My name is Kara. I have a Little Ohmie (a son!) named Kingston; he’s two years old. I am so proud of the work Kingston has done to learn about his emotions, and I am so excited to share that with you.
But first, let me share a little about myself. Here's me as a Little...
I’ll spare you the sob-sad story and try to stick to the facts. I was born and grew up, in Philadelphia, PA. My mother was a single mother of three. I was the youngest with two older brothers.
In our home, there was no social-emotional learning. There was this “do as I say” way of parenting that I never had a reason to question. My mother did not have the time, nor the energy (which I completely understand now) to teach any of us about how to connect to our emotions and to deal with them in a healthy way.
I grew up with contradicting ideas surrounding acceptable ways to deal with difficult situations, and was often left to fend for myself when up against something emotionally traumatizing.
When a situation would occur where social-emotional child-rearing was most critical, I would be told to go to my room and to not come out until I was ready to “be nice”. That usually ended in me staying in my room until the next day. I didn’t understand what to do during this time. So, I learned how to keep being mad in hopes that someone would care enough about me to let me back into the family.
These traumatic events are still with me to this day. As a 31 year-old mother and wife, there are times where I cannot help but separate myself when I am upset. Thanks to therapy and learning mindfulness, I am much better than I was before.
All-in-all, my mother did her best. I loved her, and still love her dearly. But the truth is undeniable….I grew up to be an adult with very little skills to cope with and regulate my emotions.
This led to me needing intense therapy and hoping to not do the same to my future children. I am lucky enough to have years of child development training, teaching experience, and therapy to help me do better with my son. And now I have a growing Little Ohmie!
How I Introduced My Little Ohmie to Singing Bowls
Parenting does not come with an instruction manual. However, we as caregivers are in the perfect position to teach children what to do when a mistake is made.
This begins at birth.
When my Little Ohmie was a newborn, I was experiencing an extreme level of sleep deprivation. This sleep deprivation was the onset of being super emotional, irrational, and other nonsensical things that challenged my marriage and the relationship with my son.
I would get frustrated. Angry even. And although I did not verbally or physically hurt my son, I knew he could sense it. There was no way around these feelings, but I knew one thing….I could breathe, apologize to my infant, and try again.
And that’s what I did. I would hold my son, take some deep breaths, and tell him sorry for whatever happened. This was the beginning of a habit I was never taught as a child.
As Kingston grew older and started to experience more of the world with upsets included, it was natural for me to hold him, take some deep breaths, and tell him it was okay to feel what he was feeling; that I understood what he was feeling.
As he developed, this process further developed as we added names to emotions and verbalized different ways of solving problems. But none of that came before taking a couple of deep breaths.
Fast forward to this past summer when I received my first set of singing bowls. I was so excited, and I saw immediately that the quality matched the price. This is a good product! I have to protect it. That was my first thought. My son was two at the time, and I already knew the nature of toddlers. Chaos. Destruction. Disorderly conduct (this one may be a bit much, but I had to try it).
I wanted to put my new and fairly expensive singing bowls somewhere up high. Where they would be out of the way and safe. But who would that serve?
I ultimately made the conscious decision to put the singing bowls in a place where he could not only see them, but reach them. I put them on his level. From his first time seeing the singing bowls, I taught him how to respect the bowls. What does respect look like? What does respect sound like? I taught him what to do if he wanted to touch a singing bowl. Ask mommy first. And I had to be okay with repeating myself. I do not like repeating myself. He’s a toddler!
The way his face lit up when he heard the singing bowl sing for the first time will always be one of my favorite memories. His excitement for something new and beautiful was captivating and contagious. I wanted to keep playing just to see THAT smile.
But what was more important in this first experience, was connecting what he knew about deep breathing to playing singing bowls. I told him to take a deep breath every time I strike the bowl. I also told him to keep breathing as the bowl sings. Seems simple right?
That’s because it is. The hard work was already done. I am now just connecting one thing to another. But the challenge also comes in being repetitive. There are plenty of times when Kingston wants to play the singing bowls and I absolutely have no energy to do so.
But it is crucial to his development to do it and continue to repeat the same mantras with him, “take a deep breath” and “keep breathing”.
Why is breathing such a big deal for a little person? Please stay tuned for Part 2!