Spring has arrived in Milwaukee, or at least it has officially begun according to the calendar. You can see buds popping up all over, as long as you have warm layers and a slicker on for it is raining and raining and raining some more. Actually, today it is flurrying! I know, I know, spring equals precipitation, right? In our household, it also currently involves taking care of sick kids. It began with sniffly noses and sore throats in my girls. No biggie – I could handle this. Then last Monday, I was woken up early by my son for some snuggling. This is not too unusual, especially since we just swapped the older two children’s toddler beds for twin beds, and they are still adjusting. Right after Lincoln whispered, “Mama…I love you,” he vomited, all over himself and his bed. Oh brother.
Bridget writes: My new baby, my third and probably last child, is almost six months old. I have only had the honor of calling her mine for mere months, but Nayana and I have a history that goes back years before the quiet October night when I held her fresh, slippery body in my arms for the first time. Back before my two boys were no more than wishes in my heart, whispers foretelling a girl in our family would come to me in times of solitude.
I had waffled for the last few weeks over whether to buy the cheap Easter egg dyeing kit but opted instead this year to give natural dyes a try. The kids and I boiled some eggs (both white and brown), mixed up some new natural dye concoctions, got out some crayons, and set to work.
Doing a little bit of research on the computer and surveying my own cupboards, I chose paprika, coffee, hibiscus tea and beet juice as our samples for our first year of natural egg dyeing. For the beet juice, tea and coffee I simply mixed in a tablespoon of vinegar. For the paprika, I mixed about 3 heaping teaspoons with a cup of water and a tablespoon-plus of vinegar. The kids all helped mix while I helped hold the cups steady so we wouldn't dye the countertops!
Jaimmie writes: When my husband asked what I wanted for my first Mother's Day, I told him I wanted to go camping. So we packed up too much gear and our nearly one-year-old baby and headed out to nearby Kettle Moraine State Forest. It was cold and rainy at night and the gravel-covered site was swarming with biting gnats during the day. With the baby in the sling, we hiked trails that were buried under increasingly large, swampy puddles until the marshes and the mosquitoes compelled us to turn back. Of course, we had a splendid time.
Get practical ideas for interacting with children when Faith speaks about 5 Ways to Transform No into Yes at the National LifeWays Conference on May 18th, 2013. She will also offer an afternoon workshop on Allowing Children to Help, looking at fostering competence in children.
High Expectations vs. Unrealistic Expectations
I was talking with a friend who doesn’t spend regular time with children the other day, and he said, “Isn’t the key to having children behave just to have high expectations?” I laughed, and said,
“Well, having high expectations is important, as long as they’re not unrealistic.”
“Oh,” he replied. “Well, how can you tell the difference?”
Today has been a doozy of a day. After about a week of getting actual sleep after about 4 years of not sleeping, the night I knew was coming came and I am exhausted. We recently moved our three children into one room (we live in a small two-bedroom home) and the first two nights were great, with even one night of our youngest simply lying down and falling asleep during stories.
Pamela writes: Whenever I think about my four granddaughters, all born between Michaelmas and Easter, I smile with deep joy and pleasure. Who would have thought that I would have the priceless opportunity to relive the wonders of birth and babyhood, to share in those seemingly moment-to-moment miraculous transformations as each of them has developed into healthy young girls - now 8, 6, 6, and 6. I have also rediscovered my own childhood from a new perspective as a grandmother, reminding me of my very first Anthroposopohical read back in 1972: A.C. Harwood’s The Recovery of Man in Childhood. Although it is a close call, in some ways, love is really lovelier the second (generation) time around...if nothing else, there is a bit more breather space for observation and a few less sleepless nights!
I will be leaving my children with their daddy for the first time ever for a personal weekend trip away. In fact, I will be leaving my youngest on her 2nd birthday and will miss spending that special day with her. Why? I am heading to the first ever LifeWays Conference, Creating a Joyful Life with Children, May 18th in San Rafael, California! Though I’m a bit sad to miss Adella’s big day, I am so overjoyed to be a part of this celebration of an organization and community I passionately support.
Cynthia writes: It's happening! The conference we have been thinking about and hoping for over the past few years is coming to California this spring, co-sponsored by Marin Waldorf School!
[Editor's Note: This article explores personal experiences with two of the attributes of "The L.O.V.E. Approach to Discipline" developed by LifeWays founder, Cynthia Aldinger. To learn more or to share your own experiences, see information at the end of this article.
L - laughter and listening
O- order and objectivity
V - versatility and vulnerability
E - enthusiasm and energy]
Today as I lie next to my sleeping eldest child, watching her breathing calm and her sweet hands twitch from dreamy wonder, I whispered an apology. I had grown impatient with her just before she fell asleep. Ellia, four-and-a-quarter years old, is my deeply sensitive thinker of a child with a stubborn streak. More often than not, she resists napping.
Jane writes: Back when my now 17-year-old Gustav was a baby, I started going to a moms’ group at our church. We moms spanned a wide range of backgrounds: educational, economic, even religious. Our director picked a mothering book to read and we took turns presenting a chapter each week. We discussed the ideas presented and then gently widened the discussion. It was a wonderful circle of women and, though I loved them all dearly, I enjoyed leaving them all to that distinct group. They did not become my dear friends or movie companions. They were my moms’ group.
Part of that experience was a yearly retreat. One of the women offered her lovely house on Pewaukee Lake for a whole Saturday sometime during the Easter season. It was always a huge pain in the backside to arrange a whole day away from my kids and family, but as you would expect, I was always so glad I did it. It was a wonderful experience to spend one day reflecting on the question, “Why am I doing this?!”
Sometimes it seems as though I am in a time warp. It's as if toddlers have the power to bend, shape and shrink time until it nearly disappears. I wonder how I will ever manage to do all the things I need to do and at least a few of the things I'd like to do. I have lots of creative projects I'd like to start and others that I'd like to finish. A lovely wool romper sits patiently awaiting more rows of stitches. There is a basket of stained clothes ready to be dyed that I am eager to tend to.
I am not a philosopher. I struggle my way through any philosophical writing, rereading paragraphs and chapters, mostly due to my obsessive nature and need to know, understand, and remember every morsel of what I read. I feel I need to be an expert after reading something, or I should just give up. That said, reading Rudolf Steiner’s work is a huge challenge for me, and I confess I haven’t read too much of his plethora of work.
[NOTE: This insight from Faith seemed so timely, that I asked her if we could post it here. The letter originally went out to the members of Joyful Toddlers, as part of the ongoing support they receive from Faith. To learn more about the next Joyful Toddlers' Teleclass, starting Jan. 27, and membership opportunities, see www.joyfultoddlers.com.]
by Faith Collins:
Most of the people I know are not very interested in New Year's Resolutions; they either laugh a bit cynically, or they're against them altogether.
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