because it’s been a while… and i wanted to put something out there that would make everyone smile, even if it’s putting myself out there in a seemingly embarrassing way. really, it’s just a little tidbit, but i hope you enjoy.
a little family outing to the franklin park conservatory for blooms and butterflies. the girls loved it. we even have a caterpillar of our very own at home growing and changing in his little box. and every morning adelaide is eager to see what great changes he has made. as of now, he’s at least doubled in size. he’s no longer completely black. a new bright green striping has appeared, and his little home is covered with what looks like webbing. he is getting ready to spin his chrysalis and become a painted lady butterfly. a new book about butterflies is arriving soon so that we can continue to discuss all that we’ve observed. this outing to the conservatory to watch the butterflies has happened once a year for a few years and we are starting to really enjoy the process. the girls are beginning to understand more about what they see. should we move from our fair city, it is something i will miss dearly. after all, my first mother’s day was spent with a butterfly on adelaide’s shoulder.
today starts screen-free week. our family will be taking the challenge. fortunately, our children are already screen free. the challenge will be mostly for d and i. certainly, after the kids go to bed, there is a lot of internet time, and tv time, and tablet absorption. i am hoping that we can spend more time together, without the screen, and really get to delve deeper in to our relationship. it is so incredibly important to us both.
i have a few books lined up, and i am attempting to read some fiction after a several year hiatus. i also have all the pieces cut for a special big girl quilt for adelaide, and i am looking forward to sharing updates on that project with you at the end of the week.
we have some game ideas in mind, and some work outdoors to do. i think we’ll be surprised by how quickly the week passes.
we are allowing ourselves one time a day to check our email, as email is so important these days. but, we will not be using screens for visual entertainment. we are ‘unplugging’ life. and so, i won’t be able to post here regularly. but, i do have one post prepared ahead of time, which will come out later this week. and next monday, we’ll update you on how are week went.
i invite you to take this challenge with us, especially those of you with children. there are so many studies now that show how time in front of the TV or computer negatively affects development in children. and let’s not even mention how kids are exposed to unnecessary violence and the sexualization of girls, and shameless commercialism and marketing. if your child is under the age of two, the american academy of pediatrics recommends NO screen time.
i am not here to preach, by any means. but i would like to say that i believe childhood is beyond precious, so precious. it is something to savor and cherish. and i believe it is to our benefit to allow children to be children as long as possible. exposing children to unnecessary media early on stifles imaginative play, which is a precursor for analytical thinking and problem-solving. too many young girls think their self-worth is tied up in appearance. and more and more, kids and parents are spending less quality time together. i want my girls to grow up in a world of magic, and i want them to relish in their childhood, and i aim to protect it for as long as i possibly can. is it hard sometimes without an electronic babysitter? sure. but, i think it’s worth it. it allows creativity to soar, and i believe it will help my girls to form healthy relationships with each other, with me, and with the world around them. without the influence of media, they will know truly what their place in this great world is.
join me, i know you won’t be sorry.
rhythm is so important to the young child. it comes in many forms. daily, weekly and yearly rhythms are all incredibly vital in the young child’s life. with yearly rhythms, we can recognize the changing of the seasons and the holidays/festivals which mark these moments. yearly, we can look at the greater rhythm of nature and how we fit into that. weekly rhythm can set predictability and boundary for children, which offers a sense of security and warmth. it gives them context in which their world is structured. and daily rhythm becomes the bread and butter of our lives. it allows children to relax into the day and experience it fully, knowing that the structure of the day provides a perfect opportunity for life to fill in between the lines. they no longer need to worry about what might be coming next. instead, they can invest fully in the moment and the imaginative play, or task that might be at hand.
i admit that i am a rather unstructured person, and so i struggle with rhythm. our family is young and we are just beginning to pencil in the outlines of rhythm. our holiday and seasonal recognition is blossoming this year. and in some ways, our daily rhythm has always been strong. i recognize that we lack weekly rhythm, and i have started this by simply creating a breakfast plan for each day of the week. our weekly breakfasts include pancakes, french toast, quinoa/rice cereal, creamy wheat farina, creamy oats and oatmeal. all are accompanied with fruit and warm herbal tea. i save the more complicated meals for when d is home, usually during the middle of the week. he enjoys preparing breakfast for the girls. and as cooking has never been one of my greatest joys, i glad to share the task with him.
on the other hand, our daily rhythm has been quite strong ever since the girls were newly born. we let them be themselves. we never set a schedule for them. but, when they, in their own tiny ways, told us they were ready, we began simply with the night time routine. where some might see rigidity, i see opportunity to flourish. and, so they have.
today, i’d like to share our night time rhythm with you. it gives me an excuse to show you my new shower curtain! please remember that this is what works for us, and what works right now. the routine has changed greatly over the years. as the children change and grow, so our routine does too.
