinion is not the only one. Understand that opposing opinions are not incorrect. Understand that there are multiple points of view. Understand that you do not have to agree. But most of all, understand that you are all still human.
There is plenty to discuss between all of us, and we will get to the discussion part eventually (who knows, we might even find some really good solutions). But we need to be ready and willing to understand the views we don’t agree with first.

On Tuesday we saw the exact outcome of what happens when people don’t feel listened to. The same happens when children do not feel listened to. We all know and practice this kind of gentle understanding with our children. It is time to apply what we have learned to our interactions with our fellow adults as well.
-Mr. Nurshable

Tales and Sightings of the Magic Unicorn Baby (Part 1)

Month 17, Day 12

Dear Diary,

Last night was no different than the rest. The darkness that engulfed me and my sensitive tracking equipment was broken only by the familiar screams of the strange yelling beast somewhere in the distance. It was still wiggling in it’s cocoon, it’s shrill cries echoing against cameras, trees, cars, buildings, the ground, air, and my ears alike. Especially my ears. Nothing can bring me to become accustomed to that sound.

17 Months we have been in this urban wilderness trying to witness the birth of the fabled Magic Unicorn Baby, yet it seems like there is no end in sight. We have heard many personal accounts, but they are all anecdotes. We have found nobody with concrete evidence that such creatures even exist.

Sleep comes seldom, and when it does it is broken by the screaming beast just over yonder. I am beginning to doubt my own sanity, but I must persevere. Sometimes I hear strange sounds, almost like words of encouragement, all around me, but I remember that I haven’t slept in almost 17 months and brush it off as just another hallucination. Sometimes I even hear my own mother’s words when she says that I used to be such a beast, and I myself metamorphisized into such a fabled creature as the Magic Unicorn Baby. These times I begin to question what I am seeing and wondering if perhaps my partner has slipped me some hallucinogens into my coffee. Or maybe it’s just the delirium talking.

Many told me that this expedition was for naught, but I can not agree. The truth is out there, I know it, I just have to wait long enough for it to reveal itself. I will find the magic unicorn baby and prove its existence once and for all. I just hope that I find it before the screaming beast decides to wake up and find me. It’s jaws look powerful enough to split a tomato in two, and when it smiles those dimples shake the very foundation of the earth.

It toddles toward me at times and threatens me with it’s teeth until I pick it up. It then forces me to walk around pointing at things yelling “Dat!” as if to say “There. There is your unicorn. Do you not see it? Behind this thing I’m pointing at? No? Because IT IS NOT THERE YOU FOOL! I HAVE CONSUMED THE MAGIC UNICORN BABY AND IT SHALL FOREVERMORE BE BANISHED FROM EXISTENCE! MUUHAHAHAHAHA!”

Like a loyal soldier I do my duty and carry the beast around until it has had it’s fill of mocking my quest and my existence. It bares it’s teeth at me again in a gesture sure to confuse most as innocent and playful.

It goes back to it’s lair and I back to my equipment. I shall continue to watch you, strange beast. One day you may reveal your secrets to the location of the Magic Unicorn Baby. Until then, I shall be here, waiting, and you shall be there, not sleeping. And sometimes smiling, and giggling, and pointing, and playing, and learning, and walking, and jumping, and waving, and kissing, and hugging, and drawing, and growing.

(This post brought to you by sleep-deprived delirium-induced coffee-giddiness.)

Quiet Success (Daddy Guest Post)

Dear Daughter,

I came home today after having been at work since the day prior. Work has been busy and I was asked to do overtime the night before. Entering the house I was greeted by your smiling brothers,while you were going back and forth between smiling and giving me the “I’m pissed off at you” look that you developed the weekend prior when I shaved my beard off. So you sat there, looking down your nose at me, brow furrowed, and sighing every few moments as if to say “I didn’t tell you that you could go to work for so long.”

You continued to give me the “look of disappointment” even after I took you in my arms and carried you around to all the places you liked. I mentioned to your mother that you felt heavier and she told me that you had gone through both a physical and a mental growth spurt. This is nothing new, as it seems that all our children break milestones whenever I work overtime. It has become somewhat of a tradition here, but I digress.

