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Posts Tagged ‘waldorfish’

martinmas belated

our lanterns

George’s Lantern
Lying in the meadow grass
And gazing at the autumn sky,
“Dear Father Sun,” said George out loud,
“It will be winter by and by.”

“The nights will be long, dark, and cold.
Jack Frost will freeze the ground.
How shall I find the light
With so much darkness all around?”

Said Father Sun, “I’ll give you from my
Last autumn rays, a spark,
If you will make a little house
To hold it in the dark.”

With paper, paint, some windows
And a candle it was done!
George came out and held his lantern
Up to Father Sun.

Suddenly the windows lit,
The spark was dancing bright.
Carefully,
George carried home
His lantern in the twilight.

(poem found here)

last thursday i realized during naptime that it was martinmas. martinmas is a holiday/festival that i was totally unaware of until i developed my interested in waldorf education. (i am going to skip right over trying to explain it at all.  google can do a much better job of it!)  i am so new to all of this but somehow, martinmas felt like a nice one for us to try. i skipped around the internet and flipped through some of my waldorf seasonal books that day gathering up lantern making tutorials and songs/stories/poems related to martinmas to find little things that i could piece together for us. and then i made a truly wonderful decision – instead of rushing us through stories, poems and activities that afternoon so that we could do a lantern walk that night i could just wait a week. just let go of the date and give us a week to find our way there.

over the weekend i began to tell the story of saint martin cutting his cloak in half to share it with the beggar and we carried that into this week. then i introduced several of the poems and songs shared in the martinmas circle linked to above. i ended up landing with two or three that seemed to light up their eyes which i read and recited to them here and there yesterday and today. no pressure on myself to know anything too well. no pressure on us to be a certain way. just filling in the space of our days with what felt good.

this morning we worked away on our lanterns in preparation for tonights walk. it felt so good. i can’t put into words why and i don’t want to get too sucked into analyzing it with my head. i am not sure if it was the joy of just going for it – instead of waiting for perfection – or if it was the energy of this particular festival getting inside me.

i won’t be sitting around a beautiful fire at a waldorf school tonight with watercolor painted lanterns. i don’t have anything memorized to recite to as we tromp around our acre of land. i am not sure the candles will stay lit or the lanterns themselves will hold up to a walk in the hands of 2 and 4.5 year old. it doesn’t seem to matter though. it seems to just feel like – ok, this is us. i love us.

I’m coming with my lantern
And my lantern comes with me.
There over the light are stars,
Here under the light are we.
My light is out,
We’re going home,
Rabimmel, rabammel, rum!

(also from here)

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the summer

this morning i looked out my bathroom window and took in our back yard.  so many times recently i have done the same thing and thought, “i am stretched too thin and i am not getting it all done.”  this is my reaction to seeing the tilled but then not planted land in the back corner of the yard.  the rocks still waiting to be picked out of it and moved.  the wheelbarrow parked nearby like a forgotten playmate.  my tomato plants are only half staked and most of the other vegetables i planted have been eaten by a resident bunny.  the pumpkin plants i keep intending to move out of the raised bed and into the tilled area are still untouched – presiding over the raised bed like green leafed giants.

this week flash has been traveling and it is tiring being home alone but i have had all kinds of help from my parents and a few trusted mother’s helpers and it has made all the difference in the world.  i have gone running, done a few hours of cooking, read some steiner, walked the dog, enjoyed several rounds of drawing with the kids, cooled of in my parents pool, waded in our little plastic kiddie pool, had two dinnertime playdates with friends and their kids, and even played in a soccer game.  the first soccer game i have played in since i was in high school which was – oh a long time ago.  i have been so busy that the laundry is piling up and the house is not as clean as i would like it to be but within that busyness i have found something akin to a groove.  a summer groove.  a why not groove.

oh the kids have loved our time spent building forts with the couch pillows while i blast the air conditioner and we watch world cup soccer games.  their little faces lit up when their favorite friends arrived for a dinner playdate.  they have not once complained about staying up the tiniest bit late while we squeeze in a few moments of ball playing with castle james as the sun is dimming, or have dinner at my parents house, or share a pizza with friends.

it is all loaded on like a mountain of possibility.  standing within that mountain i look out at my yard and all the unfinishedness that these last months have been and i do not feel stretched thin at all.  i feel good happy full.  having too much possibility in my life is not wearing me down right now it is lifting me up.  i feel healthy, i feel alive, i feel brave.  i feel like in so many moments recently i have chosen to take a small risk that means living my life more to the brim and each time it has fed me.  there is chaos.  but amidst it i am finding my practice of being me, of bringing me, of discovering me.

