Archive for the ‘Kids’ Category

I Am Mom to A Boy

He loves dirt.  The edible kind too.

He gets boo boos from being daring. ūüė¶

He likes to kiss wild things.

He makes this sound, “brrrrmmmmm” every time he sees or hears anything motorized.

And loves getting to ride anything that goes “brrrrmmmmm”

But this little boy is a sweet one. ¬†He’ll hug just about anything that will let him. ¬†Especially Me!!!

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I am no where near “school age” with Judah but I have already begun to think about the topic. ¬†Something about public education doesn’t sit right with me for many reasons and I was never fond of public school myself, so I have already been pondering the alternatives. ¬†Private Schools. ¬†Charter Schools. ¬†Homeschooling. ¬†Unschooling???

Unschooling is a relatively new term to me and I am in no way an expert nor do I have much experience with it. But as I have been researching the concept, it is has peaked quite an interest in me. ¬†Unschooling, also known as natural learning or life learning, is a concept of learning that nurtures a child’s innate curiosity and drive to discover. ¬†Parent’s guide their children and help to facilitate further discovery of the interests of their children. There is no set way to unschool.

In essence, I am already unschooling Judah.  Everyday he is naturally learning and I am coming along side and helping to nurture what interest him.  Babies and children are natural learners and when learning is approached as something natural and freely occurring, the love of discovery will never end.  Kids just grow into adults who never stop learning.

Recently, Good Morning America did a segment on unschooling, which I was not crazy about, but caused quite a stir.  The link is here.  And the follow up interview is here.

Also, here are some great posts and articles concerning unschooling.

Walk Slowly Live Wildly:  Unschooling: A Life of Freedom

The Organic Sister:  The Uproar Over Unschooling

Child’s Play: ¬†Unschooling

Swiss Army Wife: ¬†Parent’s Role in Unschooling

Huffington Post:  Unschooling: How GMA Got It All Wrong

What are your thoughts?  Have you ever heard of unschooling?

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Why is it so hard to be present?  I struggle to be fully present when playing with Judah boy.  Fully present when talking with the hubs.  Fully present when reading a book.  Fully present when taking time to think.  I find my mind wandering.  My heart wandering.  Yet longing to get back to the moment at hand.  I need to train my mind

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to focus on what’s happening right now. ¬†I need to intentionally prevent¬†myself from getting distracted…like leaving the iphone or computer out of reach. ¬†I want to embrace the moment. ¬†I want to be playful. ¬†I want to get caught up in the interaction between me and my loves. ¬†I want to smile when I think back on the day because it’s happening are so vivid to me because I was immersed in them. ¬†On the surface of me there are so many things that call for my attention yet deep down I want to run from all the noise and find simplicity. ¬†This will not be easy but I want to do it.

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What a fantastic book!!! ¬†Last Child in the Woods looks at the lives of today’s kids and exposes what the author calls the nature deficit disorder. ¬†Nature deficit disorder is not a medical condition, it is the description of the human costs of alienation from nature. ¬†This alienation damages children and shapes adults, families and communities. ¬†The author even links the lack of nature in children’s lives to common trends, such as obesity, ADD and depression. ¬†He shares the evidence of the deficit and ultimately shares how to restore not only our children, but ourselves back to nature.

He also shares that there is proven research to confirm that environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade point averages and develops skills in problems solving, critical thinking and decision making.  Even creativity is stimulated by childhood experiences in nature.

Sending kids outside to play has become increasingly difficult. Computers, television and video games compete for their time. Schools are assigning more and more homework. ¬†Areas are being developed which means less and less natural space to roam and explore. ¬†And parent’s fears of strangers, traffic or virus carrying mosquitos are keeping kids indoors.

