Back To Blogging, Facebook…Its Been Fun

Also titled: Why I’m getting tired of Facebook

I joined FB because my friends did and I want to be just like my friends. Sort of.. well not really. I actually appreciated such a convenient way to have a community with my friends. Especially since I don’t get to see them very often. People need people and moms need moms. I loved reading nearly daily updates, being able to jump into a conversation, and checking out links that my fellow parents posted. Eventually I started becoming a fan of or liking pages and local businesses. I could see specials from my favorite eateries and check hours without much searching. I liked reminders from parenting sites about gentle ways to raise my kids, recipes and articles from my favorite food blogs, and news biased more toward my political beliefs. I didn’t feel bad for hiding posts from friends and family who I may like but don’t care to see daily updates or comments that go extremely against my own personal beliefs. I still occasionally would check their pages just to keep up on their lives and news. Facebook was a great way for me to keep social, entertained, informed, and motivated.

And I like sharing. I shared tidbits of my life, links to pages I appreciate, pictures, and while I typically tried to avoid arguing I even commented with my opinion sometimes. After a few incidents I did tighten up my friends list and became more discerning about where and what I posted. I talk a little about that here. But it was still fun.

But its not the same anymore. All those pages I like, they post mostly pics with inspiring quotes-sometimes several a day-WHAT IS WITH THE FREAKING OVERABUNDANCE OF INSPIRING QUOTES AND INSTAGRAM-LIKE PHOTOS! I like a good quote and a creative picture now and then but my news feed is covered with them. It takes a lot of time to weed through it all and you can’t just turn it off like with game requests. I would still like to see the articles they link but question the value of it anymore.

And where have all my friends gone? There’s a few still on there but again with the weeding just to find them. I’ve quit weeding my garden, now its to quit wasting my time on FB. Really, FB is no longer the social outlet I appreciated but rather a time consuming bore.

I spend a lot time in my head already. Without friends to communicate with I’ve spent even more time there. A lot goes on up there and to let it out I like write. Since I’m too wordy for FB I’d like to get back to blogging-maybe journaling some. I could even start finding places to submit writing for income. Maybe I’ll even re-acquire some skill and writing creativity that has been put on hold for a while.

Facebook, this isn’t goodbye forever. It’s just…lets take a little time to ourselves.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Giving-Up Feels So Good.

I’ve given up. Not in the lost-all-hope sense. In the let-it-go sense.
First I fired my domestic help. My teen was getting paid to clean-the basic washing of surfaces was her job. An actual job that required a certain amount of quality and demanded some respect when it came to the requirements of the job. I did my best to write exactly what needed to be done. To praise the areas she excelled and gently point out what needed improvement. I made her a calendar with reminders on the days she had  to do a certain part of her job along with other commitments she’s made. I verbally reminded her and let her choose the times and make adjustments for her own interests.
But she wasn’t doing the job to my expectations, she was grumpy doing it, and finally, after neither of us was communicating with kindness, she told me to shut-up. So I fired her. In fact I ‘fired’ her from any basic responsibility. I no longer require her services when getting groceries, doing laundry and dishes, or helping with the tots-which all in all was pretty limited compared to the rest of her time for herself. I’m tired of wasting my time with the reminding and inspecting and suggesting. I’m tired especially of the struggles with her attitude about it. Like quitting school at home, I’ve relieved her and myself of the hassle of helping at home too.
I’m  8 months pregnant and can hardly bend and tire easily but I don’t care. I’m doing the cleaning myself. I’d already prepped most the house so she wouldn’t have to do any really grimy scrubbing. I’ve been steadily organizing the house to make my life feel better and my responsibilities more efficient.
I asked for help from her and my husband to at least clean up their messes-which mostly consisted of wiping up food messes they make and putting away their own stuff. I also asked but made clear it wasn’t a big deal, for their help in cleaning up clutter while I am big and pregnant and for a short while after the baby is born so I can bond with baby. I’ve given up on that too. They’ve made no effort that I see and I need to feel happy so I choose to just not care. Instead I’ll try to keep up on it myself.
This does mean I’ll have to sacrifice something here and there. My own cleanliness. Play time with the tots. The happy I feel from having a fairly clutter free space. Sleep. Mostly probably it’ll be my projects that bring me joy that I’ll have to dial back on. Fortunately the big ones I wanted to get done before the baby have been nearly completed so I no longer feel overwhelmed or stressed by them.
I’ve given up on feeling approval too. I want so much to feel beautiful. I want my husband to love my belly and delight in watching it move. I want to know beyond a doubt that I’m loved either (preferably with both) by his words and/or his affection. I have neither. And I don’t care anymore. I can’t depend on him for my happiness and I can learn to find love elsewhere. Of course I don’t really not care about not having love. I think its a fundamental need to feel loved. But I have to stop expecting it to be given to me in ways I want it from someone who can’t express it that way to me. I will find love in myself. I will find love from Source. I will find love from my children who freely give it. I will find love from my friends. Maybe I’ll even accept love better from my mom.
That’s not to say I’m not loved. That’s not to say I don’t love and adore my partner. And I do enjoy his companionship and raising our family together. I just don’t feel the love in a way I want to feel loved. But I’m no longer caring.
Not caring can be tricky and can lead to a dark place too. The trick with not caring is to truly not care. It can’t be a defense mechanism. I can’t turn into a hard-ass tough girl and build walls to protect myself. No, it has to be a genuine letting go of wanting what I think I need and accepting I can’t have expectations of others. It has to be real. It has to be me seeking the joy in myself and myself alone. With falling in love with oneself its easier to spot the joy in others and accept them as they are without requirement. To truly not care is freedom.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Port Aransas Vacay Highlights

Taking pic from surf at Port Aransas beach while Daddy and tots fly kite-Van is right there within easy access

 

Well of course it was worth it :) Traveling is always worth it in my opinion and I do love a good road trip. I think its so important to create memories and expose myself (and kids) to new sights, smells, sounds, etc.  Traveling with kids is easy with a certain mindset and a few tricks. Its important to keep the journey fun too. I’m working on a list of invaluable tools to bring when traveling with kids.

