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On the Littlest Girl

The time of heightened body awareness is marked by the experience of wholeness, of being at one with our world. Whatever is received is received as a whole; whatever is received, is received by the whole person. The child is inseparable from his world. It moves through him like a formative force.

It is generally agreed that the young child learns through imitation. But this is not simply a process of the child copying you. He does not copy the movement of your finger; its movement imprints on him literally as a foot imprints the wet sand. We find there are no buffers, no internal protection. Modern neuroscience is revealing aspects of the brain - mirror neurons - that are set up specifically for this skill.  The young child is fully pierced or imprinted
by all he meets.

~Enki Homeschool Teaching Guides : Book II

I often say that Laurel Mae is the most integrated of our children.  What I mean by that is a little fuzzy, but it's just the word that comes to mind when I think of her.  Let's see if I can make it more clear.

Some people talk about the baby of the family getting away with more because the parents are tired.  Here, we are still tired, but I have a better handle on things now.  I understand the power of boundaries and how children need them.  It's not a world filled with "no," but a home with rhythm, movement, and a mother who has confidence in what she is doing (most of the time).  Laurel knows the patterns to our days well and she is starting to know the boundaries we have here.

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Sadly, one of those is that she cannot run free on hikes, bless her heart.  She is our child with no fear and gets worn, quite often, for her own safety.  She understands "hot" and "sharp" and "yuck," but staying with a responsible adult is the last thing on her mind.  She is not at all timid.  I always hated those baby leashes, but our girl needs something--wrap, jump rope, something.  We have to attach her to the little slide while planting seeds and things.  She's getting used to the new boundary, thankfully.


She is our only child who is unconcerned about cold water.  Water, in general, is fascinating to her.  She gets upset when it is not her turn for a bath.  The children have a little stuffed fish.  If you get close to water of any kind when Laurel is holding it, she'll throw it right in.  Every time.  Even in the swamp.


She's also our child who has taught me the power of imitation.  Imitation and experience are the main teachers of early childhood and I am learning to look at them with reverence.  Hats for little people to keep sunburns at bay?  Mama wears one, too!  Laurel knows all our songs and can sing them at the appropriate times.  I don't ask her to, but she just does.  Songs for dressing, for sad babies, for going on walks, for circle times--she's got them.


Laurel is our child who lives most fully in her body, integrated.  Even in the womb, she would twist and turn and stick her behind by my belly button.  Ooooh, it hurt!  She's still twisting and turning, sticking her behind in the air when she nurses, unless she is very tired or snuggly.  She runs and walks and slides and moves with great confidence.  Her trial at painting, above, was sweet until she wanted to taste the paint.  Oh, well.  My efforts at keeping her busy while the others painted didn't work out so well.

I must admit that I am both excited and a little nervous at the years ahead with her.  She does have the benefit of an experienced (sort of) mother and older siblings.  Roan and Willow were the warm-up for this sweet, funny, wild girl.


( 4 trees — Plant a Forest )
May. 13th, 2015 04:34 pm (UTC)
I can see why people don't like leashes, because of association with pets, but I can't see what the REAL problem with them is. I've never used one, but it seems like a way to give them MORE independence, compared to a stroller or carrier, while keeping them safe.

She sounds a lot like Sophia :) Especially not caring about staying with an adult!
May. 14th, 2015 10:38 am (UTC)
Yes, I think it does come down to more independence for her, which she is clearly going to seize. ;-) And there are jobs I need to do where carrying a baby is just not feasible.
May. 13th, 2015 05:42 pm (UTC)
Miriam is a huge water lover, too. I can't even wash my hands without her nudging in and sticking her hands in the water. I can get a lot done if I park her at the sink with the water running a tiny bit and give her a little cup! Gnarly loved water, too, but until a few months ago, Leah hated it and would melt down if she got so much as a drop on her. Poor sensory kiddo.

But unlike Laurel, Miri is cautious, and does not like to be far from me. It is unusual for her to let me leave the room without screaming and running after me. She is a huge mess maker, but is safe. (The mess making is further helped by her insane ability to open bags and containers.) Thanks to older siblings, she's learned what she can and can't do. She loved to paint with the big kids, but, yeah, I do have to watch her to make sure she's not tasting things!
May. 14th, 2015 10:40 am (UTC)
Willow loved to stand at the sink with the water dribbling out, too. She was super cautious, Roan was middle of the road. They keep us on our toes, one way or another. :-)
( 4 trees — Plant a Forest )

A Blessed Wilderness

It was just like being in heaven, being in there. In those days there was no road. The park was all a blessed wilderness. I have often thought what a wonderful people we would have been if we had wanted to keep it that way.

~Adolph Murie, biologist, on Denali


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