Our Mindful Life

Our Mindful Life: September 2010

Our Mindful Life

Our Mindful Life is about paying attention to what it is that we do on a day to day basis and how we impact each other and the planet. We will talk about all of the things that we do here at home to make ourselves and the world a better place.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


We found out this week that we are expecting baby #3 in late May! We couldn't be more excited. In honor of the new baby, whom the Bean has temporarily named Baby Lorraine, I would love to share the stories of the Bean and the Bug's births.

I had a cesarean section with the Bean. She was born at 31 weeks gestation, after several days of trying to stop my labor, drugs, bed rest, IV antibiotics because I was leaking amniotic fluid and meconium for days, and lots and lots of prayer. She was breech, sitting tailor fashion, and had no fluid to turn in. We could have delivered her breech, but it would have raised the odds of hemorrhage in her brain. We could have attempted a manual version, but it would have raised her risk of hemorrhage in her brain. And because she was so early, her risk of brain hemorrhage was already higher than normal. So, my OB and I decided that a cesarean was the best course of action. She was born, whole and sound, at a whopping 3 pounds, 11.5 ounces. She never needed resuscitation, needed minimal help on the outside, and has moved on with life beautifully ever since. I was discharged 3 days after birth. She was discharged 19 days after birth. The 16 days between were a roller coaster for me. I was recovering from a major abdominal surgery, trudging back and forth, carrying my breast pump, my food for the day, and my knitting to sit in the NICU with my tiny little baby, whom I could do nearly nothing for. At the same time, my first baby had been born, and she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life! Just looking at her and touching her brought me the most ecstasy I had ever felt.

When the Bug was growing in my body, nearly 2 years later, I was conflicted. I loved the OB who had delivered the Bean, and I was happy with him in her birth. I firmly believe that things went so well because of his skills. However, faced with a normal baby, growing normally and giving me no problems, it felt that we were bickering over small things that should have been inconsequential. I refused the genetic testing. He didn't like that. I didn't want to be checked at my 36 week visit. He was adamant that I would be. I didn't want my membranes to be ruptured artificially, or "swept" to begin labor. I knew that he would do it if he wanted to, and was given the chance. I couldn't win by might or right, so instead, I fled. I called up a homebirth midwife whom many of my friends had used, and talked to her. My pregnancy had been considered high risk for premature birth in the beginning, but I was safely in the zone of "term" to deliver at home. My amazing midwife came out and met with me and agreed to take over my care. My birth plan took on a sudden change.

Suddenly, I was in charge of my body. I was no longer broken. I was a strong, capable woman who was going to do something amazing - give birth to my son. And I was going to do it with no tampering. There were no checks. There were no tests. There was no poking and prodding. There was just the contentment of knowing that my baby was going to be born, strong and healthy, at full term. His birth story follows.


I labored off and on for about 3 weeks. Patience has never been my strength and I had run out by Thursday the 14th. I was in complete mommy meltdown by that afternoon. I was beyond exhausted, tired of being pregnant and had given up hope that I would ever actually give birth. To top it off, my strong, progressive contractions had turned into what felt like Braxton-Hicks. There would be a strong sensation of baby’s head in my cervix, pressing down, and then a sensation of his body stretching out. The sides of my stomach didn’t feel hard at all, though. I was discouraged, short tempered, and in tears over this turn of events. At just about 39 weeks, I had begun waking up each morning more and more disappointed that I wasn’t giving birth that day. Even though I knew that I could go into labor at any time during the day, I seemed to just intuitively know that if I didn’t wake up laboring, I wasn’t delivering that day.

I woke up on the 14th feeling beyond depressed. I drug myself out of bed and got dressed because Beanie needed me. I put on my skirt (the only one that still fit), and accidentally put on my favorite white shirt from my first pregnancy. I had been envisioning this as the outfit I would labor in for months and this was the first time I had put it on. I didn’t realize the mistake until I got downstairs, and at that point, I wasn’t going back up to change. It depressed me even more that I was wearing my laboring outfit and wasn’t laboring. Little did I know, I was indeed laboring and would continue to do so throughout the day and that night!