we believe in naps and early bed times. our girls are usually in bed before 7:30. they spend all day playing vigorously. no sitting in front of the tube for us! and so, they need all the rest they can get.
after dinner follows, almost immediately, bath time. some days we just play in the tub. sometimes we get a full scrub down. and sometimes we focus just on the essential parts. we only use castile soap from dr. bronner’s and calendula products from weleda. some days adelaide washes herself with her own special bar of soap. other days, i help when i can.
after we’re all dry, it’s time to brush our teeth. night time ‘underwear’ goes on, and i signal tooth brushing time with a little song:
brush, brush, brush your teeth
brush them twice a day
brush, brush, brush your teeth
to avoid tooth decay
(to the tune of ‘row row row your boat’ – can you tell d helped with the lyrics?)
we like to brush our teeth with our children. it helps model the correct way to brush. we also like to help with the brushing since our girls are a little young to do it all on their own and oral health is so important. we use the calendula tooth gel from weleda, always sure to steer clear of fluoride.
then, when it’s time to put the toothbrushes away, and go to bed, we sing another song:
you may no longer stay
bedtime is on its way
toothbrush goodnight, goodnight
(to the tune of ‘autumn goodbye’, a german folksong featured on ‘come follow me’ volume 2)
with everything in its proper place, it’s time to put on pajamas and read a story. we gather in the bedroom and pick one book to read. we only pick one story to keep things clear in our girls’ heads as they drift off to sleep. sometimes we read the same story several times, and look at the pictures in depth if they want to hear more. lately, adelaide has been asking for ‘the three little pigs‘ every night. the pictures are so full of detail. it’s hard not to look more.
when the story is done, and it’s time for bed, we say a little verse from ‘seven times the sun‘ and it includes hand motions. i will have to get a video of us doing this to share with you. our version of the verse goes as follows:
the dark comes like a blanket
protecting us at night
and the moon shines like the heart of the universe
providing gentle light
the stars call forth our sparkling dreams
like waves upon the shore
to greet the night time pilgrims
as we journey through sleep’s door
then, it’s kisses all around and lights out. we keep the fan on all year and change its direction with the seasons. it provides a soothing rhythmic background noise. sometimes i sit in the rocking chair and rock and hum until they drift off. other times, they’re already asleep as i tiptoe out of the door. often, someone escapes out their bedroom door and must be returned to their proper bed. and every now and then, they like to sleep together. but, it’s all okay.
that shower curtain, by the way, i couldn’t be more excited about! i sewed it together from a collection of fabric by lida enche. in the depths of january, i was searching for color everywhere. and then, i found this lovely collection and just knew i had to have it. what to do with it? well, i decided to actually make use of some of those pinterest pins. and a new shower curtain it was! although, i have so much leftover fabric, i could make two twin quilts. so… there will be plenty more where that came from. i sewed up 9 x9 blocks of fabric in a color gradient and used grommets at the top for the shower curtain rings. all in all, i really like it. it’s just the right bit of color for a rather dull spot. (sorry, for the toilet in so many photos. the bathroom is what it is…)
sometimes spring weather can be unpredictable and it’s best to have a bit of fun ready ahead of time in case of a rainy day. be prepared, i always say.
the girls recently got new waterbottles, which i will post about later, and i thought it fitting to knit a few waterbottle covers. there was plenty of yarn leftover from that project. what to do? goodness knows i couldn’t just sit idly by. so, i took the rather regal yellow (cadmium malabrigo worsted) and knit a couple crowns. and then, i fulled or felted them. adelaide was fairly excited about the crowns, even though she’s not a big fan of wearing things on her head.
the crowns couldn’t be more perfect for indoor imaginative play. they can be queens and princesses and all manner of other royalty. Or, they could use them as necklaces, fancy party hats, or even, as you’ll see, rags to wash the windows. humph.
and sometimes you get so excited that you can hardly sit still and then mama gets zero quality photos to share. oh well. as always, my notes can be found on my ravelry account.
but the kids don’t. ah, such is life. such is a life lived among nature. and such are the various moods of children.
i am thankful we experienced our local wetland prairie together, in spite of the wind and fury. it’s these moments that make up the core of being.
the weather report kept hinting at rain. and finally, after many days, it began to sprinkle on leaf and seed. the skies rolled with dark moody clouds.
Pitter, patter raindrops,
falling on the treetops,
falling down on garden beds,
wetting all the children’s heads.
Pitter, patter raindrops,
falling on the treetops.
we are dealing with storms of our own. it may be that the flu has found its way to our home. the rain invites us to cuddle in bed, to pile on the blankets and settle into good books while we nurse ourselves back to health.
there’s something so sweet about sleeping beauties, even if it’s illness that’s got them down. still so loveable.