I feel like I have a whole segment of life that I keep meaning to include on my blog, but it never quite makes it. Lately, unless there’s a deadline for something, I can’t seem to find/make the time to sit down and do this. So I’m making a huge life dump all in one post. There’s lots of iPhone shots of life in here – regular everyday stuff and school activities.
I’ve got this new project going. About a month and a half ago I started taking an online course to learn Montessori education, with the goal of being able to teach my kids with a Montessori emphasis…..or at least Hawthorne if I can’t get my act together quickly enough with the older kids. Lol. It’s a year long course, and I’m incorporating things in hitches and bumps as I learn, in a desperate attempt to reign in the culture of insanity that my kids and I have going.
Clover on her own doesn’t have much of a problem settling down to learn and focus on a task. But Violet is like a bouncy ball stuck inside a small box, endlessly pounding and vibrating, making noise and commotion until the weight of sleep eventually ceases her movement in one great motion, and she conks out at night. She brings activity, excitement, noise, and distraction into every corner of the house that she visits. Three and a half is a very exciting age. The transition from toddler to small person is pretty intense.
One of the concepts behind the Montessori method is that the child eventually “normalizes” and discovers a task that awakens their inner ability to focus and concentrate. And then a flowering effect happens as they begin to settle down and learn deeply. This week has been one that challenges my very small amount of hope for my ability to normalize Violet – given my limitations and those of the environment. Or both kids for that matter.
Clover hasn’t been submerged in the prepared Montessori environment yet because I haven’t been able to get it going too well – she’s just working off her preexisting inner discipline. That sort of came out when she began to read. I would find her buried in books for long stretches of time, where she would just bounce around from thing to thing a lot before (although she has also been known to play with Legos for a long time if not interrupted by the human bouncy ball. What might she be able to accomplish with even better circumstances?
I’m trying to hold things sort of loosely and to take things as they are at the moment, but it’s hard. I’m tired. Discouraged often. Looking for those magic moments that look like mile markers to show that progress HAS been made. It’s a sad but true reality that in a world where it’s not “normal” to keep your kids home with you during the preschool years, let alone kindergarten and beyond, I feel the need to have evidence to justify my decision to go against the grain. Not only that my kids are equally as well off in my care, but even better.
Truth be told, if I could send my kids to a Montessori children’s house or a Waldorf school I would! But that’s not feasible, and so we’re doing the best that we can here. One disorganized but trying to improve, distractible, ambitious, loving mama, one 5 year old girl who loves to read, build Legos, and dance and refuse to eat her food, one 3 year old who blurts and flails and snuggles and climbs, and one 10 month old who avoids sleep, nurses, cuddles, cruises, beats down the gates that come between him and the rest of us, and gets into everything.
There are many different dynamics happening which make this place kind of a zoo a lot of the time.
Disappointment and frustration often come down to expectations I suppose. I have some storybook notions about family life.
I would like to avoid the pitfalls of the Pinterest brain, where merely appreciating something enough to file it with the things you like almost amounts to having done it. Because when you’re talking child raising, good ideas and intentions mean nothing if they don’t happen or help. I think I’m great at ideas…..the rest…eh.
Family rhythm is another thing that could use some work. I’m hoping that rhythm will hatch into existence when we’re out of the perpetual baby in the family mode that’s been happening for the past 5 years. But it seems like lots of people are able to do it even with the babies and little kids around. I’m just not strong enough a pillar I think. Growing up, I don’t really remember any family rhythm so I don’t have a great basis for making it myself. My soul didn’t come into this parenting thing pre-tuned I guess. I’m just making it up as we go along.
I think the scariest thing about trying to find our way as we go is that time starts moving differently when you have kids. Suddenly it’s just speeding by and you feel like you’re running out of time before they’re grown up and gone. I can see why people think their kids’ life is over if they don’t get into the right preschool. They’re basically about to leave for college in a couple of years.
Every day I think “just slow down and enjoy everything more” but it never really works out. I’m the remedial parent, trying to catch up – learn to cook and organize, sew and create, to teach and have wisdom. And this all happens while I’m nursing babies, cleaning the kitchen for the 5th time today, monitoring chaos and likelihood that any particular activity will result in death.
It’s a cruel reality that the very section of childhood that you’re just supposed to hold your breath and fight through is also extremely formative.
At least their amazing minds are so absorbent. Violet has learned so much by “siphon” off of things I’ve done with Clover. They can gather so much if they’re given the information in a way that they can make sense of. The scary part is that they’re absorbing all the not so great stuff you have to offer as a parent.
So that’s us right now. Learning to learn. Doing the every day. Getting some fun stuff done along the way.