I somehow made it through the whole day. We packed up the family and went see the chiropractor that evening, and ran a few different errands. I was so tired by then that even being nice was a stretch. The chiropractor told me that the baby was really low in there and that he was really pressing down. My only response was to tell her that I already knew that much. What else could I say? I was simply convinced that he was never coming out!

We got home from our little excursion and I went up stairs and went to bed without saying a word. I never did get fully comfortable and really fall asleep at that point. Papa brought Beanie up just a little before nine, got her ready for bed and put her in with me. She nursed and fell asleep and I lay in bed trying to doze. Those weird Braxton Hicks just kept coming though. It was just about 9:30 that I realized they were happening about every 15 minutes. I was puzzled, but finally fell asleep. As I was sleeping, I kept being pulled back to awake by these odd sensations! Finally, at about 1:30 they got intense enough that waking up to one was too much. I was afraid that I was going to wake up moaning and wake the Bean. I woke Papa instead and we came downstairs. We lay on the couches and tried timing them for about half an hour before I decided I was calling the doula. I made the call at about 2:00 and Papa went to make himself some coffee. The doula, Nadah, arrived at about 2:30. The contractions were every 5 to 7 minutes at that point, but I still wasn’t convinced they were the real thing.

I had spent nine months envisioning my labor in mid-August taking place on a day in the nineties – hot like I like it! Instead, the house was 76 degrees. I was laying on the couch in a thin, Indian gauze nightgown. I asked Nadah if I was actually going to have the baby this time and she said it sure looked like it. I finally sent Papa upstairs for something warmer to wear. He brought down the nightgown I had intended to wear in labor, without having any idea that was the one I had picked. The foreshadowing was high, but I still hadn’t completely caught on. I really didn’t think that we were going to have a baby any time soon!

I don’t remember ever feeling the contractions as pain. They came on and as long as I remembered to stay calm and breathe, just as I had practiced with my hypnobabies, then I would do fine and they were over quickly. When I would tense against them, accidentally, they were more intense and lasted longer, so I had to be careful! They definitely became a little more intense and a little more intense as the evening wore on. I was trying to get comfortable on the couch, but if I lay down, I was in the wrong position and if I leaned any direction, it made the contractions start up again. I finally decided that I needed to lay down and if that meant laying in my bed and waking Beanie, that was what would have to happen. I went up and lay down and dozed for a little while. I’m not really certain how long I dozed, but I woke up just after 5:00. Somehow, the Bean had slept through my noise and had no idea anything was afoot.

When I woke up, I asked Papa to come down and ask Nadah something. I don’t remember what it was. At any rate, I lay in bed, by myself, with the contractions coming every 2 to 3 minutes for somewhere around 15 or 20 minutes. No one ever came back up. I think that was when Nadah told Papa to fill the birthing pool and he went straight to it without coming back to check on me! I finally got myself up, gathered up my courage, and went back down the stairs to have company and support again.

We had started calling Beanie's support person at about 4:30. Her phone was in the living room that night, though, and she didn’t hear it ringing. We called the midwife at about 5:30 and told her my contractions were 2 to 3 minutes apart. I must have been handling them pretty well because no one thought we were very close yet. We asked the midwife what she thought we should do. She had been at a birth until 2:00 that morning and had just gotten home to bed. Since it looked like I wasn’t doing anything quickly, she decided to send out the midwife apprentice to listen to the baby’s heart and to check me. The apprentice, Sarah, was to check me and call the midwife, Suzanne, and let her know if she was needed. Sarah was here in no time, and checked me over. She assured me that the baby’s heart rate was fine and that he was moving down! She would not, however, tell me what I was dilated to. I took this to mean that I was not dilating, just effacing, and that the baby wasn’t ready yet. I geared myself up for another 12 hours of labor, and kept riding out the contractions. Sarah checked me a few more times and made some calls to Suzanne. When Suzanne wasn’t on her way yet, I was certain that I still had a long road in front of me.