We saw lots of varied landscapes and drove through our first dust storms. I even like to see the different names of common gas stations, grocery stores, and fast food joints a long the way. Never did eat at “Whataburger”. The industry, agriculture, and ranch animals were different from our area. Saw more goats then I’ve ever seen in my life.  One word description of eastern CO, western OK, and northern TX-”desolate”. Not even a cow or farmstead in sight. Just  miles of yucca and shrubbery ridden “pasture”.

The town itself was neat. Loads of colorful houses on thick stilts-ours was yellow. Some of the houses were run down and weather worn but that’s anywhere. Palm trees, sand, sea birds, fishing boats- It was a beach bum/fishing  town more then a cute little town with shops like I had envisioned. But the restaurants were varied and tasty-many of them in shack like structures but that doesn’t put me off. There were artisans around but didn’t really hit any of those places with the kids. Big beach-brand shops with some neat stuff.

Loved the sound of palm trees in the breeze-almost like rain-it was usually breezy but not uncomfortable like the wind here. Nor was it overly humid-the mid day sun was intense even through the breeze but we usually hit the pool or opened up the house and relaxed. Interesting mix of birds-one moment could here morning doves which reminded me of growing up on the farm here in SD and the next a bird which would start with a squeak, morph into a crackle, and end in a shuffle sound. I remember hearing those in Mexico and thinking they were some kind of monkey.

The ocean was kind of rough everyday but the last night, but even the tots would splash around in the surf sometimes. Shelling at low tide was fun-lots sand dollar pieces but A and J managed to find a couple intact ones. It was fun to watch neat little mollusks that would be exposed with the waves and bury themselves back in the sand. Saw a few jelly fish and teeny tiny crabs. The last night the ocean was so calm that we could walk really far out and it would only reach our ankles. The water was warm and as usual the sound of the surf so very mesmerizing.

Had interesting flavors of gelato everyday from a free wi-fi coffe shop around the corner.

There was a pretty big storm the day we arrived-in fact we had to re-route to avoid flooding. So the beach was littered with sea weed. But the city spent the week cleaning it up-just like snow plow and removal cept with sea weed and the smell of it rotting toward the end of the week was a little strong in some places. The beach is long and you drive (like a road), park, and can even camp right on it. If you’ll notice from some pics, our van was never very far from us. It was nice not to have haul a bunch of crap on our backs or with a stroller. Just throw it in the van and pull it out when we needed it. We could always find a private to semi-private part of beach somewhere even when the huge sand castle festival rolled in the last weekend. Flying kites was a breeze, just had to open it up and hold on. The sand was so compacted you could easily drive, walk, push a stroller, or ride a bike on it. Yet you could easily dig it up enough for sand castle building and burying your toes.

Yep, it was a good adventure.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lurkers and Trolls and Mean Moderators

