HSC: birthday party fun without hassle

Photo by Ouxu Cheng

My two kids are highly sensitive. I am highly sensitive, my husband is highly sensitive. As a highly sensitive family we keep on learning how to listen and react to each others needs to thrive in this world full of entertainment. Last weekend we went to a birthday party in Amsterdam. The preparation for the birthday started in the car, my youngest fell asleep immediately and my daughter was relaxing by holding onto her big bear friend. No music, no cartoons, no talking.

This birthday party was definitely highly sensitive proof.

  • The birthday lady was walking barefoot,
  • They served sugar free goodies such as banana egg pancakes with whipped cream, blue berries, strawberries and marmelade, coconut-date bonbon and a chocolate banana egg cake,
  • People withdrawing to other rooms to look up some quite time,
  • Moms breastfeeding,
  • No music.

We had loads of fun. I love socialising and meeting new people, but at the same time I like to blend in the crowd by talking to friends we hadn’t seen for a while. That feels much more comfortable than immediately making small talk with someone I don’t know.  Same goes for my daughter.

Amé stood close to me, observing the room and the people. The best thing about a party, according to my daughter, is eat the foods they serve. Though she didn’t dive in immediately, she needed some time to land. After having encouraged her to choose her pick, she took her plate to the balcony where the other kids were playing. Instead of connecting to the kids she focussed on her plate. Afterwards she wanted to go outside, because inside it was too warm for her. Arnold and I decided to split up, he went outside and I stayed in with Dían.

Dían also needed his time to get used to the house, the atmosphere and the people. He sticked with me or Arnold. After Amé got back from playing outside she started playing with a girl. They went from room to room and finally I found them sitting with a lady who drew images on their arms. I talked to her earlier and Amé, at that time still taking her time to get accustomed, apparently eavesdropped. To her big surprise she found out this lady is a professional illustrator. Amé took the opportunity to ask her to draw tattoos on her hand with the tattoo pens she had brought with her in her handbag. Afterwards Amé said:

I was perfectly prepared for this party by bringing my tattoo pens.

We arrived quite early at the party, one hour and a half, after it had started. Slowly, new guests were arriving and the noice of people talking to each other got louder and louder. When I started breastfeeding on the balcony it was still doable. New guests joined us on the balcony, Dían was ready drinking, he sat on my lap and made screeching noises. He wasn’t happy at all. I understood and we went to a spare room. He immediately revived. He started smiling and moving around the room. He is fifteen months and I am so happy with our communication.

From the moment he crawled out of the spare room I knew he was ready for more action. I have seen him playing with a friend of ours who was playing with him and interacting with the cat under the table. Meanwhile we were socialising in the open kitchen. I still had an eye on him, that’s my mommy-mind, but I was super proud of him being at ease. Later I caught him playing alone, but not for long, a new friend came along. This twenty-something young male was autistic and loved to connect with Dían.

We had a wonderful time.

Both kids dealt differently with their birthday experience. Driving back home they both stayed awake. Around eight Dían fell asleep without any hassle, but it took Amé more time to fall asleep. The next day Amé slept in and Dían took his nap earlier than normal and slept for like an hour and a half. This is how they recovered. And of course we provided them the time to recover. We had no other appointments than being in and around the house organising and cleaning.

In retrospect, I am very happy and satisfied we took this last-minute decision to stay in The Hague in stead of going up North visiting family. This way we definitely have enjoyed the birthday party in full in stead of being super tired by travelling from one place to another.

 

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HSP: Let the pain surface so joy can replace the freed space

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Let the pain surface so joy can replace it. That’s the work I guide during sessions. Not everyone is ready, but sessions can also be experienced as a mental preparation for the emotional and physical work which is ahead. Lots of people have the need to understand with their mind before they can let go of the fear to feel what has been hiding in the body for years.