I was so challenged, inspired and impassioned to make sure that Judah does not grow up void of a connection to nature. ¬†This book opened my eyes to the very reality that we live so out of connection with the natural world. There may be trees, grass, fields, or streams all around us but do we daily connect with them. ¬†Do I make the outside world the most important place for Judah to be? ¬†Or do I allow my priorities to keep me so busy that it ultimately keeps him locked up in school, the car, the house? ¬†Long long ago, even before I was a kid (so I would say I grew up with this to a degree) kids wanted to be outside more than anything else. ¬†They would wake up and head outdoors and wouldn’t come in until bed time. ¬†They climbed trees, made forts, caught bugs and just existed outside. ¬†For me, I spent a lot of time outside with my neighborhood friends but I wasn’t free to roam. ¬†I spent much of my childhood camping and in natural environments and some of my best memories are from those times. Even now, as an adult, I love nature and my soul longs to be in it.

I want Judah to grow up outdoors and to connect to nature deeply. ¬†I know that nature will shape him in to the kind of man he will become, whether that is athletic, artistic, musical, or educational. ¬†He’s 18 months and would live outside if he could and I don’t ever want to see him stray from that. ¬†I don’t ever want him to choose t.v. or video games over the trees, the birds and the fresh air. ¬†I don’t ever want to see him lose this love and spark.

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Monkey See Monkey Do

I’ve been thinking about a quote I read in the book, Dumbing Us Down, that says “Children of today are indifferent to the adult world. ¬†This defies the experience of thousands of years. ¬†A close study of what big people were up to was always the most exciting occupation of youth, but nobody wants children to grow up today, least of all the children; and who can blame them? ¬†Toys are us.”

Judah (and young kids in general) love to be involved in what you’re doing. ¬†For me this means: If I’m cooking, he’s at my feet or offering to help stir or throw something away. ¬†If I’m vacuuming, he’s following me around mesmerized by the loud machine and most recently using the swiffer to sweep behind me. ¬†If I’m cleaning the bathroom, he wants to scrub with the sponge and spray all the spray bottles. ¬†He loves to be in the midst of all that I am doing. ¬†And many many many times I don’t keep the perspective that this is how it should be. ¬†Instead, I find myself trying to keep Judah occupied (with methods I wouldn’t normally use) long enough so that I can get things done without him trying to help. ¬†Well, once I read the quote above I was so convicted! ¬†It used to be normal for kids to want to be about their parents business. ¬†Not only did they want to help but they also wanted to learn. (Learn from parents, now that’s a shocking idea!!!) Nowadays, kids get in the way of our to do list and we would rather occupy their attention instead of showing them the ways of life. ¬†This ultimately back fires on us by creating kids and teenagers who are indifferent to the lives of adults and who must be begged, reminded, and rewarded to help out around the home.

I have never thought about this in this way before.  I am going to be conscious and aware to involve Judah in the things I do throughout my day.  How amazing would it be for him to grow up not only having learned how to cook, clean, do laundry, work in the yard or on the car but to actually enjoy it enough to want to do it on his own accord.  That is nearly unheard of, but maybe, just maybe  it is possible!

Here’s some shots of Judah learning…

BBQing with daddy

Washing dishes while camping

He loves to transfer clothes from washer to dryer. And get a ride in the clean clothes.

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Enjoying the Grazing

Cow grazingBabies and children can teach you a lot, let me explain. ¬†I had rushed home to get Judah into bed. ¬†And I had a list of things I wanted to get done so that I too could go to bed at a decent hour; wash face, brush teeth, drink tea, check e-mail, check facebook, order some things off amazon, get ready for my early morning run. ¬†So, I lay down next to him to nurse him to sleep and I figured based on how he was acting that he should crash out pretty quickly. ¬†He nurses and grabs my nose, my ear, my hair, my fingers and anything else he could touch. ¬†Then he sits up and comes towards me as if to give me a hug. ¬†He lays there a bit. ¬†Then he wants to nurse again. ¬†He nurses and grabs my nose, my ear, my hair, my fingers and anything else he could touch. ¬†Then he sits up and comes towards me as if to give me a hug. ¬†If you’re thinking that I just repeated that, you’re right. ¬†And so did Judah. ¬†He did that exact same thing four times before actually falling asleep.