There is a reason I haven’t made much of  a presence in online groups including the unschooling ones. I was reminded why the other day.. The trolls. I see them a lot on FB groups who are pretty extreme in a particular belief. You’ll have your people dissing Ron Paul on a libertarian group, I see vegans condemning meat eaters on Paleo sites, I’ll see anti-breeders on parenting sites, people flagging pics on breastfeeding pages that promote extended breastfeeding, and strict schooley types on unschooling sites. You’ll even see moms bashing other moms for believing a slightly different way-like those who vaccinate and those who don’t on natural parenting sites. Sometimes the trolls are even people you know-old friends or family who believe a different way. Or people who just like to argue and think they are playing devil’s advocate but really are just being difficult. Sometime you can ignore them and they will go away. If you are real friends you might even be able to say butt out of this conversation. But sometimes the trolls are actually the moderators and other seasoned commentators. One particular group is especially irritating to me. Its partially irritating because I want to like it, I want to be a part of such a well-intentioned group and I actually even like many of the people involved in it. I avoid it for long periods of time and then for some reason I check in. Maybe because I’m seeking answers or a little support. But every single time I go on I see the same thing. The main leaders are completely picking apart, like vultures, something posted by another person. There isn’t the support or kindness I was looking for. Instead of offering anything helpful they are busy posturing or giving what they call tough-love. They claim to be doing it for quality and I understand the importance of moderation and streamlining information. I like proper grammar and spelling, I’m not a stickler for it but I think  a fairly decent use of it is important to make your point in writing. I also adore words and try hard to choose the right ones even when posting a comment on FB. But I also understand from experience that people use FB partly because it allows for quick conversation. I don’t have to write out a big letter or spend hours on the phone to communicate with someone. I can make a quick scan for  a few minutes while I’m eating, and make a few replies before someone in this family of 5 needs me to do something else. Sometimes my comments are typed one-handed with improper caps and punctuation because I’m holding a child. Sometimes, because I only have a few minutes, or from lack of sleep, I do reply with as few words as I think necessary to get my point across but after reading later I realize its not enough for another person to understand. And sometimes I just write how I think or how I talk and unless you know me, the personality of those words can be misconstrued. For instance I’m matter-of-fact and without much elocution when I speak. I’m not easily offended or dramatic but if you read those words with a whiny voice or a defensive tone in your own head, then the words take on another meaning. I think many people who communicate on lists and pages fail to see this. They don’t put themselves in the other persons place and they don’t look at it from other perspectives. They are quick to judge and quick to attack. They read it with a voice or personality that doesn’t fit the poster at all. Instead of asking for clarification they assume. I’ve seen them use the excuse that they’ve been there done that. They are experienced in their “field” and I appreciate their knowledge. However I do not think they’ve experienced it all and sometimes fail to answer with compassion.  Its especially annoying on parenting sites when parents of older children, one child, or evenly spaced children think their advice should apply to a parent with twins, or young children. Even though they’ve had young kids sometimes they seem to forget the particular struggles and ways to communicate with younger  children. A “this too shall pass” does not help. Worse yet when a parent writes for advice or support and the other parents attack that person and get irritated at them for having that sort of problem. For instance I do not always handle my stress well. But if I went on certain sites and asked for advice or just to vent I’d be attacked for having those feelings in the first place. If I suggested a technique to someone struggling I’d be told that techniques are wrong and to just be kind. I know because I’ve seen it. And if I tried to clarify, to explain my circumstances, or yadayada, they’d find more to pick apart and say I was changing my story. (I’ve seen that too) But sometimes stories do change because we’re writing them when in a high emotional state and sometimes we say things we don’t mean or in a way that we don’t mean to say them. I think its wrong of them is because these are sites by unschoolers and attachment parents who proclaim giving children support but they can’t even offer that to their fellow parents. All I usually need to get over the funk, is to tell a good friend about it and bask in her unconditional love, sometimes listen as she gives her perspective and I not only feel better but I can better approach the situation. And sometimes I do think a technique is just a way to practice so that kindness become part of being. I wish these sites could be more like a true support system because my local one isn’t always available. And I know some haven’t yet found a local support system and go online for the help they need. For now, I just avoid them. I’m not going to make a name for myself in any online community because I don’t want to be constantly dealing with conflict. I prefer to spend that time actually being with my kids instead of writing about them. (It takes me weeks often to write a blog post because I am busy being in the real life world.) Sometimes I wish I could expand my circle to include friends from all over the world. From lurking, I certainly know there are a lot of people out there that I like. But for now, I remain silent and now you know why.

This is a reminder to myself as much as it is advice to others…This isn’t to say they aren’t useful or that others shouldn’t and couldn’t gain from them. Just be careful. Lurk a long time and learn the moderators “rules” before contributing. And if you don’t feel the love move to another group. Don’t stay there and be attacked, or feed the trolls, or become one yourself. If looking for certain advice, trying searching past posts for discussions similar to your need. Often instead of these groups I’ll go to ctual websites that have a ton of advice for a ton of issues without all the petty bickering. Remember you’re looking for support not to be bashed.

Sites I really find useful:

Parenting and Unschooling:

EnjoyParenting

Joyfullyrejoycing

Authentic  Parenting

Peaceful Parenting

 

Food and Nutrition:

Robb Wolf

Primal Blueprint

Weston Price Foundation

Nourishing Days

Divine Health

 

Politics, History, Economics: (still searching for some)

Learn Liberty

Mises Institute

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Unschooling a Teen part 2

Part 1  is my Facilitate Plan that I decided to make in order to expose my teen to “subjects” I want her to learn. I also explained a little  about my role in her unschooling journey. In part two I explain some of my teen”s learning history and one subject I feel is important for my teen to understand.  In part three I’m going to talk about more subject and why these “subjects” specifically.

A short rundown of my action plan: I’m going to send my teen links to articles, books, and videos I want her to check out. I also send her reminders to do them as well as reminders to do other predetermined chores or activities, like unload the dishwasher or practice her singing. And I’m going to talk to her about the links I send, the books we read, the shows we watch, and her other interests. I already do this on a small scale but want to get more involved.

I don’t really think this goes against our unschool lifestyle. I’m not forcing her to learn a set of facts or demanding she write papers on what she’s learning. Neither is it entirely child-led. But my definition of unschooling might be different then more radical followers. I do think its important that a person has a certain amount of knowledge in order to function in society-and I do think its important to function in society. I believe its my job as facilitator to expose her to those things and make sure she has at least a basic understanding of some of them. I also respect that she is an individual but believe she chose to be born into a family and needs to learn to respect other members of the family and contribute to the unit as a whole.