As a life coach I have studied different mental techniques to guide mental and emotional shifts. After having worked almost 11 years as a life coach I have arrived at the place where my soul’s purpose and the people who resonate with my work have come together. People of all ages. It’s not about age, it has never been about age, but about me feeling secure enough to tell everyone how I can help them. When I was 26 years old there were people who judged me. I let myself be judged and decided to study more coaching techniques. This year I will turn 37 years and I am happy to share more of the work I do.

Since 2004 my vision and mission has been the same. My vision is that more and more people will hear the calling of their hearts and souls and take action upon this. My mission is to help these people to release the pain they are carrying within so it can be replaced by the joy fueled by sharing their innate talents and qualities.

In 2011 I decided to put myself forward as a coach for highly sensitive people. It took me 11 years to realize this fully. In the year 2000 I read the book ‘The Highly Sensitive Child’ written by Elaine N. Aron. In 2008 I was conscious of the fact that the people I coach were a lot like me: caring, creative, intuitive and with soft and loving souls. The following year I wrote two articles on high sensitivity for a Dutch lifestylewebmagazine. These articles were well received, but still it didn’t clicked. It took two more years and while my unconsciousness was adding up all the high sensitivity events it finally clicked in the summer of 2011; one year after the birth of my daughter who’s now almost 5 years old.

The biggest insight of my life came to me after the birth of my daughter. I was holding a precious, pure, loving and fully feeling soul and could only feel a magnificence joy and gratitude for LIFE. People are born sensitive. We loose a great deal of this sensitivity when we are surrounded by caretakers who haven’t worked through their pain, sadness and anger. These energies definitely influence the baby: while growing in the womb and the years after birth up until 6 years old are the years in which the child creates convictions about life. Is life good for them or is life dangerous and should you always be careful? Shall I show my talent or will it be criticized?

Have you experienced your portion of hurdles in life in relationship to work, love relationships and parenting? Have you arrived at crossroads with arrows pointing in many directions? Are you ready for positive change or better said: eager for life changing reflection and action? If so, I invite you to make an appointment for an introduction session.
Take a look here for the Orchid of Life Prices and Options.  Are you a Spanish native speaker? Please take a look at this blog ‘Si me siento como una persona sensible’.

New Year’s reflections and resolutions

Happy New Year

Top 10 Year End Review Questions

  1. What did you do this year that you have never done before?
  2. What was the smartest decision you made this year?
  3. What one word best sums up and describes your experience last year?
  4. What are you most happy about completing?
  5. What was the biggest risk you took?
  6. What are you most grateful for this past year?
  7. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
  8. What do you wish you had done more of?
  9. What do you wish you had done less of?
  10. Knowing what you know now, if you could write a letter to yourself that would travel back in time so that you would receive exactly one year ago, what advice would you give yourself?

10 New Year’s Questions to Ask About Relationships

  1. Who were the three people who had the greatest impact on your life last year?
  2. Did anyone close to you give birth (literally or symbolically)?
  3. Did anyone close to you die (literally or symbolically)?
  4. What important relationship improved the most?
  5. What important relationship suffered the most?
  6. Whose behavior or what event merited celebration?
  7. Whose behavior or what event appalled you?
  8. How did you positively influence a child (or the next generation) this year?
  9. What well-known person, dead or alive, influenced you the most this year?
  10. Who made you laugh the most this year?

10 New Year’s Questions to Ask About Your Health

  1. Did you suffer illness or injury?
  2. What decision did you make to become healthier?
  3. What was your favorite exercise this year?
  4. What was your favorite meal?
  5. What restaurant did you eat at most often?
  6. What medications are you currently taking?
  7. Did you have any surgeries this year?
  8. How did you manage your stress this year?
  9. What was your biggest health achievement this year?
  10. What do you wish you would have done differently in regards to your health this year?

10 New Year’s Questions to Ask About Your Celebrations

  1. What did you really, really, really get excited about this year?
  2. How old did you turn on your birthday?
  3. How did you celebrate your birthday this year?
  4. Did anyone close to you have an important milestone birthday?
  5. How did you spend the holidays?
  6. What was the most memorable gift you received this year and who was it from?
  7. What was the most memorable gift you gave this year and who was it to?
  8. How will you be spending New Year’s?
  9. What vacations did you take or where did you visit last year?
  10. What was the biggest surprise of this year?

