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Posts Tagged ‘rhythm’

pipe down

funny face at the center for the arts

in the last few weeks my beanie boy has taken up a new version of a temper tantrum.  this must be the almost four year old version.  when he gets upset about something (usually not something big) he has a screaming crying fit.  the thing is, the crying is forced (not the old aligator tears of the two year old tantrum) and i have the feeling he is just expressing his upset with vigor – not vigorously upset.  if that distinction makes any sense.  i will admit that it has been a very challenging thing for me to hang through.  there are a few reasons for this:

i don’t handle prolonged loud noises well at all (i was always the first one out of the dorm when the fire alarm got triggered).

being that we are living with my mom it upsets me that it is irritating her.

i know he could (emotionally speaking?) be quiet but he is choosing to scream and cry instead.  literally scream.

it upsets me that things are not going “my” way.

i feel confused and frustrated that he is tantruming like he used to when he was younger.

i have been flailing around in how i respond to these tantrums as my frustration with them builds.  sometimes i would hold him and try to make him feel loved.  other times i would try actively to distract him.  of course there were several times when i got so well triggered i went ahead and yelled at him, “stop screaming!”  (this is SO effective.)  i had no theory behind my reactions and nothing i was doing seemed to be helping him or me.  frustration continued to mount.

i mentioned my struggle in this particular area of parenting to a friend of mine in an email the other day and asked for her advice on it.  in her reply she made the distinction between how she handles things when she is “centered” and when she is “not centered.”  i read her reply and it made sense but it wasn’t until a few hours later when bean launched into the day’s first scream fest that i suddenly got the importance of her words.

what i want to do is fix the situation so that bean is not so upset so that he is not screaming so that i will not be upset by the screaming.  but, i am so so so far from getting there.  i am utterly lost.  in the face of being so lost the best thing to do is the same answer that is always given in response to any issue that arises in relationship – i can do my work.

in the moment of being a mama to a screaming, crying, carrying on like all get out, almost four year old, spirited, sensitive, boy, what i can do is try to silence all the voices in my head that are freaking out about his freak out.  i can not let his upset get me so upset.  i can remain truly, seriously, honestly, calm and balanced while he spins out of control.

because i am some one who really likes details when it comes to the nitty gritty of  how to parent i will tell you exactly how this went.  when bean started his tantrum i was standing about two feet away from him.  i walked to him, wrapped my arms around his waist from behind, and pulled him into my lap on a bench that was right there.  i held him silently while i had a chat with the voices in my head.

ok, the bean is screaming and we are going to see if we can stay calm.

i don’t feel calm.

you feel worried that this tantrum is somehow not ok?

yes.

what if you decided that it is ok?

maybe.  but, i know it is really bothering my mom.

well, it might be bothering your mom but that is her problem not yours.  your only problem right now is you.

ok fine, i don’t like how he is screaming.  the noise is upsetting me!

if the loudness is bothering you too much we can find a way to walk away from him and get some space without removing our love.

ok.  well it feels better knowing that.  but, i am also annoyed because i want to be getting us ready to go outside now.  because that is what we are doing next.  soon it is lunch time and i don’t want to miss our time outside because of this.

ok, well you don’t have to miss outside time.  going outside if part of the rhythm and it is ok, probably even comforting, for the bean to know the rhythm carries on.  so you can calmly give voice to that or you can just do it.  you can start to get the pea ready and then perhaps bean will be calm enough to get ready.

ok, this feels much better.  i feel much better.  i am not as upset.  but wait!  he is still screaming and upset.  maybe i am failing as a parent because i have not managed to make him feel better.  maybe i should sit here and try to convince him to calm down for his good.

maybe.  we don’t know that for sure.  but we are not going to get upset again because that might be better.  you want to try to stick with the rhythm and see how that goes.  you will have many chances to try handling this different ways.  right now try the way you want to try.

ok.  ok that might be ok.  i feel removed from his screaming.  i am not freaking out about it.  oh, there is my mom again.  i bet she is really annoyed that he is still screaming and crying.

well, that is her thing.

right.  nice. *

at this point i took a break from talking to myself and took action.  i gently transfered the bean to the bench we were on and i told him very quietly that i was going to put pea’s shoes on so we could get ready to go outside.  i told him i would then find his shoes so he could also come outside.  i walked away from him and he continued to be upset but he didn’t get more upset.  i got pea ready and then i walked past bean on my way to finding his shoes.  he quieted immediately when i passed him and he said, “i want to go outside too.”

