Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi
  AHYMSIN Newsletter, Issue - September 2013  

The Hazel Diaries

by Roxanne Currie

My daughter, unlike me, has made very thoughtful and deliberate life choices.  For example(s), she went into silence for 7 days in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area alone before she decided whom to marry.  She and her husband remodeled a home together and raised a puppy for years before they decided to have a child.  Two years before they became pregnant they both went to Swami Veda's Parenting for Peace lecture. 

When it came time for the delivery, she chanted OM with each contraction; she chanted while I did Gayatri japa for her in the lobby as directed by Swami Veda.

After 12 hours of hard labor, they determined a C-section would be the only option.

"I don't think I can do this" David said "We've been up for hours"  

"Just look into her eyes" I said. 

"Okay." he said; that seemed manageable and they wheeled off for the surgery together.

About fifteen minutes later, David emerged from the operating room looking very proud and happy, dressed in blue paper shoe covers and jumpsuit while holding a screaming baby.  

He said to me "I was looking into Laura’s eyes when the Surgeon said ‘Mr. Harlowe, I'm so sorry I cut your baby's cheek.’ She was handing me the baby and when I looked down I saw my wife's guts piled up on her stomach. . . "

I said "Oh I'm so sorry!  That wasn't supposed to happen but well done."  Just then the nurse stuck Hazel in the heel with a shot of Vitamin K in her heel to help her blood clot.  This was not a happy baby.

One of the first things she did that made us think she was a little special was to hold her own arm over her own nose so she couldn't breathe.  She held her own arm there until she turned red and kicked her little legs; then she'd let go and gasp breath.  She did this often; she even repeated it for the pediatrician who was mystified, but unconcerned.  I believed her to be a little yogi, strength-training her new baby lungs, like blowing up a balloon, using some force to expand something.  She stopped doing this after a few months, but replaced it for a shorter time with pursing her lips and forcing air out to make a Bronx cheer, red-faced-from exertion fart-sound, also a lung strengthener.  She was about 3-6 months old.

The first time I understood her she was standing up in her crib.  I went to pick her up but not soon enough, and she made the Marge Simpson grrrrr sound, and she stiffened angrily, the sound my daughter makes when she's frustrated.  Hmmm.

She learned how to climb out of her crib!  David said she just showed up in the kitchen one day and he said "Hazy, how did you get out of your bed?" She showed him without words, up here, over there and down. 

Next day they bought a cute crib cover with stars overhead that zipped her safely in.  She absolutely hated it. 

My son in law said that his father in law said “I gave my daughter a love of music; what will you give my granddaughter?”  To which he replied, thoughtfully and with good-nature “I’ll probably teach her to knife fight underwater.” 

Her first underwater knife fight. . . . .  I said “Do you suppose she’ll spend the rest of her life searching for the surgeon who scarred her cheek?”

“Yeah.  Like the Fugitive” he said.

Getting ready to go to her first “daycare” experience while Laura dressed to go to the gym, David tied Hazel’s little shoelaces, she was about 18 months old, he counseled her SEAL style:  “Cigarettes are a perfectly acceptable form of trade when you’re incarcerated; you don’t actually have to smoke em.” He said straight-faced concentrating on tying the second pink shoelace.  “You can keep em and trade em for things you need, like paper, crayons.”  I don’t know if she understood but she nodded, sucking her little thumb.  I had the sense this was going to be interesting.

I was babysitting 3 year old Hazel when it occurred to me that I didn’t know what I was doing. 

“This is supposed to be fun.” I told myself, addressing the tension I felt.  But it was work. More work than raising my daughter.  I remembered the sense of power and purpose I’d felt 40 years ago. Gone today.

I recalled friends saying “grandkids are great, you spoil them and send them home.”  She had my full attention at all times, but it would be days before I could “spoil her and send her home.”  Hazel’s parents were on vacation.  We had already hit the ice cream store.

We spent hours at the playground.  We would have stayed there all night, but she kicked an older girl and they ratted her out.  “She was saying bad things about the other girls” they said.  So much for staying all night. I can’t let her get away with that. So I called a time out. She was too tired and hungry for that. 

“NO” she screamed and ran away. I ran after her and picked her up. It’s a good thing she weighs under 40 lbs.

Leaving was a problem. “I DON’T WANT TO GO PUT ME DOWN TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF ME” she screamed, then “MY THROAT HURTS.  I DON’T WANT TO GO.” What happened here? I reasoned.  If you’d quit screaming your throat wouldn’t hurt I argued.  Screaming and kicking continued.  Other parents saluted, their eyes saying “better you than me.” Obviously if I were kidnapping a child it would not be this one. No police came to my rescue.

Next day, same thing. 

The third day (I’m a slow learner) I gave a 10 minute warning. We were not there too long so she was not overly tired, nor surprised by my plan. The screaming started. As I carried her, instead of arguing or reasoning, this time, I began singing the Gayatri mantra, at first under my breath. She quieted down to listen. Then she quit squirming. I kept singing om bhur bhuva svaha tat savitur varenium bhargo devasya dimahi dhyoyo naha prachodayat om shanti shanti shanti.   

