Tag Archives: Raising Kids

Dance Pants

We love music in this house. We sing almost everything from “where’s the milk” to “time for bed.”

It is perfectly delightful.

And at some point on almost every day we blast the techno. DJ Tiesto is a household name–Weasley even asks for it. Wiggles shakes her booty in a flurry of smiles and giggles and flailing limbs. In my eyes, nothing is more wonderful.

I was a dancer until I had children, my husband and I met ice skating and we love to go dancing on our nights out. Movement and music is part of us. And as such, it is part of our children.

In the parenting trend of Baby Einstein and The Mozart Effect, I diverge.

I spent Weasley’s babyhood immersing him in classical music and exposing him to every composer that would supposedly boost his intelligence. And you know what? Baby Einstein taught him how to sit in front of the TV and listening to Mozart pretty much bored him (except for Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca–that made him dance his funny little toddler pants off).

As a music major in college, I was convinced that classical music truly had the ability to “organize one’s brain.” But what I came to learn as a parent is that is just doesn’t matter. I honestly don’t have any control over my children’s intelligence level. And why would I want to control it anyway? We live in a society so full of messages that your kids don’t fit in a particular box. They move too much, they talk too much, they read too late, they walk too soon… It’s never just “your child is so good at who they are.”

Now, I am not saying I don’t have an appreciation for classical music. I spent my entire childhood dancing ballet to classical composers and went on to study music in college. I have a great amount of classical music education under my belt but I really feel that kids need a variety of music in their education.

Something that made me realize classical music isn’t the only thing your child should listen to is Kindermusik. I got my Kindermusik teaching license when Weasley was still a toddler. And I was shocked when I realized there were very few classical music pieces in the Kindermusik lessons. In fact, most of their music depended on what age the child was and how to get them interacting. Music + movement! This got me thinking. It doesn’t matter what music the kids are listening to as long it makes them move and smile.

For us, that’s techno.

And let me tell you, the kids love it!

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He’s A Big Kid Now

My Weasley is growing up. I just had a glimpse of him being his own person and living his own life–discovering and experiencing things as only he will.

He was playing outside in the spring sunshine and came running into the house whispering,

“Mom! I have a surprise!”

There was a sweetness and gentleness in his tone that made me completely attentive. The first thing that ran through my mind?

“Oh no, this is it, he has found some sort of wild pet and he is bringing it in the house.”

It was just something in his tone. It sounded very caring and tender. Next thought I had was

“Is it a mouse? A bird? A rabbit??”

He walked gently around the corner with his hands cupped together.

“Ok brace yourself,” I thought.

“Look mom! I found a caterpillar!!”

“Whew. Ok. Oh how cool, honey!”

I don’t know why I was so terrified of what he was delivering to me but the thought of a mouse or bird getting loose in the house was, well, ew. Then I realized that it was inevitable. He is finally a big kid–and a boy none the less. Creatures will find their way into my house. And that’s ok. When I was a six, I would bring newts and snakes into my mom’s house. (Maybe that’s why I was nervous!)

But what I really realized in the whole scene was that he is living his own life. He is discovering his own experiences with the world. I am not guiding him like I used to. Things like caterpillars weren’t a surprise before because I was there. I was guiding him in his play. We’d discover things like that together. In a way I miss it. I miss searching for ants and caterpillars and seeing the look on his face when we found one. But I am so thankful for having those moments with him. And I am thankful for him experiencing them on his own and for him growing up and having his own experiences. And I am thankful for him still wanting to share them with me.

I love being a mom!

Simplification Tactics

Last week I tackled the kids toys. It was a bit overwhelming to start but once I got into it, it was easy. I threw out everything that wasn’t a matching set, was out of batteries, (I hate battery operated toys), broken, or anything that just wasn’t played with in the last few months (that took care of a lot of it). But in my very impatient opinion it took too much time to accomplish. So when I moved onto sorting kids books, I took on a new tactic.