My plan of getting a bunch of stuff done and being able to get in to bed at a decent hour was losing time as I laid there next to him. ¬†“Judah go night night.” ¬†I love you, go night night!” ¬†I repeated it over and over. ¬†Instead, he wanted to graze (nurse) and graze and graze. ¬†All he wanted was to just be there with me. ¬†Nursing, touching, hugging, being.

I found myself getting antsy as I watched the clock get later and later. ¬†Then, I was reminded of the fact that all that stuff isn’t really important. ¬†My to do list can wait. ¬†My little hunny wants to be with his mama. ¬†He won’t always want to lay in bed snuggling. ¬†So, instead I focused on enjoying the grazing. ¬†I played with his fingers, smelled his hair, kissed his head and thought about just how much I am in love with such a little person.IMG_4979

We “adults” need to be reminded to stop and graze. ¬†Time should be filled with meaningful memories not a list of things to do. ¬†Thank you Judah for teaching Mama a very important lesson. ¬†Love you.

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Happy & Healthy

IMG_5238It has been a tough few days! ¬†On Sunday, Judah came down with what I thought were his molars coming in but it turned out to be a viral infection called Herpangina. He had a fever and had developed blisters on the roof of his mouth and throat. ¬†He literally cried and cried and cried. ¬†Nothing could soothe Him – he didn’t want milk, water, ice chips or anything! ¬†All we could do was hold him while he cried. ¬†He couldn’t even sleep. ¬†He would fall asleep for an hour, if that and would wake up screaming. ¬†I could only imagine how much pain he was in. ¬†It broke my heart to not be able to make it all go away and make him feel better. ¬†IMG_5247Glad to say that after three long days my little happy boy is feeling better and is getting back to himself.

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Like Mother Like Son

I have a weird and hidden talent. ¬†Well, I don’t know if I would call it a talent, but it is weird for sure. ¬†Kids and teenagers love to see me do it – freaks them out every time. ¬†I tend to feel kind of special when asked during an ice breaker if there is anything I can do that most others can’t – “Actually yes!” ¬†It turns out this weird and hidden talent is genetic and can be passed on to my offspring. ¬†So I was surprised and excited when I caught Judah on camera walking in the footsteps of his mama! ¬†The weirdness carries on…

M crik eyeJ like mom

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Cute Curiosity

close upSitting on the kitchen floor playing with my cutie while he explored the cabinets and their contents. ¬†Then he saw the camera and couldn’t resist coming in for a close up! ¬†His cuteness makes me want to hug and kiss him wildly!

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baby_proofWe’ve reached that time in our first year as parents that we need to start Judah-proofing. ¬†We set out to make sure that our home is as safe and baby friendly as possible. ¬†I want our home to be a place where Judah can safely explore and have fun. ¬†I used to be very much into how my home looked and felt but now 10 months into being a mom I’m all about practicality. ¬†I want my home to be a place of comfort, rest, peace and fun. ¬†As I started cleaning, rearranging and putting stuff up I realized that there were things that I just didn’t need. ¬†Some were pre-baby possessions and some were post-baby possessions. ¬†I became so aware of how much stuff I had that I really could do without. ¬†That was it – I wanted to simplify! ¬†As I was cleaning, rearranging and putting stuff up I started making a pile of things that I wanted to take to the consignment store or donate and a list of items that I was going to craigslist. ¬†I became a cleaning tornado! ¬†Going from room to room and accessing what we didn’t need, either because we hadn’t used it in a while or because it wasn’t kid friendly. ¬†It felt so good to purge and down size. ¬†Having too much stuff can cause you to feel cluttered emotionally, mentally or even relationally. ¬†Less really is more!!! ¬†And now I don’t have to constantly be worried about what Judah may be getting into. ¬†It’s his house too and I want him to be free to roam and explore.

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