I had a TENS unit on my back for a while, to help with the intensity of the contractions, and Nadah and Sarah rubbed my lower back for a while as well. Papa generally did what Papa does and took care of things that needed to be done around the house. I am fairly certain that he went for filtered water and ice. He may have even taken the dog for a walk. When I asked for juice, he made me apple juice and when I finally came out with that I had wanted orange juice, he went back and made me orange juice as well. Since I kept thinking that I was going to labor for the rest of the day and into the night, I knew I needed to keep my strength up. I was afraid of having an IV so I was intent on staying hydrated. I drank quite a bit of juice since it seemed to be the only thing I thought I could keep down. I threw up with contractions several times, and was quite shakey for a while. I had read about women doing those things during transition, but I thought that I must simply be going to do them for the entirety of my labor.

When things finally got intense enough that I felt like I needed a break, somewhere around sunrise, I asked if I could get into the tub yet. Nadah and Sarah said I could and in we went. I stood next to it and was certain there was no way I could raise my leg high enough to get over the side. After another strong contraction, I decided it was the only way I was going to catch a little break and in I went! The water was wonderful – warm and relaxing. My contractions slowed down a bit in the pool and I was only having them every 5 to 6 minutes. However, they were quite intense and I had the strangest sensations as soon as I got in the tub! Along with the contraction would be a lot of pressure – both downwards and up into my stomach. I thought I must just need to throw up again, but never did through all of those contractions.

Finally, Suzanne and Beanie's support were on their way, and expected any time. Bean had been awake for nearly an hour and Papa had been caring for her. I wasn’t really making too much noise and she was only frightened by waking up to so many unexpected people in the house. Nadah and Sarah decided that I needed to get out of the tub and get my contractions going more steadily again. I didn’t want to and couldn’t think of anywhere comfortable to labor, but finally decided that if I sat on the toilet in the little half bath, I could rest my head and arms on the sink right across from it.

It was sitting there through the next contraction that I realized that pressure filled sensation was the urge to push! Without the water, I couldn’t stop pushing against it, but I was very concerned about pushing too early because I thought I wasn’t dilating at all! Another great contraction came and Nadah was standing at the door to the bath telling me not to push. As it ended I told her I was trying not to! I was still bearing down a little and I peed just a little. She asked me if I had peed and I affirmed that I had. Suddenly, there was this “pop” and more water hitting the bowl of the toilet. I looked up, a little dazed, and said, “But I don’t think that was pee.” Nadah responded with, “Neither do I!” Just at that moment, Sarah called from the living room that Suzanne was there, and Suzanne was walking through the front door. Another contraction came all in the same moment and I was pushing again. Nadah called back to Sarah and Suzanne that my water had just broken and that I was pushing. To my amazement, Suzanne’s voice came ringing through the house saying, “Ok, let her!” I couldn’t talk through the push, but I was thinking to myself that she was crazy! That they hadn’t told her I wasn’t dilating! That I had another 12 hours of labor to get through and that I couldn’t push for all of that against a closed cervix! Suzanne asked where I was as she came walking through the house and was told I was in the bathroom. She appeared in the doorway and very calmly said, “Ok, well let’s not have a baby on the pot. Let’s get back in the tub.” I was happy to comply.

Back in the tub the contractions slowed down again, but were just as intense. I couldn’t stop pushing and was still panicked. Suzanne was calm as could be, and asked to check me. I must have said that it wasn’t time to push yet but I couldn’t help it because she looked me right in the eye and said, “Kellie, reach down here and feel the baby’s head.”

“His head?” I asked, trying to figure out what she was talking about.

“Yes,” she said, “his head. It’s right here.”

Amazed and finally realizing what she meant, I reached down and felt his wrinkly little scalp just beginning to crown. As the realization hit me that we were actually having a baby – it was actually happening – I was renewed. I was no longer tired. I didn’t have any fear. This was what I had worked so hard to achieve! And it was time! And the time was 8:30.