i said, “yes, we are all going.  i am getting your shoes.”  i grabbed his shoes and helped him put them on and he remind very quiet.  we stood up and he held my hand as we walked to meet the pea at the door.  when we got outside he let go of my hand and within a few steps he was smiling and skipping around.  i caught up with him and gave him a hug and told him i loved him and then we all went to the sandbox area and played.

i am not saying i have this all figured out or anything.  i am not saying this is the final solution of how i want to handle his emotional tantrum moments.  it is surely a work in progress.  but this experience, this ability to not get sucked in, to talk down my own anger, to handle my self better – it felt like a huge step in the direction that is right for us.

it turns out that i as much as i want him to pipe down i don’t need him to.  i need me to.

*note: as i read this over before publishing it occurred to me that a lot of what happened during the internal conversation was a shifting of feeling inside me. tension releasing in my body as i expressed my upset and found ways to answer to it. a lightness taking over in place of the dark anger that was first arising. a feeling of being detached in a freeing way – instead of being sucked into the turmoil which made me react in ways i was not happy with (like the yelling). i am keeping the conversation above strictly verbal but i wanted to add the note here about the emotional and physical components that were also taking place incase it wasn’t clear enough from the dialog.

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take it easy

yesterday afternoon was cold with those high clear south carolina skies. we were outside helping with the chores and in the fresh air and i suddenly realized i needed to breathe. deep deep breaths. in my sudden need to breathe i also felt the tension in my body and my mind and in the moment of clarity i wanted to explore. what is going on with me here? i am struggling and i am mad at myself and the world that i am struggling.

we have been here, in south carolina, at my parents home, for over two weeks now. we come down here each winter for a stretch of time and i have learned that it takes the kids and i about two weeks to adjust. this year, we came down early for the holidays and so flash spent two weeks here and i had naively thought that meant that by the time he left we would be adjusted and ready to dive into a wonderful four weeks of pleasant rhythm, nicer weather, and sparse toys. i know, it sounds a little funny when i type it out here but truly i was imagining these four weeks would be a nice waldorf trial period for me/us. there is less stuff here because we don’t live here. bean is not in school here. the days stretch out wide open with no commitments and plenty of time.

the reality has been much less – smooth. yes, we were here for two weeks with flash but yesterday in the wide open sky mid chores breathing moment i realized that the adjustment to life here without flash is happening now. the children miss him of course and have very little verbal ability to share that with me. i miss him. also, i am doing all of the parenting all the time. all night, at 5:45 when pea wakes for the day, all day, dinner time, bath time, bed time and through the night and all the night wakings that are happening right now. i know it will be ok but to be fair i should give my body, my self, my mind, some time to adjust to this. i should be kind to myself and loving as i transition and the kids transition instead of allowing myself to slip down the slope of, “why isn’t this just how i dreamed it would be?”

in my dreams i was in aiken and i suddenly became this perfectly attached parent who had a beautiful waldorf rhythm to her days and weeks with the kids. we were singing songs while we helped keep the house nice, baking treats, and spending hours outside playing and knitting. ahhhh, it was going to be so pleasant.

yesterday i thought about this several times after i realized it. what i wanted to do what let go of what i thought this time “should” be like so that i could enjoy the moments of what it is. the pea is not sleeping well but i’ve been through this before and i know i can handle it just fine. i have even enjoyed coming up with ways to make our mornings easier as i adjust to waking up so early with them after the sleepless nights. no, we are not having circle time, i am not suddenly a waldorf master, i have snapped at the bean a few times when i shouldn’t, and it is too cold to sit outside knitting while they play.

that all is true. but as i was pushing the wheelbarrow full of horse poop to the manure pit yesterday, with the pine trees towering over me it was like the universe reached out to me and said “see how the skies are clear and wide open here. let your heart be just the same.”

and so it was.

what i love about waldorf is the inclusion of nature in life. following the seasons and the rhythm of mother earth herself. i love my understanding that our role is to nurture the spirit of each child as it develops. to cherish the coming into, to allow it to expand in a fully supported environment, embraced by our love and comforted by the ebb and flow of our days. what i am drawn to is the simplicity i sense in waldorf style homes.