My teen has not been an unschooler her whole life. From homeschooling  half way through grade K we then morphed into unschooling. It took a long time to get the hang of unschooling and is not without its obstacles still. As a baby I thankfully did instinctively attachment parent her. However during her toddler and preschool year she was not parented as extreme as I parent now. Instead of providing a safe environment for her to express her feelings, I forced her to bury negative emotions and maybe even some positive ones-this was also done to me somewhere along my childhood. Much healing and trust is still being established after some poor parenting skills. While learning about unschooling, attachment parenting and gentle discipline I was also exposed to Montessori and use some of those techniques, which line up nicely with unschooling, in guiding my preschoolers. With Adeline  I missed out on guiding her through learning skills when she was ready for them. So basically her learning style is more challenging because I didn’t foster an early love for learning or a mutual respect for each other from her early childhood. We are also hindered in our journey because she meets opposition of unschooling from her other set of parents. Sometimes she questions what is important to learn and feels ashamed of her mental abilities and capabilities.

I tell the above for two reasons. First, she has two toddler sisters and a couple siblings on the way. Often she is annoyed and frustrated with them and with me. I think this is partly due to my parenting style being different from her to them. In some ways I think she feels resentment (maybe only subconsciously but its there). My hope is that by exposing her to article about child development, attachment parenting, and peaceful parenting then she’ll better understand them and better see why I parent them that way. Perhaps she’ll even be able to find the tools to help the emotions that she struggles to express. I also talk to her often about the mistakes I’ve made with her and with them. This in itself builds trust and respect between us. So, one of the main subjects I feel is important for my daughter to be exposed to is gentle parenting and the affects of the child and parent. This will benefit her family life now and maybe later.

As far as late start to life learning goes, it means sometimes I have to push her a little more then someone who’s picked up learning skills earlier in life. Yes, even unschooling takes certain skills. It takes ambition for one. It also takes observation. Neither of which I was very good at fostering in her when she was younger. So while I believe that if a person loves to learn, she will be motivated to seek out the information she wants, I do think some people need to re-learn to learn. Sometimes that takes encouragement from someone else. Because we do talk-its not all online communication-I know that she wants me to remind her to do things. I even have to remind myself to do things. If my day is not schedule I often wander around and can’t focus on a task-or I feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin. When I take the time to write out a list of stuff for me to do then cross things off the list as I don them, then I feel more accomplished and I feel like continuing. Lists are my external motivator and for now, I am my teens external motivator. Honestly I don’t know if this is a trait that is learned or if its just a teen thing.I also think that for the negative feedback she’s received- she needs double the positive encouragement. While I send her links of things I want her to be exposed to, I also send her links to things I know interest and entertain her. I also like to show her examples of other successful unschoolers and entrepreneurs.

This situation may not apply directly to you or your teens. In part 3 I’ll write about subjects that I believe everyone should at least be exposed to.

 

Posted in Attachment Parenting, Baby Cubs, lessons for adults, Uncategorized, Unschooling | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

And I Turned Out Just Fine

Spanking has been a hot topic on various FB pages lately. I have my definite opinions on the matter but I like to see what others have to say-never know when a new perspective is going to present itself. I haven’t found an argument yet that has deterred my way of thinking about it. So I thought I’d write some of the arguments and phrases I’ve heard/read and what I’d say in response. I refuse to actually argue the matter -especially over FaceBook-but I do make it known what I think about a subject if I’ve formed an opinion. I see no purpose in hiding what I believe. I also feel that if someone is looking for more information on a topic I feel strongly about then they know to come to me for information or support.

Spanking and Hitting are different. Uh, in what universe is that true. True, not all hitting is spanking. But a hand, paddle, or any tool used to strike another person/object is in fact hitting.

Swats to deter from danger are okay. No, no they are not. The kids aren’t learning the actual consequence. They are still learning that if they don’t do what you say they get hurt by you. Its your job to simply keep them from harms way until they are old enough to see the danger. I don’t let my kid run into the street, I watch her and grab her if I must. I firmly say “danger” or “cars” or something because eventually she will see the correlation. Sometimes I let her get hurt…a little. I tell her the consequences. When she’s young I say a simple one or two word warning. For instance when she’s close to the stove I say “hot”. And I even let her slightly burn her hand on a hot but not scorching casserole dish while saying “hot” and promptly putting her hand under  cool water. She learns what hot means and listens when I tell her something is hot. If I can’t keep a close eye then I use gates or put her in a secure chair until I can use my eyes and hands to guide her to a safer activity. When she’s older I say something like, if you keep hitting, your sister won’t want to play with you. Action->Consequence +communication

Spanking done in anger is wrong but cool, calm, calculated spanking with an explanation of why its being done is okay. WTF? If enough time has passed that you’re calm enough to purposefully dole out a spanking then your calm enough to use your brain to figure out another way to discipline your kid. Maybe the kid is  too young to even make the association between what he did wrong and why he’s being hit. And if he’s old enough to make the connection then probably he’s already made some connections between his action and the consequences and its your job to help him think about those and find a better behavior for next time.

Cause the Bible says its okay. The whole spare the rod spoil the child thing. Well I don’t really buy into the whole Bible being infallible thing so using that as an argument really doesn’t jive with me. One, its written by a bunch of men, in a certain political and social and cultural climate that doesn’t necessarily apply to or translate well into this modern world. Second I just don’t see how a God who’s supposed to love unconditionally would allow us to raise our kids to believe that love IS in fact conditional. And spanking is conditional. You are telling your child that unless he behaves a certain way he will not be treated with love.