We had lots of books that were never touched and I’ve often wondered if we should keep them for some unknown reason. So I pulled all the books off the bookshelf and stared at them all for a few minutes completely overwhelmed (and slightly buried) before I began sorting them into “keep, maybe keep, look at them again, get rid of, and torn.” Yeah, lots of piles and I was incredibly overwhelmed. That’s when I decided to only put the “definitely keep” books back on the shelf. When I looked at the rest of the piles, it was easy to just put them all in the “get rid of” box.

The shelf looked clean and simple and meaningful. I didn’t want to add anything else to it. So my new simplification tactic is to pull out all our “definitely keep” items from amongst the clutter and just give everything else to goodwill.

There is no reason to sort.

Just pull out what is necessary and discard the rest. It is much faster and takes less brainpower. Thankfully I am easily distracted so once something is in the goodwill box, I can’t remember what it is! (I never needed it anyway, right?) Simplifying this way eliminates the “what if I need this someday” question. That question is usually my downfall in simplifying.

I am very excited to experiment with this tactic throughout the rest of the house. Today I am tackling linens and possibly clothes. My next step will be to purchase some clear boxes and make sure everything has a place. Using the boxes will also make moving easier since everything will be pre-packed. And the kids will have a difficult time opening the boxes so I will always know when something is being played with–no more surprise messes.

I am so excited to simplify.

Hopefully by the end of Lent, the house will be completely decluttered just in time for spring and outdoor fun!

The Mom Pledge

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I am so excited to take the Mom Pledge and be a part of such an encouraging blogging community!

Raising kids is hard–especially if you are told you aren’t doing it right. Every child is different. Every parent will do things differently.
And there is no one person on this earth that knows how to raise another human being perfectly.

Discouragement is the worst thing a mother can experience. As a parent there have been many times when I have been told my parenting was insufficient. And it brought me down. Way down.

My desire is to love my children. If I teach my children nothing else I want them to know joy. And Love. I hope to give them a foundation for a happy life. Everything else is fleeting in my opinion.

If your child doesn’t have all their immunizations, if they don’t potty train by two, if they don’t learn to ready by five, if they throw a tantrum in the grocery store, it just doesn’t matter–it is a fleeting moment in time. None of that matters and I don’t want to know any one person’s opinion on why or why my child should or should not have or do a certain thing.

There is no magical formulation to raising a human. It is complicated. And personal. And difficult. And beautiful. And emotional. And amazing. There is no point in telling a mother they are wrong in how they raise their kids.

I have no desire to feel more knowledgeable or powerful than another mother. I want to be a part of a community of mothers that love their children and encourage each other. I hold no parenting answers. I will accept advice when it is solicited. I will admire the knowledge that another mother has learned over the years. But I will accept no hostile comments toward my motherhood. I love my kids. And I will do everything in my power to show them that and to raise them to be happy human beings. But in order to teach them happiness I need to be happy. Happy with myself and happy with my kids.

And I know I make mistakes.

And most likely I will know it when I do make a mistake. Telling me I am not a “good” mother for whatever reason will only make my life dark. I choose to ignore the hostile comments and focus on the love I have for my children.

I am new to the blogging world and I love it! But everything I say in my blog is my opinion and it is about things that work for my family. In no way do I expect what I say or do to work perfectly for another mother. But I do hope to share a laugh or encourage another mother. And I hope I gain encouragement from other mom bloggers. There is no reason to share hate or hostility.

I long for a community of women who listen, discuss and encourage each other. We are all humans raising humans and I love and respect the challenge and joy that comes with that.

And to all you mothers, you are doing a great job!

Slime

Today we made slime.

Squishy, bouncy, stretchy, well, slimy slime.

It.

Is.

Wonderful.

I’m going to tag this as the best craft ever–after all who doesn’t want to make a craft you can play with???

