You are five.

by Amy on February 25, 2015

Alice and Anthony

Who were you when you were five?

When I was five…

I loved flowers — I vividly remember the plants from my childhood – the sunflowers in my backyard, the rose bushes by the patio, the filbert orchards and the Oregon grapes with berries you couldn’t really eat.

I loved to swim – that feeling of being under the water on a hot day was magical.

I could play for hours by myself (I liked the company of my Barbies over the company of real people).

I made “funbooks” for my little brother, full of mazes and puzzles, word searches and pictures to color.

I loved animals, desperately. My best friend was my dog Jamie and my cat Charity.

I was an artist. I drew horses and roses and forests.

After all the years of thinking I should be smart, accomplished and pretty…

I now just want to be like my five year old self again, full of wonder and joy and curiosity.

That five year old girl who didn’t know there was anything she was supposed to do, like or be.

I’m convinced there’s nothing to fix about any of us.

We just need to re-connect with our five-year-old selves before we ever learned the word “should.”

That five-year-old version of you is your ticket home.

Never forget who you are.

Fittingly, my daughter Joy is five.

And because I never want her to forget…

Joy Elizabeth Albano. You are five.

IMG_8875

You…

You love your stuffies. Every single one of them. Especially Alien, Harold, Giraffy, Maria and Olaf. And you treat them like they are real.

You are content to play alone in your  room. I hear you in there singing to your toys and it makes me smile.

If I let you, you would wear your purple shirt and pants every single day. I have to wash them for special occasions. You made me wash them before family Music Together and for your school play.

You are the family staring contest champion.

You are FUNNY. Last week you had us laughing so hard we literally fell of the chair. You were telling us a reallllyyyyy long ghost story. I wish you could see your facial expressions.

You love to write books. One of your favorite topics: “It was very windy.” Then you draw circles and circles all over the page.

You love to lip synch to the “Rio” soundtrack.

You say stuff like:

“Mom, at night I go outside. Yep. I wait until everyone is sleeping and then I go outside and I play until it’s morning.”

You are all love.

My twins are eight.

And because I never want them to forget…

Alice Kathleen Albano. You were five.

Alice

You …

Loved rainbows. The moon. Fairies. Unicorns. You called yourself a “real princess.” You made fairy houses.

You were a true fashionista who loved to window shop for “pretty dresses.” (And you got really mad at me that day when I didn’t let you go into the shoe store.)

Your smile and your laugh lit up a room. When strangers heard your guffaw they laughed out loud, on the spot.

You loved to play mama – to your little sister and the earth – the rocks, leaves, bugs, flowers…

Strangely, you were a natural at hulu dancing and writing Japanese characters..???

You wanted to be in a parade. When we went to see the Fresh Beat Band you told me you wanted to be on stage.

You loved to tell stories and write them. You asked me to write while you narrated and I could never write as fast as the stories you told.

You could outrun everyone in the family (except me).

You loved swimming and being in the water. I think your totem animal is a dolphin.

For being such a gentle girl, you were really competitive. You loved races and contests and trying to get your pajamas on by the time I count to ten.

You would draw by yourself for hours. You loved your pencils and your sketchbook – you could draw birds like no other.

You were obsessed with candy. And TV. Except you didn’t like to watch scary stuff because it will get in your head, you’d say.

You talked like this…

“Mama you sing beautiful. Oh your wedding ring, it’s so pretty. Look! The trees are dancing!”

Most of this is still true about you. Some things have changed. You are all love.

Anthony Michael Albano. You were five.

Anthony

You…

Loved to climb. You could already do the monkey bars (plus skip a bar) all by yourself. (And you hang upside down on the bar in the elevator while it’s moving–it was your latest trick.)

You loved ninja turtles. The only way I got you to wear those red short is by telling you that Raphael chose them.

You favorite character in Pinocchio was Lampwick. When I asked you why you said, “because he turned into a donkey.” I think it’s because you’re fascinated by transformation (but then again I’m a life coach).

You were always extremely sensitive to negative energy. It freaked you out. Always has.

If you got in trouble the only way to calm you down is to give you a hug and lots of love. I told them that at school and the teacher says it works like a charm.

You loved your friends. Your best friend was Duncan and you two were inseparable.

You loved to build things and figure out how stuff works. (You destroyed your sleeping mat at school, pulled the fluff right out. I told the teacher it wasn’t because you were being bad, you just wanted to see what was in there.)

You loved Legos. The more complicated the better. I am still your Lego partner.

You were very good at drawing. Your pictures were really detailed. You drew robots and ninja turtles, of course.

You loved to make people laugh.

You were very sweet and kind to your little sister. When she gets hurt, she often went to you or her sister for a hug.

Your favorite book was called Salmon Stream. You’d make us read it over and over. I think your totem animal is a Salmon.

This is how you talk:

You: “Hey mom, look under there!”

Me: “Under where?”

You: “You said underwear! See I can make you laugh!”

So much of this is still true about you. Some things are different. You are all love.

