Had an arresting mini freak out yesterday about the Very Exciting Thing I’m working on this week.

The monsters and fairies were having it out:

No you can’t.

Yes you can.

No you can’t.

Yes you can.

They weren’t being very sophisticated about it all.

R (who I call My Bubby … like on the show Weeds… except Bubby was the hateful grandmother who Nancy suffocated with a pillow. Anyway…) came in and I took the Giant Leap of Faith of letting my Monster tell him how we were feeling.

Being a boy and all, sometimes he just wants to fix things instead of let them be. Hard, sad, uncomfortable, whatever.

zzzzib zib zzziizzzibbb <sound of rewind travel time machine to the day before yesterday>

The day before yesterday I was reading aloud to My Bubby from my new favorite book, How to talk so kids will listen & listen so kids will talk, (recommended by the fabulous Havi).

This is a book about communicating with anyone who has a heart and monsters.

It’s about listening in all its simple wonder. It’s the Yoga of listening.

I’m only on Chapter 2 and I’ve learned so much.

So I was reading to him in bite-sized pieces. Small enough that he wouldn’t be overwhelmed, big enough that he could get a taste. Like slathering broccoli with cheese whiz.

One of the deceptively simple themes of the book is accepting child’s/person’s feelings:

  • Listen quietly and attentively
  • Acknowledge a feeling with a word—mmmm, oh, I see
  • Give the feeling a name—that sounds frustrating!
  • Give the child’s wishes in fantasy—I wish I had a wand that could make that banana ripe for you right now!

This book has great examples of how we don’t do this; how we deny a person’s feelings, which can leave them confused, even enraged. It also teaches kids not to know what their feelings are, not to trust them.

An example:

Your kid gets weekly allergy shots. You know these shots are uncomfortable but sting for only a minute. After leaving the office today, the child is complaining incessantly.

Denying the child’s feelings:

  • Come on, be a big boy. It can’t hurt that much.
  • You’re making a big fuss over just a little shot.
  • Your brother never complains when he has a shot.
  • Well, you’d better get used to them, you have to have them every week.

Versus listening and accepting (referred to as “giving a name to the feeling”)

  • Sounds as if it really hurts.
  • Must have been painful.
  • Mmmm, that bad!
  • It’s not easy to get those shots week after week. I bet you’ll be glad when they’re over.

The authors concede that most of us grew up having our feelings denied. There’s no reason to be so upset.


Bubby was making slow, carefully planned movements toward the door, almost like a hostage whose guard had fallen asleep. I was sure he hadn’t heard a thing.

zzzzzum zum zum zum <fast forward back to yesterday>

Mini freak out. Tears. Monsters running amok.

Bubby opens his mouth but no sound comes out. He points at the book on the bed.

What that said.


I can’t remember what the right thing is because what I want to say is, “That’s ridiculous, you’re great.”

Oh my God, he was listening. Sort of.

I can’t remember what to say, but I want you to know that I believe in you.

And there I was, arrested all over again.


9 Responses to “Arrested”

  1. 1 Havi Brooks (and duck) February 9, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    awwwwwwwwwww. This made me cry. So so so sweet.

    I believe in you too. I love you and your fairies and your monsters and everything about you.

  2. 3 blogasana February 10, 2010 at 5:18 am

    @havi – ohooooo, my wings are a-fluttering. thank you thank you… so much to thank you for. hug from here to where ever you are.

    @tami – i know, huh?

  3. 4 elizabeth February 10, 2010 at 7:48 am

    Oh, this made me cry. It was just so very sweet. And I believe in you too. (So yes, what Havi said. :)

  4. 5 Andrew Lightheart @alightheart February 11, 2010 at 4:19 am

    Wow. Someone else I want to keep reading.


    Thanks – sending, you know, stuff. Good stuff.

    • 6 blogasana February 12, 2010 at 1:14 am

      Hi. And thanks!
      I love your ‘be less certain’ and ‘half thought throughs’. Looking forward to continued sharing.
      Sending good stuff back.

  5. 7 Luke February 15, 2010 at 6:24 am

    Wow – that’s so great.

  6. 8 Silverlight July 1, 2010 at 9:47 am

    We should all have someone in our lives who listens to the important bits, even if they forget everything else.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  7. 9 April 23, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site.
    I am hoping to check out the same high-grade content from you in the future as well.

    In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my very own blog now ;)

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