I set about pushing with the next contraction, making a deep, low grunting/groaning sound in my throat. Right about that time, Bean's support person walked in looking at me incredulously. I looked up and told her, “You almost missed it!” She took Beanie in the living room to read books and Papa sat down in a chair at one end of the birthing tub. I was working hard, pushing as hard as I could, and groaning away like a cow on a hot summer day. I could feel his little head bearing down on me, but it felt like it was coming straight down on my perineum and my bottom. I remember thinking that I was pretty certain he couldn’t get out that way. After a few hard pushes, Suzanne told me to reach down on the next contraction and push him out into my hand. Now, I’ve never been one of those touchy feely people who wanted to catch my own baby or cut the cord, or anything like that, so this seemed like a strange request. Suzanne seemed to sense my hesitation and told me again to do it. I did and became more certain that he was aimed for my bottom and not towards the front. I could feel my skin bulging in the domed shape of his wee head. On the next push, I somehow shifted something, and felt his direction change. I was using muscles I had never used before and I didn’t know how to make them work – but my body did! Once I could feel which way he was going with my hand, I could instinctively figure out how to change the muscles I was using to head him in the right direction!

When I got that figured out, we started making some real progress. His head would come a bit further out each time. I pushed as hard as I could on one contraction, and it slid out so far! When the contraction was over, it slid back in though. I cried out, “Oh don’t go back in!” Suzanne, Nadah and Sarah all seemed to chuckle and Suzanne said, “Yes, that’s what it does. It comes out a lot and it goes back in a little. It’s ok!” A few more pushes and they changed my position again. I lay my head on the side of the tub and was resting. Suzanne wanted me to get up and walk around to get the contractions coming faster again. I told her no, I was just going to take a little break. She started to protest and I said, “I’m not giving up and I’m not wearing myself out. I’m just catching my breath and in just a minute, I’m going to have this baby.” She just said, “Ok” and left it at that.

Now, this whole time, Beanie had been coming in very quietly, keeping an eye on everyone, slipping past the end of the birthing pool and grabbing a stack of books to take back to the living room. A minute later she would appear for more. I remember looking at her between contractions and telling her it was ok. She looked very concerned, but not afraid. I never once heard her cry.

When the next contractions came, I went back to work solidly. It was only another few contractions before his head popped out all at once! He had the cord around his neck 2 or 3 times. Suzanne reached down quickly and pulled the cord off of him while he was still in the water. I don’t even know if there was another contraction and his body was coming. I don’t think he had turned all of the way and I remember feeling a sting as his shoulders came through and another when his feet came. I am fairly certain that is when I tore. After his shoulders came, but before his feet, Suzanne told me to reach down and grab him. I was leaned back in a funny squat, though, and I didn’t think I could keep my balance and reach down over myself to get him. I told Papa to do it. He started to say no and I just barked at him, “Just do it!” I think that was the only time I really said anything that could be considered unkind during the whole process. He later told me that he thought he would fall into the tub if he tried to reach in far enough to grab the baby, but did it anyway when I barked at him!

The Bug’s little face and head were blue, but his body was pink. I was never worried. The cord was still attached and I knew he would be fine. In just a moment, his face was pink and healthy and he had started to whimper. The oxygen was pulled out and blown across his face for a minute, but I think he would have been fine either way. I sat in the tub holding him and everyone just grinned and watched. Beanie appeared within a minute. The shades had been drawn and the lights weren’t on, so it was fairly dark in the room. I was the only one who remembered to look at the clock and see that the time was 9:10 AM. Beanie looked around in confusion and I was talking to her softly. I told her that the baby had "come out to play with us" and asked if she could see him. She looked all around the room and I said, “He’s right here, Baby. Mama’s holding him. Look.” She looked down at me with this squirmy little newborn baby crying on my chest, and didn’t look convinced. In all of the discussion about the new baby coming to live with us, she had been most excited that he would be sitting in the back seat with her. So, I said, “This is the baby. Is he going to sit in his go seat in the back seat with you?” Our attendants looked a little confused, but Beanie just grinned! She was so excited!