10 End-of-Year Questions to Ask about School or Work

  1. Where do you currently work or go to school?
  2. What is the title of your position?
  3. What is your typical day?
  4. When did you feel most inspired at work or school?
  5. What is one way you grew academically or professionally this year?
  6. What do you hope those you work with will remember most about you?
  7. What was your greatest challenge/lesson at work or school?
  8. How did you adapt at work or school?
  9. How have you grown as a person because of your work or school experience?
  10. What strengths did you tap into?

10 New Year’s Questions to Ask About Your Spirituality & Existence

  1. Because of this past year, what do you believe is your purpose?
  2. What is one word that describes your relationship with God (or what suits your belief system)  this year?
  3. Where did you find the most peace and calm this year?
  4. Where did you feel most connected to God (or what suits your belief system) this year?
  5. What is one miracle you witnessed this year?
  6. What was the most loving service you performed last year?
  7. What is your biggest piece of unfinished business?
  8. What is the greatest lesson you have learned this year?
  9. What was the best part of this year? What was the lesson learned?
  10. What was the worst part of this year? What was the lesson learned?

Inspiration: birthday party presents

compliment

A story I heard from a friend…

Organize a birthday party and tell your invites to not bring any gifts! In stead the one who is celebrating his birthday surprises each invite by giving a compliment. I like this idea very much!

It reminded me of a party I organized in 2009, we surprised our guests with a present! Read the blog…

Organizing first party in years

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So yes, finally, after 4.5 years we’ve organized a party at our home. And we’re damn proud we did a great job. Our daughter Amé turned 3 years old and I was determined to organize a birthday party for her. She loves birthday parties, cakes, ice cream and presents so I wanted to make her heart sing with joy. My partner and father of Amé has been out of the party game for three years now. He is still suffering a continuous headache. Anyhow, let’s focus on the party joy.

Our daughter wasn’t able to rest the whole morning so when the party was about to start she went to bed to take a nap. Hearing the noises of the first guests she yelled out for mommy. Miss party girl wanted to go downstairs. The kids were having so much water fun. They started out on the balcony playing with boats. After the singing and eating the birthday cake we moved to a communal garden. There the water joy went on with water guns; shooting water is fun for everyone, young and the somewhat older guests.

While a group of guests were playing in the communal garden my mom and sister were preparing the food. I invited everyone like two months before, but only one week before the party my mom phoned me asking me what I had prepared. Well, mom, I will prepare different cakes, ice cream and the activities for the children. ‘And the food, what about the food? she asked. You must feed the family coming from a far. You should send them home well fed. That’s how it goes. I will help you.’ But mom…all my ‘but’s disappeared with the air I exhaled. ‘I will prepare a very simple dish, it’s ok, I will manage.’ She didn’t even tell me what she would prepare and I didn’t even bother to ask her, because I knew she wouldn’t tell me.

We had chicken à la mama style (Chinese) and several vegetable dishes going along with that; carrot, mushrooms, tomatoes and string beans. As a dessert we served homemade banana chocolate ice cream on a stick. After having finished their meal the kids went on playing with the presents. Blowing bubbles was the last outside activity. Even though I prepared the activity by buying the goods the kids initiated it on the balcony. Where was I? I believe I was eating and enjoying my meal, my rest. Talk about rest. I rested two full days after the party, highly sensitive as I am.

I loved the presence of family and friends. My partner and I agreed to do this more often. Perhaps not on this scale, but just to bring people together, reconnect and have fun. On a food note: there was no candy, only watermelon, pineapple and strawberries. All fresh and luscious.

bday binnentuin

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Nail polish for toddlers. Why?