Bedtime came and, what is normally me putting the two older boys to bed while your mother nurses you to sleep, wound up with our roles reversed. Figuring that you would not go to sleep yet I held you on one arm and you started pointing at things like you normally do saying “dat” or “dis” and I would oblige by following your index finger and identifying whatever it was you were pointing at.

Then you pointed at the hallway connecting to the next room.

“Dat.”

I said “Hall”. You pointed again in the same direction.

“Dat.”

“It’s dark, the light is out.”
“Dat.”

“You want to go in there?”

“Dis. Dat.”

“OK.”

So I walked with you into the adjacent dark room and was rewarded with your giggly smile of being understood. I walked into the room and before I could turn on the light you pointed to the far corner of the room where an armchair was.

“Dat.”

“Chair”

“Dat. Dis.”

“You want to go there?”

“Dat.”

So I went to the armchair and sat down with you still in one arm. You smiled once again and continued to point at some things around us. You pointed at a flower on the wallpaper, at a ball, at the light in the kitchen, at the table and then… you put your head on my shoulder.

“Dat,” you said, this time without pointing.

I let my breathing slow and relax and felt you melt into my chest. In a few short minutes you were completely asleep.

It wasn’t long ago that you wouldn’t accept anyone except your mother to put you to sleep. You had required to nurse every time you closed your eyes. The few times you tried on your own before you fussed for a few minutes and then asked for your mommy.

Today, you succeeded.

This is a small step. A small victory. But it is an important one. Today marks the first day that you were able to self soothe with someone other than your mother next to you.

Today, however, does not mark a complete change and reversal of the norm. There will be setbacks. There will be regression. You will still ask for mommy most of the time. You will still need to nurse. And it will still be quite some time until you are able to be completely self soothe without our help.

But even in the face of that, today is still a victory. There was no crying when you decided to take this step on your own. There was no pushing or cajoling on our part. There was only our, your parents, gentle reassurance that everything you are doing is normal.

I look forward to your future milestones. They will all come too quickly so I will be sure to enjoy them as much as I can in the moment.

I just hope that I get to see at least a few of them without having to work overtime first.

<3 Daddy

(Guest Post) “WTF am I going to do with a daugher?”

This was my facebook status after I found out your gender during an emergency room visit that I took your mother to because she was concerned at your very sudden lack of movement. Needless to say this statement made some of my friends respond in various forms of surprise and incredulity. Partly because they themselves couldn’t believe I was having a daughter (and a third child at that, but that’s a different story), but also because they could not believe that I wouldn’t “know” what to do with one. The responses ranged from sincere advice on how to raise a daughter, to outright scolding me for not knowing that I should “LOVE HER”.

The responses were amusing, especially since my main intent was generally lost on those of my friends. You see, in reality, this was my way of announcing your gender to all of my friends and acquaintances whom were curious about it. I thought everyone knew my sense of humor enough that they wouldn’t take this statement as serious. I was expecting a herd of congratulatory responses and was not expecting to be scolded for making this statement. So your gender announcement turned partially into a very successful troll.

Of course, I was only half joking when I said this. In my mind I really did ask this question of myself, but I had also answered it. You see, before I had children I always thought that I would be a father eventually but my thought process never made it past that point. So the question of gender never really entered my mind until after I had my first child.

At some point after that I realized that I definitely wanted a daughter. This is not to say that I didn’t want my sons- your brothers mean the world to me and I would not give them up for anything. But the thought entered my mind that I would want to “try” for a daughter. Well, it turned out that, whether by trial or chance, your mother and I had succeeded in making you.

And suddenly, even more questions began to pop up. I began thinking about your upbringing, how it would differ from your brothers, the things that I would want to teach you… how to handle your first boyfriend, how to help you understand and deal with your emotions, how to teach you what to look for in a relationship. Many fun thoughts entered my mind then, such as the best way to freak out your first boyfriend when he comes over to “meet the parents” (none of which I will write here- those will be a surprise), but the most important conclusions that I came to was that I needed to lead by example. This made me remember a popular phrase: The best thing a father can do for his daughter is to love her mother.

Well, dear daughter, I can tell you that I am very much, definitely, sincerely, incredibly, regrettably, overwhelmingly in love with your mother. There will be no shortage of love here. We may express our love in very… odd… ways at times, but as you grow up I’m sure you will come to recognize it as such. So with all that in mind remember this: no matter what happens, always know that I’m never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around and desert you.

<3 Your Daddy