Now it’s your turn. Tell us about your five-year-old self? Leave a comment below!

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cropped the Peeps made me do it.
[Note from Amy: Hope you enjoy this is a guest post by Barb Spanjers. I love her take on why bonafide grown-ups STILL don’t know how to feed themselves!]

Are you as tired of these kinds of headlines as I am?

  • Eat This! Not That!
  • 5 Foods Never to Eat!
  • If You Eat That Oreo, You Are a Bad Mom!

Okay, I made that last one up, but it’s definitely the subtext of a gazillion blog posts, articles, and social media posts.

It’s enough to make your head spin. How do you make sense of all those warnings? All that advice? All that judginess?

You remember that you are brazen.

Brazen women know that there is nothing they need to fix about themselves. They are unapologetic about being themselves. They let themselves be happy, no strings attached. They trust their instincts. Brazen women consider “expert advice” but listen to themselves first. (For the full rundown, see Amy’s The Live Brazen Manifesto.)

How could you possibly follow all the experts? If you listen to all the nutrition and weight loss advice out there:

  • You must avoid all animal products – oh wait, no – you should put butter in your coffee.
  • You must forego solid food for only juice – oh wait, no – it’s full of sugar, so no juice is allowed.
  • You should eat soy products – oh wait, no – soy mimics estrogen, so just no.

Again, it’s time for Exorcist-type-head-spinning.

It’s always very curious to me how we got to this point. How did we come to depend on the approval of others to determine what we eat? How did we come to believe that bona fide grown-ups don’t know how to feed themselves? That could be a whole book, but the bottom line is most of us believe we aren’t competent to feed ourselves. It is part of our culture’s underlying assumptions, so pervasive that it is invisible.

Even in the world of enlightenment, this belief is pervasive. There’s a wonderful wave of personal development healers and coaches ready to help us return to our true selves. Encouraging us to listen to our internal voices. Our inner wisdom. Our inner goddess.

Except when it comes to eating. Then you are supposed to ignore all your inner desires.

We are supposed to connect with our internal wisdom – except when it comes to eating. We are supposed to seek self-acceptance – except for our body. Why do we hitch happiness, peace, and self-esteem to the size of our body, or the way that we eat?

The message boils down to “Trust yourself – unless you want a cookie.” Or, “Honor your soul – unless your soul is hungry after 7:00 pm.” Or, “Accept yourself – except for your thighs and the little poochy spot under your belly button.”

I’m here to tell you to eat the damn cookie. If that’s truly what you are hungry for, no amount of kale or quinoa is a good substitute. Resisting your own inner wisdom about what to eat makes you cabinet-surf after dinner, even when your belly is full. As the 1990s low-fat craze taught us, swapping a fat free Snackwell’s cookie for the real thing just makes you eat the whole package of Snackwell’s.

If you want to be more in control of your eating, the key is to stop trying to be in control. In fact, calling on your willpower is a really great way to set yourself up for overeating. At the very least, it tends to make you obsess about food.

So if it’s not about willpower and control, then what?

The key is self-trust. Trust your body to know how to feed you. Trusting yourself reduces overeating and bingeing. Trusting yourself allows you to tune in to when you are really hungry or full.

Trusting yourself can be scary, though. I get it. It’s hard enough to trust yourself in other areas of your life as you step away from approval addiction. Plus, when it comes to eating, we’re inundated with media and cultural messages telling us we are incompetent.

But you are not incompetent.

You are just out of practice. Babies and toddlers know how to feed themselves until adults get in their way. You know that “open up the hangar, here comes the airplane” stuff? It teaches children to ignore what their tummy is telling them.

That is how the indoctrination begins.

You can undo that programming. It’s a process that won’t happen overnight, but it surely can happen. Bit by bit, you can return responsibility and trust to yourself. “Expert” advice and weight loss or eating plans can never know about you in the moment.

Only you can know when you are hungry or full, no matter what the clock says. Only you can know when you feel satisfied, which is different from having a full belly. (You could fill your stomach with grass clippings, but that’s only satisfying for cows.) Only you can know if you are eating for emotional reasons. While all eating has some emotional component, it becomes a problem when it displaces a real solution. As you probably already know, no amount of potato chips in the world can fix the rift between you and your partner.

Here’s a challenge to you. Start being brazen in all areas of life, including at mealtime. Make friends with your body. Make friends with your appetite. Remove guilt and moral judgment from eating. Once you do this, you might just realize that the forbidden chocolate hidden in the bottom of your lingerie drawer doesn’t even taste very good.

Funny how that works.

 

Barb SpanjersBarbara Spanjers is a mythslayer, wellness coach, and therapist. She fears no food (except beets) and loves to help others do the same. As a licensed marriage and family therapist, Barb has experience working with disordered eating/eating disorders, body image, domestic violence, and child welfare. She is the founder of Cake Is Magical Wellness, a coaching practice devoted to stopping the diet madness and improving body image. She wishes more people could eat cake without feeling guilty. You can visit her at http://barbaraspanjers.com

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