Thursday, January 31, 2008

Vomit, rhythm and googling

Aah, vomit. Really, is there a word that conjures up more vivid pictures for a Mom? Don't we all have a retrospectively side-splitting story to share? It's always so much more fun months and years after the fact....

Last night, Biggie started puking. She is a wonderful sick person, very sweet and patient, full of sleep. She vomited all night long. This morning, no sooner did Littlie eat some dry cereal (hey, I was tired!) than she threw up. They are both sound asleep, at 1 o'clock in the afternoon, and my one big job for the day -- grocery shopping -- doesn't look like it's gonna be that essential.

You know, one of the things we always try to teach our patients is that Vomit is Good. You put something in that makes you sick and your body ejects it. It's the sick body that doesn't vomit. Alas, in this case, I think we have a tummy-bug, but I still marvel at how healthy children (I consider mine extremely healthy) react to sickness. Or perhaps more importantly, how healthy parents react to their children's sicknesses: know your children's responses, take the time to nurse them, and let the body heal itself. My sister gifted me with the most wonderful book when I was pregnant with Biggie, and for six years it has been my health bible: Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child. I just can't recommend this book highly enough, especially for new moms. It features conventional treatments for a host of illnesses, as well as nutritional advice, homeopathy, herbs, acupressure, and guidelines.

The Day from Hell was such a positive experience because that night I sat down and, after much research and tho't, designed a rhythm that I hope will work for us. Of course, I also read a comment from a mom who wished she had a dime for each time she had undertaken the same exercise! I tho't I would post this for your comment and critiques. Bear in mind that I am trying to a) create a plan that will happily segue into formal lessons, b) guide a brainiac toward greater imagination and creativity, and c) remain Littlie-inclusive. Here goes, entitled "I've Got Rhythm..."

In an effort to prevent chaos and create peace and harmony, I am determined to create a schedule, aka Rhythm. In the beginning, there was Mom. It is my job to devise and implement until such time as it is accepted by all.
Creating the ideal Day:
730ish Mom up first. Enjoy cup of coffee, mentally prepare for the day. Computer, if time allows. (Resolution: stay off the computer during kid time...your ass has been attached to that computer for the entirety of the school holidays!)
8ish Munchkins up. Choose fruit to accompany breakfast. Either help with breakfast or sit at table and eat fruit.
830ish Food to the table. Verse, eat. Each happy family member takes plate to kitchen, wipes their section of the table, then heads upstairs for preening.
9ishTeeth, Hair, and Clothes. Need some personal grooming time. Make beds. Twenty minutes free time while mom tidies kitchen/table.
10ish Transition song to Story Time. Mom reads/tells a story* then each of the girls may pick out stories they want to read until they tire of reading. Twenty minutes free time or the girls can help prepare a snack.
11ish Try to eat snack outside so as to keep table clean for activities. Mom prepares for daily Handwork.
1130ish Transition Song to Daily Handwork * Painting, Drawing/Nature Drawing, Beeswax, Sewing, Baking, Seasonal Craft.
1230ish Clean up, Closing Verse and Free time. Mom prepares lunch.
130ish lunch
2ish quiet time in rooms
240ish rise from quiet time. Quick room tidy.
3ish After school play: bikes, ball, friends, swim, etc. Also, Lessons (piano).
5ish Mom prep dinner, kids help or have quiet reading time
6ish dinner time
7ish dessert with dad (fruit, warm spiced milk, more oats or rice,etc)
8ish bedtime


Funnily enough, rhythm and holding the space have been a big topic among friends and boards lately. I find that I manage mornings, and early in the week, well, but then my mind just floats away and I can't seem to keep the house flowing peacefully. (I veer more toward drill sargeant, so this is a lesson for me.) It is my hope that by having this rhythm tucked away in my kitchen, I can take little looks (amidst ALL that cooking and cleaning) and mentally stay with my plan.

Finally, at the end of a very long post, I would like to introduce some lovely blogs which I have recently discovered. I encourage you to check 'em out! We Waldorfers are few and far between and were it not for the camaraderie of the internet, I am sure I would have no like-minded "friends." What I love most about our Virtual Community is its tolerance and diversity (because shouldn't those two words go hand-in-hand?). We come from every ethnic, religious, and geographic background; we are educated differently, and in turn, we educate our children each in our own way. And yet, we still find so much good to draw from one another. Oh, and invariably, we all have a Jane Austen reference somewhere on our site (I was Lizzie, btw, on the recently circling JA survey...I can't help but wonder if I unknowlingly skewed the results...hehehe).

See what happens when I don't have children to care for during the day: I blog for far too long.

TTFN.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hello Moon

All I gotta say is, Thank Heavens this day is over. Wow, the girls started fighting before their feet hit the floor (Littlie is being a bit of a bully to her sis. grrrr.) and they were at each other all day. I had the "don't touch stuff/behave" talk prior to entering the stationery store (for essentials like a bigger stapler for bookmaking and watercolour paper), and yet they were incorrigible. They bucked rules all day.