We’ve all heard someone say it. It usually refers to being spanked as a child. “I was spanked as a kid and I turned out just fine.” Well did you? Did you REALLY? Then why do you think its okay for one person to hit another person? Usually the person hitting is several times bigger and significantly heavier. Usually the person hitting is supposed to be the person that little person trusts. Usually the person being hit doesn’t even logically understand why he’s being hit. Trust is lost. Usually the person being hit learns that hitting others, especially ones smaller and weaker, is an okay way to either express anger, humiliation, or control. The little people grow up and have problems trusting people, or they’re afraid of confrontation, they might not feel as close to their caregiver as they’d like. They begin at an early age to start bullying or being comfortable as the victim and those labels stick.  Psychological issues are being beaten into kids.

Stop crying, whining, throwing a fit, etc or you’re going to get a spanking.  I don’t think fear is a proper motivator. Sure it does accomplish its goal of shutting that  brat up. But I want my kids to feel like they can feel. I want them to be able to work through that emotion instead of bury it. The better they get at it the shorter the fit is because they are learning to regulate their emotions. And really, you’re  going to hurt your child and make her cry or scream in order to make her stop another annoying sound? That’s just silly. And if the physical pain isn’t bad enough, making a child feel shame and inadequate for having feelings is equally bad.

One lady on FB  asked me (if I don’t spank then) how do I gain their respect and obedience and is it was working. This is how I responded: The short, very surface answer that I could write books about if they’d not already been written: I respect them by giving them respect. I don’t demand obedience because I believe they have the right to their own bodies and thoughts and to make decisions for themselves. I keep them safe by watching them, being with them, talking openly with them about consequences, and letting them experience some consequences. I observe my children to learn their limits, their needs physically and mentally, and their interests and what they are naturally driven to learn. I listen patiently and validate when they express their feelings and offer alternatives to behavior that could harm them, others, or just gets on my nerves. I give up the notion that my environment has to be controlled because while we’re each individuals, we’re at the moment a family unit that has different personalities and needs and interests. I say “no” less, because to a young mind it becomes background noise-when they ask “why” I really ask myself that too and try to answer-if there is no “good” answer then I say, “your right, there is no reason why you can’t do that”. I try not to shame, yell, frighten, hit, or manipulate my kids into submission. I see my kids as equal however needing some guidance as their minds and experiences develop into adults. I have a teen and two toddlers. It is working for us and the goals I have for me and my kids- my kids are free to express themselves, they are learning to regulate their own emotions and behaviors instead of me demanding they be happy, we are all kinder and more respectful toward each other, and we all have a close trusting bond with each other. We are happy, and even though its a challenge sometimes, it usually means an adjustment of my own attitude, a slightly different approach to accommodate a different situation or personality, or it means I need to help fulfill someone(sometimes my own) need for rest, creativity, or hunger. I would not hit anyone, especially someone younger and smaller, in order to bend them to my will-to me that is not love or respect. I will never ever agree with spanking in any situation and refuse to argue it.

And yes, every child is different. But there are a thousand and one different gentle ways to discipline, set boundaries for, and respond to the needs, of a child. Put on your big girl/boy hat, do a little research, and find a way that honors the child and creates more peace for everyone for the long term.

Do you wonder if I was spanked or my husband?I remember a couple times. I remember feeling confused. Did I turn out just fine? No, I have issues that I work on an so does my husband. When stressed I’m easily frustrated, angered, and annoyed. I often feel/felt shame, insecurity, and embarrassment. These are not just from spankings. I have other experiences that have shaped me. The way a caregiver treats a child doesn’t entirely do the shaping of the child, but it plays a humongous part. Eventually I’ll be able to work though my issues because I choose to-I’ve worked thru many already. I’d like to give my kids the benefit of a healthy physical, emotional, and mental life from the start.

 

 

 

Posted in Attachment Parenting, Baby Cubs | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Unschooling a Teen part 1

Here’s a message I sent my teen daughter about my plan to facilitate more in her learning experience. Part 2 will talk more in detail about the subjects I hope to expose to her and why I think its important.

I’ve come up with a plan to take a more active role in your education. The purpose of unschooling is to let the child discover her own passions and encourage her to learn as much as she can about those passions. The parent guides the child by introducing her to experiences and subjects. The parent assists the child by providing her with tools, books, lessons, and other sources of learning. When we first started unschooling it was a learning process and most the “rules” I have about unschooling were not yet formed. I was a little concerned at first because you weren’t going to be learning things in the same order that school kids your age would be learning them. But I learned that’s okay, there is no set time line to learn certain things. Given enough ambitions anything can be learned in a relatively short time. For instance the child doesn’t need multiplication on its own but if she wants to, its fairly easy to learn them and commit to memory for either a short time, or longer if she is using the tables on a regular basis. While learning about unshchooing I also liked the idea that you’d be learning subjects as they intertwined with each other. You wouldn’t be learning History on a timeline but rather as it pertained to other areas of interest. For instance while watching Doctor Who you’ve been introduced to historical characters and events. Researching those further has given you a better perspective of history at that time then learning it from a textbook. As we’ve grown in unschooling we’ve grown as a family and we’ve grown as individuals.