By the time we got home she was relaxed and nearly asleep. I made dinner and she went willingly to bed. 

The next day she said “Lita, where did you learn that song?”  “My Teacher taught it to me.” I said.  In my mind I thought thank you Swamiji.

Hazel was over-stimulated when I went to stay with her for a few days.  I sensed she needed some boundaries, structure and a way to blow off some steam.

“Bossy.” Hazel said under her breath.  She reminded me this was her house.

I started by taking things away from her. If she wanted to color, we’d finish one picture before going on to another. I said "you can play with whatever toy you want, but one at a time. We put one away before getting another."

I heard her little feet hit the hardwood floor and run with decided optimism to the bedroom where I was just waking up. She threw open the door, looked at me from the doorway and said “Oh NO!  You’re STILL HERE!” She ran back to her room in tears. I considered maybe I’d been too hard on her.

She started getting rewards for good behavior. When she worked out on the treadmill, she had to have adult rules, no dancing on the treadmill, wear shoes, no dangling robe ties.  After the workout I said “well done, good work!” and gave her an “adult” beverage. Pepsi with no NutraSweet or caffeine, with ice in a real glass.

“Thanks Boss.” She said, crossing her legs on the stool.  “I like this adult beverage. It tickles my nose.” She didn’t finish but an inch of it and brushed her teeth before bed ½ hour later.

We had to re-negotiate the next morning. All things were mine. She threw things at me. There was a time-out where she had lost everything but her pink blanky.

I said “What are we going to do here? You’ve lost everything but Pink. Am I going to have to take her or are you going to quit throwing things at me?” Pink is very dear to her.

She was incredulous. “You can’t take Pink.” She said.

“Oh yes I’m pretty sure I can.” I said. She considered this.

“Did you ever have a blanket when you were a little girl?” she asked

“Yes, as a matter of fact, I did” I said, accepting the distraction, remembering.

“What happened to it?” she asked, interested.

“Well, my mother took it and cut it up into dust rags and put them in the linen closet”

She looked at me. “Oh, that is so sad.” She said. Who did that to you? Great Grandma? Would you tell me that story again? Would you like to hold Pink?” she offered.

“Thanks.” I said, noticing a clear change in her. 

“That’s so sad” she repeated in disbelief. In the next few days she’d offer her blanket to me kindly. 

"I'm okay." I said "I grew up, I got therapy. It was a long time ago."

The next morning she was wild, running and not thinking. Nemo lay on the chair about 3 feet to my right as I sat on the floor. “Come here please and sit with me for a moment.” I said.

“No!” she said.

“Come on” I said, “just for a moment, sit across from me.” We made eye contact as she sat down, clearly annoyed. I smiled at her, closed my eyes and fingers, and began a chant of “Oommmm.” I did not expect this to last long.

To my surprise I heard her chanting “Ommmmm “as well.

To my complete shock and utter amazement, to my immediate right, I heard the dog, Nemo, in the same tone “mmmmmm”

I started to laugh and could barely contain myself.  We jumped up.

We went to the grocery store and bought only things she liked, but only if they had some nutritional value.  Salted in the shell peanuts, Greek honey yogurt, cottage cheese, canned pears, a red apple and a green apple, bananas. She could eat whenever she wanted but we negotiated protein.  “Okay Boss” she said.

She confided in me.  "Sometimes I like to have my mommy feed me." she said. “You mean like a little baby?" I said "Yes." she said.

"I feel that way sometimes, too." I said. "It's nice to be babied sometimes. If you like we can pretend you're a baby sometimes." "Okay." she said. "Would you like me to hold you?" I asked; she said "no, I'd just like to lean on you."

We leaned on each other. She offered me her blanket. It was sweet.

Hazel has had a doll since she was born, a stuffed sock doll named Bla Bla. David had a blog where Hazel would get into wrestling matches with Bla Bla in her crib.  Hazel is the Winner!

At four years old, Hazel acquired another doll, exactly like Bla Bla only clearly the new doll was a boy doll, he had shorter hair and no flower petals around his face. He was wearing pants.

“What is the new doll’s name?” I asked her.  She thought for a moment. “Bla Blo” she said, using the Spanish masculine o ending on the name, such as Angela and Angelo.

To be continued….

Editor’s Note:

Roxanne Currie is a writer, grandmother, Raja yogi. She maintained her yoga practice since she was introduced to Swami Rama and his teachings in 1968. She received mantra initiation from Swami Veda Bharati, formerly Dr. Usharbudh Arya, to the Himalayan Tradition in 1972, and became certified to teach in 2008.  She teaches yoga in the Minneapolis, Minnesota, area.

We invite you to visit her website: www.goodmedicineyoga.com

Roxanne has a Good Medicine Yoga DVD entitled “Stretch Breathe Relax.”  Please see http://www.goodmedicineyoga.com/htmlsite/products.html  It is also available at the online bookstore of The Meditation Center, which ships nationally and internationally, and is under the title Good Medicine Yoga DVD.