Now, in my heart of hearts, I know that I am the adult and therefore She who is Responsible for All Things. I should have had a strategy to counter the effects of a too-long summer, too-hot night before, too-little routine, but I just didn't have it in me today. (I think I simply haven't eaten enough today...blood sugar WAY low.) So I won't blame them for the turn of the day: I accept full responsibility. But I refused to be mature enough NOT to be pissed. They have already asked to go against the grain tomorrow, thus providing me with ample opportunity to remind them of our Wednesday POA (that's short for Plan of Action). AND, having read many wonderful anecdotes, I have finally decided to write down some of our daily plans, in hopes of staying more focussed in the future.

I really can't wait for the summer holidays to end. I am ready to sleep...it's not even 8pm. Nighty-night.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Trivialities

I just had a reality check. I sit here blogging about nothing in particular, bemoaning my lack of this or lack of that, wishing I could improve myself, and so on. And then, by random blog-segue, I encounter this.

I have become increasingly sentimental with age, my skin in thinner as a Mom. I am reminded of all for which I must be grateful: two healthy, strong, loving children; one amazing husband; a terrific family who is so supportive even from so far away. I have a safe home, the ability to school my own children, the right to make my own decisions about our health choices. I am greatly blessed.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Not meaning to post

Well, as I sit here at 12:03pm eating a gigantic steak (no, I am not pregnant!), I had no intention of posting. I was enjoying circling our webring and I came upon this post at Adventures in Living and Learning.

Ya know, I'm not even Christian, but I do have a very strong belief in the Divine. I tho't this post was beautiful.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"You like me, you really like me"

Heehee, all this popularity could go to a girl's head. I have been tagged by two friends, which really made hubby and I chuckle because I only have three virtual friends!

Poppy and Mei's lovely Australian Mummy presented me with this wee card:


And Patience has asked me to pull out my current books and answer a few questions:
The meme goes like this.
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

Well, Libra that I am, I can't even make up my mind enough to narrow down my reading. I have a coupl'a things going, so let's see.

1) Donna Simmons' Kindy book....hmmm, not enough pages.

2) Homemaking as a Social Art: really just re-reading for points. Lessee what we got:

"Feelings are able to mediate between the coolness of thinking and the heat of action because they are so versatile. Working through feeling is a valid method, provided thinking and willing can play their part with equal measure. We can begin to learn how to use thinking with the heart, another way to describe the new intuition, when we live through happenings by observing them with empathy."

Whew, that's a mouthful.

3) The book most commonly-referred to at the moment is Nourishing Traditions. It says:

Oh, never mind, the sidebar on p 123 is an explanation of the difference between "broth" and "stock," and while I may have found this interesting to read, it's not too interesting to share.

I am just grateful that Patience didn't catch me when I was 123 pages into a sleazy romance novel (sometimes the brain needs escape) or Jane Austen. Wait...going upstairs....OK, had to see if I could quote the line from p123 of P&P, given that I can recite most of the book from memory...OOOOh, good scene, when Lady Catherine is interogating Lizzie at Rosings Park.

"Yes, my youngest is not sixteen. Perhaps she is full young to be much in company. But really, Ma'am, I think it would be very hard upon younger sisters, that they should not have their share of society and amusement because the elder may not have the means or inclination to marry early."

I know that I should now tag some friends, but I shall reserve that right until a later date....uh, like when I have more friends *weep, weep, weep* (hey, a little self-deprecating humour is never lost on the crowd!) In the meantime, why don't my handful of Virtual Girlfriends go grab their books and see if anything enticing is hap'ning on p123!

TTFN.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Breakfast, anyone?

In an effort to streamline my mom-jobs, we adhere (sometimes loosely) to a breakfast routine. I have just updated our menu and, in hopes of making myself actually do all the prep work, I am posting it here (read: accountability). Here goes:

Monday – NT Fruit Muffins with Nina Planck Custard and Fresh Fruit
Tuesday – Eggs with Toast, Fresh Fruit and Chocolate Milk/Yoghurt smoothie
Wednesday – NT Oatmeal with Maple Syrup and Butter, and Fresh Fruit
Thursday – NT Pancakes with Cream and Maple Syrup, and Fresh Fruit
Friday – Eggs with Toast and Fresh Fruit and Chocolate Milk/Yoghurt smoothie

I dream of being able to make Veggie Scrambles, Breakfast Burritos and French Toast once again. But I know that the girls just won't go there. Really, who gives birth to children who don't like French Toast....it's not right! (BTW, Anthromama, do American fast food restaurants still make French Toast breakfast things? I remember Carl's Jr French Toast Dips: totally nasty and would probably make me puke nowadays, but back in the university day, they were the best hangover food ever invented!!)

TTFN.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

got milk?