This is a great way to learn, to learn to love learning, and really excel at what you love. If done right the child has the opportunity to learn more and in a deeper capacity then a schooled child. Even though its child-led it is parent fascilitated. Its my responsibility to expose the child to many things, observe what excites, communicate about further learning, and help find resources to learn more. However, I’ve been lacking for the past few years in my part of being your guide. I’ve been preoccupied with other responsibilities and the places my own life has taken me. Sometimes life happens though and the path we expect to take often turn into new paths. Having one little one to take care of is challenging enough but add another one that’s close in age and the difficulty doesn’t just double, it quadruples. Because I’ve been busy just trying to maintain some order and take care of two busy little ones, I’ve left a lot of your learning to you. This isn’t exactly bad:You’ve taken it to some interesting places that I would never have expected. I’m proud of the things you’ve learned, the progress you’ve made, and the relationships you’ve made. Even though I haven’t been able to focus entirely on you I’ve helped in little ways here and there. We have had experiences and I have exposed to you many things without expectation, Steampunk for instance. Now that I have more opportunity, its time to start facilitating your learning more. I’d like to be more active in your learning. Even with a new baby, I’ll still be able to help more since it won’t be two toddlers with little self-control that I have to constantly monitor. Plus we have a few months to implement some habits and somewhat of a schedule.

Here are my suggestions so far. Each day I’ll send you a message with an “assignment”. This just means that I’ve found something to read or watch that I think might interest you. It will be something that doesn’t take up much time. But it is something I want you to give a chance. Read/watch it and think about it. It might be something that pertains to our lives now or just something that I think could interest you in the future. It will also be something that interests me-something I am learning or something that I think is important to know to function in the world as an individual or in a group. At some point in the week, or a couple points, we’ll talk about the assignment. As with most things that  interest you, you’ll continue to explore the things you want to learn more about. Talking about it with me will give me more of an idea if I should help you in further study and in finding more information on it. However there are things that I will send you to read/watch that I just believe are important to at least be exposed to. I’ll talk more about them in another message. These are things that you need know because it will help you function either in this family or out in the world. Of course all your learning isn’t done by reading but it will help you better understand certain things. For instance I will be sending you info on child development. With that information you’ll better be able to understand your siblings and how I’ve chosen to raise you and them.

I think its important for me to do this because you are the age where you do need to start learning a little more about the world, how it works, how it should work, what makes people tick, how you can be happy in any situation, how to function in group settings, and how to be a strong individual. Of course none of these things are actually learned strictly through reading or watching. Most learning is done through experience. But I can learn a little more about where to guide you through exposing you to ideas and subjects. You do learn a lot of  things from the stuff you already watch and learn. But the stuff I send you might be from a view point that you are not often exposed to through regular media. Especially when it comes to history and economics and politics. Most media is slanted a way that I prefer not be stuck in your head. So I’ll be sending you lots of links of a more honest history and a government as it should be.

I know that you are also the type of person that needs some prodding and encouragement to begin things as well as carry them through. I’ll do my best to gently remind you to do these things. We can talk about and decide what you’d like me to do to  help you on  your learning journey.

Posted in Attachment Parenting, lessons for adults, Unschooling | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lost Balloon

*This is a re-post form my previous blog. The emotions of children have been on my mind lately and something I plan to address more in following posts”

 

One of my favorite segments I found about improving a relationship with your kids:
‎”There is nothing wrong with wanting to be your child’s friend. Do what it takes to earn their friendship – be supportive and kind and honest and trustworthy and caring and generous and loyal and fun and interesting and interested in them …and all the other things that good friends are to each other. Be the best 40 year old friend you can be (or whatever age you are). People use “I’m the parent, not a friend,” as an excuse to be mean, selfish, and lazy. Instead, be the adult in the friendship. Be mature.You’ve BEEN a five-year-old and your child has not been a forty-year-old, so you have an advantage in terms of long-term and wider perspective. Use that advantage to be an even better friend. You know how to be kinder and less self-centered and you know how beneficial it is to put forth the effort.”

“ALL THE THINGS THAT GOOD FRIENDS ARE TO EACH OTHER” That is profound. Whenever I catch myself feeling the need to say something catty to my kids I try to remember that we parents have the opportunity to be our kids’ first really great friend. A friend who trusts, respects, and is honest yet compassionate.

ZoraJane experienced her first truly great loss. She was emotionally attached to a blue balloon. She took it outside and away it went. To me it was just a balloon: unworthy of my love and easily replaceable. At first I wanted to shrug my shoulders and blow it off-tell her that that’s what happens when you don’t hold onto your balloon. But I am 30 something. She is two and a half and her pain was very real and very deep. I reminded myself how I want to be treated by a loved one when I am grief stricken. I held her as she sobbed, listened to her and validated her sadness, “I know, your balloon went bye bye, and it makes you sad.”. And only when she was done crying would I tell her she could play with her sisters balloon, or that we could buy more balloons and this time keep the weight on it, or direct her to other toys. Throughout the evening, between her times of calmness and play she’d remember the agony of losing her balloon. She’d break down in tears. I let her go through the mourning process with compassion. Sure I was getting tired, I wanted her to realize that the balloon wasn’t coming back and there was nothing anyone could do about it. I wanted her to be over it. Yet I also felt her sadness too. I listened to her heart instead of my nagging inner voice. I let her feel.

Some parents want to distract their kids to stop the crying. That seems a little more compassionate then my response. But its still stopping them from letting the pain dissolve. I don’t want my kids to learn that their pain should be stopped with shiny new things or a dulling high. I don’t want to fix all their problems. In fact, I want them to learn to come up with their own solutions. Though, as with any good friendship I want to provide them with possible solutions that they can choose for themselves whether or not to implement. I want to help them see other perspectives yet follow their own inner guide to do what they feel is right. And I certainly don’t want to shut them up because its inconvenient to me or I’m sick of hearing their wails.