i need to stop pressuring myself to do things just so. i need to take it easy so that i can more present with what truly is for myself, for us, right now. if i could lower the bar of what i think things should look like, what should be getting done, what should be happening, how i should be feeling. if i can just provide us all with gentle support then i would free myself up to feel — too feel lighter. to let my heart open itself up in moments of clarity instead of clinging to the strings that tie to some other picture i thought would be.

hello woowoo mama, you know i love you. i just wanted to tell you that you don’t have to try so hard. if you can allow yourself to let go you will be certain to find that your mood lightens and you gain some moments of ease. how about if we aim to do our best, to have moments that are wonderful, and to allow the days to unfold as they will?  not on a perfectly mapped plan but on a path guided by our hearts, helping spirits, and prayers of peace. why not chose to be that mama?

so i was recentered and refocused and relaxed by that moment of connection with the universe and by the feeling of mother nature in all her glory surrounding me.  life is precious and gifted to us in every moment we allow it to be.  i swear it is true.

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shortly before my hard drive failed i finished reading amanda soule’s first book “the creative family.”  i was inspired to create more space in our daily life for creativity.  not space that requires that all creating end in something that looks “good” but that i instill in my children a sense of the joy of playing with color and texture and placement and whatever they want so that creating is about the process not the outcome.  this means, that i too have to let go of what i think art should look like and just – well, create.

i got a “special art book” for the bean and resurrected an old journal of my own so that we had some place special to create.  i also dusted off my knitting needles.  and in the last few weeks we enjoyed markers, colored pencils, oil pastels (ok only for mama), paints, stamps, embroidery, and wool.  here are just a few iphone pics of what we have been up to.

my inspiration

my inspiration

woowoomama oil pastels

woowoomama oil pastels

more of my art

more of my art

bean works with markers

bean works with markers

color

colored pencils

stamping

stamping

the hat

the hat

he makes anything look good

he makes anything look good

ok, sorry for the picture over load.  but i just decided to share and the sharing came tumbling out.  i am loving getting back to knitting and after finishing the bean’s hat i started in on a baby blanket for a friend’s newborn, next up a hat for chickpea.  what are you working on?

today it is cold and rainy which really drives home for me the fact that the fall is here.  as we enter the new season i am struggling to figure out what our rhythm here is going to be and how it will work.  the more i read about waldoft style early education the more inclined i am to try to fit some of the ideas into our days.  at the same time, the bean is in preschool now three mornings a week and i am not sure how to fit that together with my desire to waldorf our days.

any of you out there struggling through this combination of wanting to use out of home preschool and also do some real thinking about what the time within the home feels like and how it is structured?  i’d love help piecing through all my conflicting ideas and feelings.

happy fall and enjoy your creating.

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little things

sometimes the smallest shifts in energy make space for us to breath. to be. to feel a little bit alright. all right. part right.

today we took a short walk in the fields with my mom and her dogs. the bean held rhyson’s leash (the corgi) with such joy and care. they ran together – their little legs like the perfect fit. my heart welled and it took a deep breath.

we found a few small pinecones which we picked up and carried home with us.

i would like to have a nature table. i would like to get rid of more plastic and create a waldorf inspired play space. i would like to do more hand work and have zero tv.

more inspiring though. more to the point in this time is the idea of our rhythm being an in breath and an out breath. there is something i can be guided by. that is what we shall do.

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i have been reading the creative family recently and i was inspired to try to bring more creativity into our daily life. the bean isn’t a kid who loves to sit and draw or paint for more than say, five seconds, so i have been at a bit of a loss as to how to bring more crafting into our time. i also hesitate to push it too much – as much as i think i would enjoy it.  the nice thing about the creative family is that it has me thinking about “art” and being creative on a much broader scale and in ways that feel truly doable.

yesterday i mounted a mission to a local craft shop (too bad all i know of around here is big box – must work on that) and we got a few supplies.  with those supplies we managed to have some creative fun around here yesterday and again this morning making “sewing” cards.  the bean is loving the activity and it is fairly simple to set up and clean up.  a plus.