Here’s how to make it:

1 cup glue
3/4 a cup warm water
Food dye
4 teaspoons borax
1 1/3 cups warm water

Mix together the 1 cup of glue and the 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Add whatever color food dye you want the slime to be and mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix the 4 teaspoons borax and the 1 1/3 cups warm water. Now pour the borax mixture into the glue mixture. Do not stir. Leave it for one minute and then mix it together. It will have become a thick gel-like substance at this point. (The water and gel will not fully mix together)

Pull the gel-like portion out of the mixture and put it in a plastic bag. Close the bag and kneed the gel until it is one consistency. Now take it out of the bag and play with it! (This is where I got super excited about this awesome new creation and had a difficult time handing it over to Weasley.)

You can keep it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh but it seems more pliable when warm.

Do not let this get on the carpet or clothing–it sticks to most fibrous materials.

Have fun!

Sadly Sterile

It has been revealed to me what a sterile world we live in.  We might as well live in white boxes painted with purell.  Our children go from home to school to home to video games to bed and so on while in between they eat perfectly sterile looking food and wash their hands to sterile perfection.  We are raising a generation of anxious germaphobic people who are afraid to leave their houses in the case of contracting some sort of illness.  I believe fear in general is the basis of this condition. Our children are not allowed to walk down the street to their friends house alone for fear of coming in contact with an evil stranger.  They are also forbidden from climbing trees, playing in creeks, running through the fields  or spashing in mud puddles  for other obvious germophobic anxiety ridden reasons.  No, this generation is trapped in the box of “perfect” society where everything must be disinfected, purified, simplified to the point of no imagination.

What interests me the most is how this has caused a dramatic loss of tradition.  Generation of generations past used to tell their grandchildren about the fun they had playing with chickens, exploring creekbeds and riding their bikes to the friend on the other end town.  It used to be that we spent time practicing certain traditions around certain holidays with certain family members.  Now we spend time alone reading internet blogs in our green (sterile) lofts.

When my child was a toddler I was studying human development and came to realize how many children my son’s age were being diagnosed with autism and sensory processing disorder–its rather phenominal.  Some say its that the symptoms for the disorders have been expanded which in part is true.  But I have a different idea.  As I began raising my son in the same sterile manner that most modern parents are following, I realized that something was wrong.  There was no introduction in infancy through later childhood to certain things.  Dirt, a tactile and healthy thing is now forbidden.  When are babies allowed to rub their hands along tree trunks?  When are children allowed to let their feet feel the cool stream run over them, under them, around them?  Without natural (normal) introductions to healthy stimuli a human is naturally going to lack the sensory ability to partake in such senses and therefore  be more sensitive to such things.  What about smells?  Are children now raised to think that clorox wipes and hand sanitizer among other things are healthy?  What about flowers? Trees? Grass?  Dirt itself?  Or even manuar?  Sweat?  These are things that allow for a healthy “sensory diet.”  How about pain?  Our children are babied now days.  When they fall down they are babied and disifected to prevent such horrors as a staff infection.  When will a child learn to endure pain?  Falling and scraping a knee (while climbing a tree) merely teaches them that pain does not kill–only makes you stronger.  Our children aren’t spanked and many not effectively disciplined at all.  They are confused between right and wrong, good and bad.  Those things don’t exsist within their box. (A different topic entirely)

Can we raise our children to appreciate beauty if we don’t let them partake in it?  Sound.  Music.  How many children do you know that can walk outside and appreciate the music of the wind in the trees?  They must be taught and exposed to such things.  Of course this also demands that we have a less busy schedule.  One where we can teach our children that is it ok to stop and relax and enjoy the moment–to be present in who they are, in where they are.

Something that made my mind fly in this direction was when I was sitting in church one day.  In the orthodox church, all the senses are explored.  The gold and bright colors, the incense, the music–everything penitrates deeply coming straight from hundreds of years ago, passed down by tradition.  They are all strong senses.  And in this environment they all point to holiness–to God.  But isn’t that true of the rest of the world?  Our being here is a gift.  Shouldn’t we at least be thankful enough to partake of what we are given?  To stop and smell the roses so to speak?  Slow down, get your hands a little dirty, your feet a little wet and enjoy life outside of that purell coated lifestyle.