We tried to nurse for a minute in the tub. The cord was clamped and cut, and out we came! We walked upstairs, all of us, and tucked me into my bed which had been all prepared. We were looked over carefully and found to be in great condition. The Bug was weighed and measured and came in at 6 pounds 15 ounces and 19 inches. His apgars were 8, 9 and 9. He was indeed a healthy baby boy, and even looked a little post date with all of his wrinkly, peeling skin. I had done quite well too, and only had 2 very small tears; 1 at the top which wanted 2 stitches and 1 at the bottom which wanted 3 stitches. I, however, have never done well at all with needles and panicked at the thought of being stitched up! I refused the stitches and have healed up pretty nicely, albeit in a longer amount of time.

The birth was amazing and beautiful. I couldn’t have asked for better. I don’t remember anything that I felt as being really painful or unbearable – only intense. I remember Nadah telling me at one point to push against the burn and thinking, “What burn?” and also telling her after one amazing push, “This is incredible!” I remember looking up in the middle of pushing to see Papa, not afraid or annoyed like he was with Beanie’s birth, but beaming and looking awed. By that afternoon, I was saying, “Next time, we’ll do (such and such)!”

I don’t know if we will have more children or not, but if we do, they will definitely be born at home, and all of my care will be with a midwife. I no longer consider myself high risk. This pregnancy and birth was such a rebirth for me, as well. I know now that I can do it. I can grow a healthy, full term baby and I can give birth naturally. I won’t ever be afraid again. The mystery of birth is gone from me now, only strength and calm are there now when I think of it.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

School At Our House

Welcome to the September Carnival of Natural Parenting: We're all home schoolers

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how their children learn at home as a natural part of their day. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


My daughter is fascinated with school.  She loves to look at pictures of children writing, reading, crafting, or playing in a colorful classroom.  She loves to see the teacher sitting at the desk or writing on the board.  She loves the equipment.  She loves to watch the school buses go down the road, full of noisy, happy children.  And when I ask her if she wants to go to school, she bursts in to tears and clings to me.  This doesn't bother me in the least.  Instead, she goes to school at our house.

School at our house is mud.  It is seeds going into the ground and plants growing up from those seeds.  It is baby chicks who grew into full sized hens and should start laying eggs any day now.  It is a sand pit full of shovels, buckets, bins, and whatever else they find that looks like it belongs there.  It is two swings hanging in a tree.  It is finally being tall enough to climb into the little dogwood tree.  It is dolls in strollers, wearing cloth diapers, on their way to the "grocery store".  It is painting and doing special crafts.  It is peeling hard boiled eggs.  It is helping to build a playhouse, and getting the scrap lumber to use with their little hammers.  It is reading good books, all cuddled up in a pile on the couch.

In other words, school at our house is living, growing and learning doing just what we would be doing anyway.  They are learning Earth Science by watching the seasons go by from the actual out of doors.  They are learning about life cycles and where food actually comes from by watching the plants and animals come and go.  They are learning physics in the sand pit and on the swings.  They are learning creativity in their play, nutrition in their kitchen, and a love of language from their songs, stories and books.  My children are living and breathing their education.  They are getting it all over their clothes.  They are pouring it all over the dining room floor.  They are carrying it around the grocery store with them.  They are wearing it on their bodies.  They are sharing it with their friends.  The only thing they are not doing is reading about it at a desk.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated September 14 with all the carnival links.)

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Monday, September 13, 2010

This is How We Treat People

We treat all people with respect.
*We respect their needs.  We know that meeting the needs of someone else can be done without compromising our own needs.  We respect that if someone has a need, ignoring it or punishing them for it will not cause the need to go away.
*We respect their physical bodies.  We do not hit.  We do not bite.  We do not throw things at people.  We ask before removing their clothing.  When we need to touch them, we ask first (unless, of course, permission has been given long before).  We do not touch them in ways they do not like.
*We respect their possessions.  We do not break, write on, disfigure, or otherwise harm the possessions of others.