watch out all you creative mama’s — here we come a crafting:

a card for uncle nick

a card for uncle nick

one of my favorite spots on the card

one of my favorite spots on the card

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i have been online a lot less in the last few weeks. this means i have fallen behind in some of the things i enjoy online, reading certain blogs, seeking some sense of companionship and camaraderie from similar thinkers, writers, and parenters that i find here on the interwebs (i am loving making up my own words these days). even finding inspiration to get my buttsky in shapesky (again) as i restart the 30 day shred (again) inspired by all the shredheads (again) and it hurts (again).

i have been on the computer less as i tried to find the rhythm that would take me safely and happily through two weeks at home without flash, and with my two wonderful, lovely, amazing, exhausting children. i know that when i am home without flash i have the instinct to turn the computer on more, to have a sense of adult company. i also know that i tend to lose control of the house being neat enough for me to be happy, i get overwhelmed, i burn out around day six, and it all seems too hard. that is so not what i wanted to have happen when i was facing fourteen some odd days.

so instead of plugging in i unplugged. i tried sitting down in the morning with the kids to all eat breakfast together. i made a rule about television that i am happy with. i tried to leave myself more time for housework so that i could include the bean in the work and not be frustrated by the constant interruption of redirecting chickpea as she explores the house, the cupboards, the drawers, the shelves, the toy bins, the stairs, the door to outside, the toilet and so on and so on. i still come online each day for a bit. i try to write something because writing serves me well. but i have gotten behind in my reading, in my commenting on blogs i like, even in the whole stream of availableness that makes twitter enjoyable.

i do have a point here. though so far i am just going on and on. i think i mentioned the waldorf book i am reading heaven on earth (i have been warned it has some discipline suggestions i will not agree with but otherwise i am finding it to be a helpful and inspiring read). i also was gifted a copy of amanda soule’s book the creative family which i am loving. so as i have unplugged i have been doing more reading of ink on paper, which in some ways allows me to be a little slower, i find, i underline some things or make notes in the margins and then i turn out the light and drift off to sleep.

it has been nice slowing down, connecting with the kids, unpacking my bag at the end of each day and being sure to wash out all the snack containers and water bottles. taking the time to pack snack before we go out even (for all this i must thank my brother and sister in law – the lovely cakeissweet who are totally on top of this kind of stuff and who i learned from by watching while we visited with them this summer). i put away the dishes in the drying rack when i come down first thing in the morning while i am waiting for my water to boil for coffee. i make the beds. i do the dishes, every single one i can find, before i go up to sleep. seriously, this is not how i have been for the last year (or thirty one years) and i have no idea if it is something i can keep up and the list of things i want to fit into my day and life seems to only grow each day which is totally overwhelming and i am looking for a support group (anyone anyone) but life is good.

so, it was with much joy that i headed over to one of my favorite bloggers today and read about her day of gratitude she shared with her little one recently. i decided i wanted to take her invitation to list things i am grateful for here on my blog (though it sure has taken me a long time to get around to it). to limit myself from going on and on i will make a list of ten.  ten things i am grateful for right now:

  1. my family
  2. woven wraps, and my ability to use them
  3. my recent peace with my parenting style
  4. the really nice date i had with flash on thursday
  5. the animals i have had throughout my life
  6. non ordinary reality
  7. good therapists
  8. local fruit finally at the farmers market
  9. tripp trapp chairs borrowed from a friend while she vacations
  10. knowing what it looks like to watch a retired racing greyhound run as fast as the wind for the sheer joy of it, and knowing that i want that in my life again at some point.

thank you green mamma for reminding me that although i am striving constantly to learn and grow it is imperative to balance that out with a gratitude for what i have and know.  and now everyone who reads please join me in sending the lovely green mamma some “happy healthy beautiful perfect timing” birth vibes as she waits to meet her baby boy.

signing off.

or rather, going back to searching the internet for a nice place to take sewing lessons.  (or should i focus on canning?  or knitting?  or making my own cheese?  or…)

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trying a theme

my partner in bugdom

my partner in bugdom

we do have a rhythm to our days around here – kind of – a loosey goosey kinda sorta rhythmish thingy.  but, it is not the kind of rhythm i feel super about.  it is more like the kind of rhythm i told myself was ok while i got used to having more than one child in the house and then just never broke out of.  truth be told, i am kind of tired of feeling ashamed of my daily parenting instead of good about it.  it is what i do and it is what i am and it kinda sucks feeling crappy about it.  i think the time has come to stop imagining all the cool things i will do with my kids in the future and instead try to change the shape of our days now.