last night as i was reading a steiner lecture (the kingdom of childhood lecture 2) regarding young children i came across this:

But, it is what you are that matters; if you are good this goodness will appear in your gestures; and if you are bad-tempered this also will appear in your gestures – in short, everything that you do yourself passes over into the children and makes its way within them.  This is the essential point.  Children are wholly sense-organ, and react to all the impressions of people around them.  Therefore the essential thing is not to imagine that children can learn what is good or bad, that they can learn this or that, but to know that everything that is done in their presence is transformed in their childish organisms into spirit, soul, and body.

heady stuff.  freeing stuff.  the kind of stuff that makes you say yes to joining the soccer team.  the most important way to teach my children right now is for me to be filled with joy.  to be calm, present and loving.  the most important thing to teach them is how to be happy in life.  and the way to teach that is simple – do it.  be it.  suddenly waldorf isn’t just about wooden toys and turning off the television.  it is another reminder that taking care of yourself and doing your own work is always always the answer.  to be the best parent i can be (to my almost 2 and just 4 year olds) i need to be the best, happiest, most balanced me i can be.

a mountain of possibility.

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imitation

it is what children do.
they do what they see us do.

my children have been worn and have watched me wear babies.
so they wear theirs:

slings gifted by victory.

photo taken last week when everyone still had raw noses!

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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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yesterday i hesitated for a moment before sharing the story about scolding the bean for coughing. clearly it wasn’t a high point in my parenting but also it wasn’t the first time i have done something shameful terrible human like that.  i read a fair number of blogs pretty regularly and i have to confess that one of my main complaints about some of my favorite blogs is how i only hear about the things they are doing right.  some day i would love to see a post pop up on my google reader where they disclosed the moment where their waldorf, gentle discipline, attachment parenting perfect parent self disappeared and they yelled at their child for coughing.  you know?  not that i think i present myself on here as perfect at all.  but, it was that thought that made me just go ahead and share the moment with you all.  and the support that came through in the comments was really nice so i wanted to say thank you.

last night he was up coughing again and again i was tired and not pleased but i kept myself calm and we made it through the hour and half without either of us crying.  phew!  i think that was due in part to feeling less alone.

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some of the ikea bins

over the past several months i have been thinking more and more about our toys and play room.  i have already culled through a few times and eliminated some of the obvious stuff (three trash bags full of stuff that went to donation).  yet i still feel like there is way too much stuff in our toy life and toy area.  i want it to be easier for bean to access what he wants, i want to feel better about the clean up system, i want to only have a minimal amount of stuff out, i want to make all of our lives more simple and easier.

in the last week i read two posts that reinvigorated me to do even more culling and work on the playroom situation.  carrie over at the parenting passageway wrote about the importance of “creating your space” in her post on setting up your family for homeschooling success. we are not homeschooling but i do so love carrie’s blog and the way she runs her home often speaks to me. similarly there was a nice post at bluebirdbaby on a waldorf friendly home. we are not a waldorf home but i do like a fair amount of the waldorf idea’s i have read about or been exposed to. i really do think there is a lot to be said for the minimal, natural toys theory.

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another view

i am not about to toss anything we have that is not hand carved. i am just more of a pick and chose kind of gal so i need to take what works for me without feeling like i have to totally subscribe to all things waldorf. i do value our more natural toys though.  i think having a play room that was less crowded with dissimilar and cheaply made toys and was more organized around themed area’s and toys that stand the test of time would serve us well. last night as i was laying in bed trying to think of ways to make my days with the kids flow more easily, i thought of the posts i had read and wondered if putting some energy into our toy room situation might be a good place to start. i came up with a mental list of “areas” we could have that felt good to me and also took account of the bean’s main interests.

kitchen/play house/dress up
music/art
cars/trains/vehicles
building

a few other things that they kids enjoy and i do not want to get rid of yet:
some stuffed animals
balls

this afternoon my mothers helper is coming and maybe i can get to work on packing up some of the less popular play things that also do not fit into my “areas.” i will just store them in a bin so they can be rotated back into our playing life as we see fit.

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one last look

i’d like to make it so that each of the bins we have (we have some ikea storage units with open bins) holds certain things. i can label the bins so it is easy for the bean to understand and also for flash and i to put things away where they belong. hopefully that will make it that much easier for cleaning up to be a given instead of a struggle. i can’t really blame him – i find the whole room totally insane as well. who knows where anything in it should go?! it is a total mishamash.

what about you readers. do you have play room systems? got any tips to help me on my play room journey? do’s and don’ts? pictures of what is working for you? (or if you want to just come do my playroom for me i am totally open to that!)

peace out yo
woowoo mama

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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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