We speak nicely.
*There is a nice way to say everything.  We search it out, and use it.
*We make requests of others, not demands.  Giving someone a command only gives them 2 choices - obey or disobey.  Neither is a good choice.
*We say please and thank you.  Even when what we are asking for is not optional; "Please stop sneezing on me.  Thank you!"
*Sometimes we yell, but we apologize when we calm down.
*We do not call names, degrade, shame, or tear someone down.

We follow through on what we say.
*When we say something, we mean it.
*If we make a promise, we make good on it.
*We set boundaries and stick to them.
*We respect the boundaries of others.

This is how we treat people at our house.  This is how we treat all of the people at our house.  Whether they are over or under 18 years old.  Whether they have 2 legs or 4.  Whether they live here or not.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Getting it All Done

I operate best in a calm atmosphere.  Where there is clutter, I have mental clutter.  It has taken me a long time to realize this about myself, and it took a while to adjust to that realization and figure out how to operate best with it.  Now that I have, I often have people comment on how clean my house is, and question how I can possibly get it done with two children who are so young.  My secret is organization - of my belongings and my cleaning system.  Below are some of my "cleaning truths".

* Everything in your home should be beautiful and functional.  This is a Waldorf principal that just rings in me, every time I see or hear it.  Don't surround yourself with useless junk.  And what is useful can and should also be beautiful.  The more of a joy it is to look at your home and your things, the more joy you will get from setting your house to rights.

* Doing the cleaning in small, daily chunks keeps the house clean overall, without having a strained day of trying to get it all put back together after a week of neglect.

*Daily structure and a system of some sort makes it easier to get everything done in a timely manner.

I've tried several different "systems" to keep me going.

Fly Lady is great, and I've recommended her to many others.  But, at the end of the day, when I was done cleaning, I had to come back and spend more time that I was comfortable with cleaning out my inbox from her promotional emails.  Also, I don't ever amass much clutter, so throwing 30 items into a trash bag was not feasible for me.  And it always bothered me that I was supposed to and I wasn't.

Sidetracked Home Executives (SHE) was also a great system, but was ultimately too much for me.  I have small children and because of this, I need to be flexible.  I felt like my entire day was scheduled with this system, with no room for sitting down and playing Cattle Round Up.

Ultimately, I've alternated between 2 systems that has worked for me.  I have Outlook on my computer, and use it to organize my appointments, chores, and commitments.  I put in my morning routine things - take my medicine and vitamins, get off the computer.  I put in my daily chores for that day - clean the bathroom, dust, sweep and mop.  This allows me to have a time set aside for doing these things, as well as a pop up reminder that I'm not supposed to be online, I'm supposed to be working on something.  It is a good way to shake me out of an internet haze and send me back to the real world.  And it makes sure that the houseplants get watered before they get limp!

The other thing I've done is a small piece of the SHE system.  I have a file box that fits note cards.  It is a beautiful tin box, ornately painted, that I found at a yard sale last summer.  On blank index cards, I wrote down each of my morning chores.  They are in the box in order, with dividers for the days of the week.  As I do each chore, I shift it to behind the next day, at the back of the stack.  This system really keeps me on track because it helps me to focus on one item at a time.  Multitasking while cleaning doesn't really work so well for me.  I like to be able to have one clean surface done to look at when I get flustered.  From there, I can clean another entire surface, or focus on one other task.  I also have my weekly chores behind the daily chores.  For example, on Mondays, I do a big cleaning of the house.  The bathrooms, the dusting, the wood polishing, etc.  I sweep the floors most every day.  I mop every few days.  A great way to mark these as being different is to use different colored cards for the daily and weekly chores.  If you don't have different colors, you can simply color the top edge of the cards with a marker or crayon.  When I'm done with my morning chores, I start on my weekly chores for that day.  If I need to stop and help a child go potty, or play a game, or make a snack, it doesn't matter.  My card is still sitting there waiting for me to finish it up and turn it, and I don't feel like I'm getting backed up.  And if I don't get all of my cards done in one day, it doesn't matter.  The chores will still be there the next day, or the next week.  They'll get done.  And over all, my house looks beautiful most days!