Or a parent may want them to be tough, take it like a man, or to cowboy-up…this is more along the lines of my initial reaction to my child’s hurts. Those parents are going to have to live with a kid who buries the negative feelings. Feelings that will probably resurface in another form sooner or later. Or they have to deal with their kids not trusting them when they get into a tough situation. I can’t stand the thought of my kids feeling like they have to suffer alone. Or worse that they shouldn’t experience pain at all. Pain is part of the human experience but its also a spiritual one as well. It helps us relate to and feel compassion for fellow humans, it makes us appreciate the good times, and it often opens our eyes and leads to new paths and new friendships. Being able to cry releases the pain and helps us move on and a parent who lets their kid cry will build trust.

And why is it that my first response is one of meanness? What happened in my own development? Where along the line did I loose my freedom to express my emotions without shame? I’m pretty sure my mom didn’t give me mean reactions to my suffering? I’m not sure I need to know but I am pretty sure I need to shut that nagging voice the hell up so that I can react in a way that allows my kids to trust me and trust themselves.

I can see how my relationship with my oldest is changing too. I’ve always been open arms when she is sad. And as a child she’s had her physical and emotional hurts. But only recently have I let her experience anger, frustration, and angst without shaming her or telling her to get over it-Or just as bad, trying to impart some great wisdom that took me years to learn-like “only you can choose to stay in that negative place” or “why don’t you think of some positives about that situation”. Instead I’ve been practicing validating her as well. As a little kid the adults in her life would often control or manipulate her to get a behavior out of her that was more to their liking-myself included. She hasn’t had the same freedoms to express herself that I’ve learned to give the babies from an earlier age. Adeline has spent many of her kid years being reprimanded and being shamed into being nice and respectful. Or made to feel inadequate in her ability to learn things on her own. Or stupid for not learning the things at the same time and in the same manner as schooled kids. Basically she’s spent a lot of time feeling like she’s not had any control or freedom.
I’ve been learning to let her find her power. And she’s getting it back. This doesn’t mean she’s always nice or in a good mood. It means she feels like she has the freedom to truly feel what she is truly feeling and to express it without being made to feel bad. Instead of telling her to be nice I tell her kindly if she hurts my feelings and I practice being nice to her and other people. I am encouraging her to make more decisions but talk to her about what I need from her as a member of this family. I’m being more active in helping her find the answers to her questions. I’m just listening when she needs to vent about something-sometimes I offer suggestions for possible solutions, but only when she is in the mood to converse rather than just too vent. And I’m trying to provide her more opportunities to explore her interests-without judgment or expectations. And I’m trying to learn from her too- to actually listen , ask questions, and understand when she tells me about her interests. I’m modeling a desire to learn instead of telling her she needs to learn. And I am learning: About her, about myself, and about all sorts of things I wouldn’t otherwise be interested in.

I want to provide my kids an environment where they can express themselves. Where they can let the feelings move freely through them instead of getting stuck only to resurface later-possible in another form like anger or bitterness that their mother was not compassionate. And I want to provide a home where my kids respect others. This starts with me giving them respect and actively giving others respect. I know its possible and I know it starts with me.

Posted in Attachment Parenting, Baby Cubs, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Slumbering Style Re-awakened

Its time to bring style back to my life. For too long I’ve been wandering aimlessly in this department. I’ve tried to maintain here and there-hence the pink hair for several years. Didn’t matter if I dressed in lounge pants and flip flops, I still felt like I was holding onto a part of myself as long as I had pink hair- but that slipped into the nether as well. Piercings went away, thrift store finds were replaced by gap jeans, colorful tights and short skirts got switched out for pj pants, and funky shoes…well I did hold onto a few favorites as well as some stripy knee highs but they hid under jeans. I’ve managed to keep a little style here and there-mostly in non-wearables- for example, Hello Kitty toaster and sewing machine, owls galore, a kiddy garden, the admiration of fan art of Doctor Who, the admiration of art created by my own daughter, a mid-century clock, side table, and sewing table. But my personal style hasn’t been consistent and it hasn’t reached every aspect of me for a long time

As I’ve brought sewing back into my life I’ve also brought a renewed sense of “me”. Searching for patterns, perusing craft bloggs, ogling and fondling fabrics, designing and sewing clothes and accessories for my kids has all inspired me to bring myself out of the the pit of messy pony tails, nursing tanks, and yoga pants. The comfy clothes and pony holders aren’t heading to the trash bin, hey, its comfy and practical, but its time to incorporate a little more of me into my life on a daily basis.

Which brings me to why I fell into the pit in the first place. I’m not going to say it was having kids but they do play a part in my decline of style. First of all my body changed and I’ve not felt quite right in it since. For a moment when I was dating J and high on love, I felt attractive again and starting bringing back some style. And then for awhile I kind of felt a lost sense of purpose. With the loss of goals came a loss of self. Just when I found true inner happiness again I also got pregnant-didn’t happen-bang-all at once but close enough that I didn’t have time to find a look that fit me. With pregnancy, with one baby, with a second baby soon after, with toddlers-well clothes took a back seat again. I’m not completely complaining because with babies and active toddlers also comes leaky breast milk, leaky diapers, projectile vomiting, little sleep, messy faces and hands that manage to rub themselves on me. I wouldn’t really want to risk dressing stylish full time and having half of it ruined by food, bodily fluids, and the messy project of the moment. And lets face it, not putting much effort into my appearance has influenced my creativity and likewise. Looking the part and feeling the part go hand-in-hand.