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Yesterday our daughter turned 3. She is so happy to be 3. ‘I’m a big girl now,’ she says. Big girls go outside and play without their mommy and daddy, but with their friends. When we got back from doing groceries we passed by the house of a friend, this girl is one year older than she is. She wasn’t at the gallery so my daughter suggested to knock on her door. Purposefully I walked onwards to our house so she could ask her friend out by herself. The door opened, I turned my head and saw my daughter asking the mom of her friend if she could go out and play. I felt so proud. This morning she wanted to do the same, but hesitated. She turned around several times with an excuse like ‘mom, it has started to rain harder, you should come with me and knock on her door’. I didn’t feel like going so finally she stopped trying.

My daughter succeeded, the mom of her friend allowed her to go out and play. Within a few minutes both girls were standing in front of my doorstep, showing me their nails. Ooh, my god, I thought, her mom polished my daughter’s nails baby blue! I was shocked. The first thing I thought was ‘How could she? She should have asked me first!’ I calmed myself down, because my daughter looked at me with eyes full of hope and joy. She knows damn well what I think of nail polish. Her wish was fulfilled; a few months ago she asked for nail polish and she didn’t get it from us! Now she was walking around with baby blue finger nails. Several thoughts were swirling in my head. Another one of them was ‘her mom only wanted to be nice and give my daughter something’. So I decided to say nothing and let my daughter be happy. The next question was:  ‘I want to have my toe nails done as well’. I said ‘no’. Enough is enough, I thought.

My daughter is more a girly girl compared to myself. She likes necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings and nail polish. I’m not bothered by jewelry and I’m not even wearing a watch. Oh, yeah, she likes watches too. Friends of mine do like jewelry so I believe my daughter developed her taste just by watching other people. The object ‘heels’ just popped up. My man thought of  buying her heels in her size as a birthday present. Heels??!!! She already has plastic heels which are far to big, but she is having fun with them. She didn’t got these from us. Highly irritated and surprised I disagreed with this idea. How come you thought of heels? ‘Well, I only crawled up in her head and from her view on life ‘heels’ were the first objects that came to my mind,’ he said.

We got her something she could take outside and play with. It’s a bar with a ring on one side and a wheel on the other side. One should put a foot in the ring, get the bar turning around your leg and jump across the bar with the other leg. Much better than heels. And I will buy nail polish remover as soon as possible. Come on, let’s play as long as we can and be indifferent towards how we look. Especially how we can look more beautiful with all kinds of accessories in stead of shining from within and be happy with how we look in our most natural form.

After I posted the above a friend of my reacted with a few lines of Kahlil Gibran:

About Children”You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

She also commented on my story by sharing that she believes it’s the most natural thing a child does: looking around, being curious and feeling the urge to imitate it in their own way. I read these lines of Kahlil Gibran before and I totally agreed with his thoughts. More so his lines and her comment left me wondering. It even got me talking to my partner. Am I stopping her of being who she is? A person with her own thoughts? The conversation helped me to verbalize my feelings towards the incident in more detail. As parents we are doing whatever we can to let her be who she is. Nonetheless in some situations, like this one, I have a strong urge to share my thoughts on nail polish, because I’m allergic to a world in which a lot of things are influenced by appearance. To keep up this appearance people use all kinds of stuff to show others who they want to be in stead of who they are. Anyhow, my daughter is still not aware of this concept so in her case she likes nail polish, because of the colors. But she is still a child who puts her fingers in her mouth (that young) so why let her wear nail polish even though it’s fun.

Another element of the concept of putting more emphasis on appearance is that it goes along with fake stuff. Fake eye lashes, hair extensions and so on. In the case of nail polish; it contains a lot of chemicals which no one should get in their bodies. I know non-toxic nail polish exists for toddlers, but this is really where I draw my line; I associate these products with the big fake world some people are creating for themselves. Therefore I keep my point of view on nail polish for toddlers. For this once she has enjoyed the look of her baby blue finger nails. But we won’t encourage wearing nail polish by buying it for her. But of course, when she’s older, it’s her choice if she wants to wear nail polish.