My daily chores:
Plan dinner, set it out, make sure it isn't frozen
Medicine and Vitamins
Empty Dishwasher (Micah has almost always done this one by the time I get up)
Clear and wipe table after breakfast
Clear counters.  Wipe counters and stove.
Tidy living areas (Living Room, Dining Room and maybe Playroom)
Wash any full laundry hampers
Sweep the floors
Clear and wipe table after lunch
Make the bed
Tidy kids' room
Bring laundry downstairs
Switch laundry
Fold and put away finished laundry
Pick up toys and return to playroom
Put away toys in playroom
Clear and wipe the table after dinner

This might sound like a lot for one day, but because I stay on top of everything all of the time, none of it takes me very long.  I always have the morning chores done by about an hour and a half.  The afternoon chores also take about an hour and a half most days.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Let's Look For A Solution

When dealing with children, I think that, as adults, we have a tendency to try to be in charge, and get things done as quickly as possible.  But when we are dealing with children, we need to remember a few things.

One, they learn by example.  Young children take in who we are and what we do, and imitate it.  Therefore, they need something to imitate so that they can learn!  If we are constantly running to do something "very quickly" by ourselves, the child is missing a valuable opportunity to learn from what we are doing.  They really need the chance to tag along, even if it makes our chore last an extra minute or three.

Another, children do not think in a linear fashion.  Things that seem logical to us, do not seem logical to them.  Therefore, they will do things that don't make sense to us - not because they are trying to do something that doesn't make sense, but because to them, the correlation is less strong.  If a child is helping with a project and walks away, it doesn't always mean that they don't want to help.  It may mean that they don't realize that the project will no longer be there when they get back because you will continue to work without them.  They may need to be reminded so that they do not become frustrated when they return.

Last, children really need an example of positivity in their lives.  They really need to be able to look to adults to be "yes" people.  They NEED us to deliver yeses to them, when they are looking for something.  This doesn't mean that they need to always get their way.  What it means is that they need to hear that there is a way to meet all of our needs.  When a child comes to us with a request or is having a problem, it is our job (as the adult worthy of imitation) to set an example of how to find a solution.  A lot of the time, I see parents or caregivers take on the authoritarian approach, and attempt to tell the child what to do.  This leaves the child with 2 options - obey, or disobey.  Neither of these is really a good solution as they leave the child no room for growth.  Discussing the situation with the child, and helping them to find a solution, is a better alternative.  This approach involves the child, teaches him or her how to find a solution when they have an issue, and leaves them room to cooperate without feeling bullied by an authority figure.  It is a bit more work, in the beginning, to think of how to accommodate the children in our work, or how to tell them yes to playing in the sand when it is time to go to bed, but with a bit of practice, we learn to build in a few more minutes to our task (and the children learn the processes and get faster), and we learn how to tell the child that, yes, we can play in the sand some more - tomorrow.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Rhythm Of The Home

I just wanted to pop in quickly and add a link to one of my favorite online publications, Rhythm of the Home.  It is a fabulous online magazine with wonderful crafts, activities, and gentle thoughts about a Waldorf Lifestyle.

Check it out at http://rhythmofthehome.com/

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Quinoa With Bananas

A friend recently introduced me to quinoa and I am over the moon about it!  I'm sharing our breakfast recipe from this morning, made with it.  I think we will be having it pretty often this fall.

1/4 Cup dry quinoa per adult
1/2 Cup water per adult
Rice milk or almond milk or whatever substitute you prefer

Put quinoa and water in a pot and turn on medium heat.  Cook until water is almost gone.  Add enough rice milk to make it soupy again.  Let that cook in.  You can add more water or rice milk if you like it more soupy.  Sprinkle on cinnamon, stir in honey.  Slice a banana in.  Enjoy!

This is seriously the best breakfast I've had in a long time.