The blogs I’ve been lurking on have really played a part to inspire me. Its not just the crafts and the projects that I find wicked cool. Its the pictures of the crafters. A lot of these people are mothers too, some are even pregnant. Yet they’ve managed (at least on film) to remain as stylish and organized as I’ve longed to be for a few years. I think partly because they have been able to maintain their creativity. With creating comes a sense of staying true to yourself. When I create its not just my hands transforming something into something beautiful but its my mind being transformed. With all those brain cells firing when dreaming up something new, comes the inspiration to create in every aspect of my life. When I take the time to let that inspiration actually manifest along comes a sense of accomplishment and inner peace. That peace allows for the others areas of my life to be affected.

So lessons learned. Mama’s especially: create. It doesn’t take a talent. Everyone is born with the ability to create. Take the time, demand the time, to let yourself stay true to yourself at all times in at least one area. It will spread and soon your whole life will be created by you, with your own sense of style and truth.

An excerpt I really relate to from The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule,  “…we don’t have to “teach” our children to be creative-inherent in the very core of children’s beings is the embodiment of creativity. To think of something in  a new way, to inquire about something that others don’t even question,  to come up with something truly unique and new is what children do best. When we give our children the space and encouragement to explore their own creativity, they can become our most inspiring of artists, our most inquisitive of scientists, and our most original of philosophers…Given the creative nature of children, it is no coincidence that so many of us are led to seek a more creative life in their presence…They inspire us not only to nurture and embrace all of who they are, but to nurture and embrace our own creative selves as well…Nurturing your own creative spirit will not only bring more peace, satisfaction, and joy into your life and the lives of those around you, but it will also serve as a guide and model to your children on finding their creative selves.”

So see, its a circle of joy being created and maintained, simply by being creative. Its inspiring and its infectious. My creative style doesn’t need to be limited to nick-nacks and inspiration boards I surround myself with at my desk, or the funky socks I wear, or a few patches safety pinned to my diaper bag, or my interest in reading/watching sci-fi, or going gaga over mid-century modern furniture and houses, or the one or two items of really well-fitting stylish clothing lying on my floor because I refuse to put away my laundry. I can create in every aspect and find inspiration from everything. The website that sparked the most passion for my personal sense of style is A Beautiful Mess blog. The whole thing resonates with my personal aesthetics, from her outfits, to the projects, to her DIY wedding, and even the style of photography used to capture it all. I don’t want to mimic her style but her style has certainly struck a chord with the me that makes me feel most at home in myself.

So expect changes, because I need to bring the life back into my life. I need some style to freshen up the place. And I need the joy that creativity brings to be a constant part of my life for me and for those who live with me.

Posted in Spirit and Soul | Leave a comment

Projects and Purging

Re Boot- K, lets see if I can get this thing (blog) started again.

I’m learning that with two busy toddlers I can still have a couple projects of my own going on at a time-but it takes some planning and a peaceful mindset. Actually, I seem to do better when I work a little here and a little there. At least if feels like I get more done. More importantly working in bits put my brain in the mindset that its okay to get out of the flow and attend to the needs and wants of a child or two when I’m called on. When I attach myself to one project I feel like I have to finish it in a given time and I get irritable when called away. And when I have no projects, I feel overwhelmed with where to start and so I don’t. Silly how we trick ourselves into feeling disarrayed.

The projects I’ve been working on are sewing and purging (stuff not food)

Project Purge-the view from my desk

For now project purge is put away-actually its mostly done. But I started out with a few important stipulations: 1. that chaos would be okay for awhile  2. the mess was going away for the holidays even if the project wasn’t done  3. I wouldn’t get stuck on one project and would easily and peacefully step out of it if I was needed elsewhere

Blogging itself is a project but I’ll try to keep it in the loop. Writing is a creative endeavor for me and sometimes my brain is on automatic or the creativity is used up elsewhere. Here’s what’s coming up in near future for both projects and posts:

Sewing, Sewing, and more Sewing

The holidays are here. I’ve been perusing the internet for simple sewing projects as gifts. Found some fun simple patterns for oven mitts, ornaments, luggage tags, and organizers. If I manage to get them done before the holidays I’ll post my results as well as links I found the ideas. I’m finding some nifty craft bloggers as well as fun shops for supplies.

Speaking of sewing. I’m thinking of starting a children’s line of clothes. I want to sell mostly local. Not because I don’t have high aspirations, but rather because I like the idea of local economy and quality hand made products. The clothes are going to be a mix of designer, organic, and upcycled (from thrift stores and my own closet) fabric and embellishments. I’ll post many of the items here first. I’m only in the beginning stages of planning and getting patterns made but I hope to start some actual sewing in a few days.

Don’t worry, it won’t all be sewing:

As usual there will still be my commentary on Unschooling/homeschooling, Attachment Parenting, Gentle Parenting, Food(ism), Spirituality, and as I learn more, I’m gonna start throwing in some bits about economy/politics-feel free to skip those posts or maybe learn a little something with me.

Posted in Cleanliness is next to Godliness, Sew What, Uncategorized | Leave a comment