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South | North

At Last

At long last, I am in a quiet house at quiet time and can sort out my thoughts.  At least, I hope I can.  Things have been changing here at our house, for the better, of course, after many long and difficult months.  We've been working really hard at really learning to live with our children instead of in spite of our children.  I could see intimations of this in the past six years, but I've never really been as steadfast with it as I could be.

Feeling at the end of my rope, I began to look to the Lifeways folks for inspiration and practical advice.  I figured if anyone knew how to live and work with children and do it respectfully, it would be them.  That's why I decided to sign up for the Joyful Toddlers! tele-class.  I knew that I needed some sort of help to get things going in a positive direction again.  I was starting to feel very, very discouraged.  Now I feel much more encouraged and I can see that a lot of what we need to add meaning to our days are social graces and rituals, even simple ones.

DSC_9422Things are coming to fruition around here.  I can see that having several young children is great cause for a disorderly, lived-in home, but it can also be cause for having a tidy and helpful home.  If I stay on track, I have willing helpers for many chores and I can have children who are well-mannered.  If I keep my even keel, they are more likely to keep theirs or recover more easily.  I have used songs to cue transitions for about 2.5 years and we are doing now with even greater enthusiasm.

My kitchen counters can stay clean and I have a little boy who would wash dishes any time I ask.  We have to run him off when it's Willow's turn!  I had so much hesitation about truly, frequently, consistently involving my children in the work of home, thinking it would be messy and take too long.  I never  thought that having help with meal cleanup from my very young children would result in a cleaner, neater kitchen.  We put on aprons every single time and sing a song.  I have to stay in the kitchen, instead of darting here and there and checking e-mail, and my work is easily done.  I'm accountable and it makes all the difference.

Rhythm is becoming even more ingrained in our lives here, as well.  Though Mike does travel, he has a regular start time for work and is up to help with bedmaking.  He's home for most suppers and lunches, too, and gets a whole hour at lunch!  We can sit and really take the care needed to have a successful meal with young children.  I am hoping that Willow will continue to eat better, as feeding her has always, always been a challenge.  Speaking of that, I'm planning a new blessing, which I'm so excited about.  Just waiting for the right time to introduce it.

The new cooler weather rhythm is settling in well and I feel nearly set on it.  I have a watercolor paper that is waiting for me to put it all down.  Our after lunch time is now devoted to outside and Roan is napping once again, now that he's had enough outside time to really get his energy out (and in a healthy and productive way).  I'm singing a seasonal song to help Laurel through diaper changes, since she often just wants to roll over and crawl away.  I'm so thankful for the Enki CD's to help me learn new songs, since I sing by ear, though I can read music.

Evenings are still a little disjointed.  The time change has made circadian rhythms feel stronger and it is easy to feel sleepy at 7:30, though that would mean a 5:30 wake-up time.  I feel it will work out in time.  Everything does.  Last night, we wrapped up in blankets and tried to look at the stars.  Some of us got cold, but we got out there and it helped pass the time.  The other night, we took a super-dark walk at 5:30 and stayed out a whole hour.  I'm hoping to add a regular prayer for bedtime and I'm waiting for the right one to find us.  I do have a lovely verse that I'm saving for a snowy night and I suppose I'll end there.

When cold winds blow,
And bring us snow,
At night what I like most
Is to climb in my bed
And hide my head
And sleep as warm as toast!



( 4 trees — Plant a Forest )
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 11th, 2014 11:33 am (UTC)
Involving the children has helped with a host of issues that were making me, well, crazy. Roan really needs meaningful things to do and Willow loves to have order (and has plenty of help to create disorder, much to her dismay!). I just felt like I was drowning and never having time to do "fun" things with them. I also really wanted to bloom here, since I don't have plans to send my children to school. Something had to change. :-)
Alexis Putnam
Nov. 11th, 2014 05:47 am (UTC)
Wow, this is just what I needed to read! I'm struggling in the areas you mentioned, we've been doing better with our daily/weekly general rhythms but I generally do all the cleaning/housework when the kids are otherwise occupied and I get so drained/lazy sometimes! Then things get pretty messy, or I get cranky about doing so much work all the time. And I've also been frustrated with general rudeness I'm seeing in the kids :-(. My kids are 5, 3, and 1 and that tele-class is pretty tempting. It's kind of expensive - do you feel it was worth it, or that the information is all available in various blog posts?
Nov. 11th, 2014 11:53 am (UTC)
Your children are very nearly the same ages as mine. Three in five (or four!) is hard work! For me, I really wanted something to reset me, to make me a nice mama again. I was terribly burned out. Many of the things discussed are quiet basic, at least for those of us who love to learn about early childhood, and I wondered if I had misused my very limited resources. However, it was helpful to devote time to revisit the basics and learn numerous new things to do and ways of thinking.

There's a 1.5 hour call each week for six weeks, and three or four videos for each session. There are songs more devoted to a specific task, unlike Enki's non-coercive songs. There's also a discussion page for each week, which has been helpful. I think it's helpful to have the accountability, mostly. It's like these were things I should have known all along but could not put the pieces together. Similar reasons to why I took the plunge and purchased the Enki materials. :-)
( 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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