with that in my mind i have been toying around (in my head only, once it hits paper i’ll feel like i have to do it) with what a new rhythm might include.  more time outside, more time experimenting with crafting and exploring nature and the natural world, more time set aside for daily tasks so that i can encourage the bean to be more involved instead of trying to set him up doing something else so i can do things faster.  also, perhaps, if i can force myself, less time obsessing over making sure the pea get x number of hours napping each day.

side notes important to be aware of:  i have been obsessed with sleep since the bean was very young because he had a hard time sleeping and the way i met his sleep needs (holding him for naps until he was past 2 years old) were not common amongst people i knew.  he also didn’t sleep well at night and so we coslept forever and thought he might never in his life sleep through.  with him i got myself into a sleep obsession (since supposedly sleep begets sleep and we were not begetting any sleep at all) and i find i fell into it again with the pea.  even though she sleeps slightly more easily than the bean did i still am always slightly neurotic about doing anything i can to help her sleep for “at least ninety minutes” which is said to be the minimum time a nap should be by the sleep begets sleep people.  anyway, i got issues.  i know i do.  just sharing.

one other side note: i do plan to get the new rhythm sketched out on paper when i return from our big trip.

which leads to a third side note:  we are leaving for our trip in a few days and gone until the ninth so there is a good chance you won’t hear much from me during that time.  except perhaps an occasional iphone post.  but don’t expect my usual wordiness.  maybe you will all enjoy the vacation from ms. wordy.

ok now, back to the blog post.  where was i?  ah yes, i want to try to change things a little bit.  i feel like i should point out that my inspiration to shift has come from a few different places.  it started when i became a devoted fan of green mamma and was deeply impressed by all the amazing things she does with her daughter. further talks with my as of yet unnamed mama friend (we really must fix that issue) made me think more and more about what i wanted to do. as noted in my post on my vocational development i started thinking about what might inspire me to focus on and connect with parenting children that were no longer nursing, cosleeping, etc. reading over at the parenting passageway has also got me thinking more about how i want to direct and fill our days.

so there is a fair amount percolating in my brain and i am just looking for the opening, space or sudden inspiration to implement it. one day there was a lull in our day which allowed the bean to turn to me and say “will you play with me?” and i could honestly say “yes!” so he countered “what do you want to do?” and i was instantly stumped. in the words of a three year old he has basically just asked me to come up with a good activity and i had nothing to offer. i think it was one of my lamest parenting moments ever. we ended up playing with building blocks but shortly there after i had an ah ha moment. it would be helpful for me to have a “theme” in my mind to help me to steer our time, activities, talk, games, play. i am not saying that i am suddenly trying to teach him things or anything like that. we are still going to be the same laid back folk. but in the moment when we have a lull and i get to think of something fun to do it would help me to have a theme in mind. something simple, and broad, and connected to nature.

i talked this over with my the nameless mama and she agreed that it might be helpful. she happened to mention some recent bug sightings and just like that we had a theme to test out. bugs. for the last week or so i have just sat with what it means to have a bugs theme in our lives. when we saw ants on our floor instead of just dismissing them we got down low to look at them. i asked the bean to tell me if there was anything he liked about them. we talked about what they were doing in our home. when i was cleaning up the kitchen and putting aluminum foil on top of something and he asked me for a piece i made it into a bug shape and gave it to him to play with. (he has proceeded to ask me to do this almost everyday since.) when we had a quiet moment in which he asked me to play i asked him if he felt like gluing and got an excited yes. so i cut out some colored paper and we made bug art. in fact, he had so much fun we decided to take down some professional artwork in the playroom and hang up our bugs (and last weeks glitter glue art fun).

i certainly don’t have things all figured out. and given my recent impressions of the internet i am guessing there are people out there who could argue that having a theme is bad, or that bugs are not the right theme, or that my weird sleep obsession is sick, and so on and so forth. but so what? here i am, in my life, with our bug theme. we are rockin’ it woowoo style. we are liking it. bugs are suddenly cool.

i am totally open to other ideas and resources for daily rhythms and projects, crafts, play for preschoolers. if you have good stuff share the love.

our glued bugs on display

our glued bugs on display

beanie bugs

beanie bugs

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