Wow, what an amazing experience we had today! We went to the farm of some friends and purchased raw milk and raw cream. It's beautiful. Now, to put this understatement in context, none of us are milk drinkers. Pasteurised dairy makes me ill (always has), and dh is a soy drinker, so for us to say that this milk is enjoyable is quite a compliment. It has NO smell whatsoever and the taste is clean and sweet. My next goal is to use the cream and make our own butter (yep, even further down the hippie-trail we wander).

However, before you run right out to buy your own raw milk, there is something I learned today that I wish to share: not all dairy farmers are of equal cleanliness. Our farmer friend explained how his cows are washed before milking so as to keep the milk tasting nice; BUT (this is sooo yucky), traditional dairy farmers -- those producing for big corps -- do not clean their cows before milking, because pasteurisation will kill all yucky bacteria. So if you're gonna source raw milk, ask if the cows are washed before milking!

This is all part of my experimenting with Nourishing Traditions. I've heard many compliments of this cookbook, and I have several real-life and virtual friends who swear by the recipes. I must admit that many of the suggestions are initially off-putting or hard-t-swallow (hahah, food joke), such as the lacto-fermented vegetables and organ meat. I'm willing to try fermentation, but there ain't a ghost's chance in hell that I am eating liver, brains, and all their little organ friends. (Since my fast, I don't want much red meat at all, and I'm consuming much more fish than before...the kids hate fish, so we have a bit of a battle goin'.)

I am, however, enjoying more work with Bread. I've worked long and hard to perfect my traditional yeast bread, using frozen yeast from the local German Baker. Now, in my kitchen sits my attempt at creating a sourdough starter. I am keeping my fingers crossed because I tried this years back and it was unsuccessful. I am now older and more patient and I am willing to let it just ferment like mad on my countertop. Of course, that people walk into my home to wafting yeast! Not so good for my reputation.

Now for a wee update on my day with the neighbourhood. I had six kids show up before we were even finished with breakfast. We watercoloured, drew with our Stockmars, created a story using playsilks and natural materials (pinecones, driftwood, etc.), beaded and made bread by hand. (I didn't even need bread -- hahah, another food joke -- but I tho't it was an important thing to impart to these kids.) Surprisingly, they all went home and told their parents that they are ready to homeschool! Of course, it was a Friday and therefore super-relaxed; and they didn't see me in bitch-mode....but in the end, all these neighbourhood kids now can tell my children what a wonderful life my kids must have. And in that instance, a little peer influence can go a long way.

TTFN.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Life's great!

Right now, my life is flowing marvelously, a fact which invariably contributes to my lack of blogposts. I have gained a great deal of insight from the Homemaking book, and would recommend it to any Mom. I still struggle with some of the jargon of anthroposophy, but I know that my understanding will come in time. If it doesn't, I will be clogging Anthromama's combox for clarification!

I have taken Melisa's advice and I am getting up before my children. What a joy this has been! I have time for myself and my coffee, time to read and get my frazzled brain sorted. This is one of my single greatest challenges, as I have never been a happy early-riser, so I am patting myself on the back. I have also used one of our big rainbow playsilks to hide the desk (telephone & computer) during the day and that keeps me from indulging in too much blog/forum reading. That having been said, I have an ever growing list of wonderful blogs to enjoy, and one day I shall get around to posting them all in the sidebar. (Mwahahaha, I am hoarding them all to myself!).

Next, i just have to talk about peer pressure, and using it to one's advantage: we live in a lovely neighbourhood with oodles of school-going children with whom my weenies can play. Because we only homeschool four days each week, we start school earlier in the year than these school goers, and the result is that my house in now inundated with children who all want to be homeschooled! (My six year old neighbour just told his mom that he has signed himself out of school and will be with us this year!) Today, me, Biggie, and Littlie were teaching 10/11/12 year old girls how to sew and crochet. Oooooh, how it sent happiness into my HSing heart! These other children LOOOVE our house, love our wacky Stockmar crayons, love our handmade bread and knitted ducks. They think playsilks are amazing and have even made up a name for new "Girls School." For the first time since Mom made this decision, my girls are seeing the desirability of their HSing life. Who'da thunk it? Just wish me well tomorrow, Friday, as I do Wet-on-wet watercolouring with a pack of young girls!! ( I may just have to post pictures of their paintings!!)

But now, I am leaving you all. I discovered that some kindred spirit has uploaded to Youtube all of the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. Of course, it's in 10 minute increments, which well be interesting, but all I have wanted to do today is watch P&P, so I am as happy as a clam.

Nighty-night.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Homemaking as a Social Art

Can't blog long. Am reading. Had to stop and share that this book is FAB! Totally worth the inflated NZ book price, hehe. If you've read it, please feel free to comment. I'll be back tomorrow to talk about what I am learning.

Oh, btw, fasted five days. Feel great and want no bad food. Unfortunately, I seem to have mislaid my personal pronouns somewhere......

Friday, January 11, 2008

It's Official

Thanks to the miracles of the internet, I can now confirm that I am a Nerd....Nerd Queen, to be exact. (I have but few aspirations.....)
NerdTests.com says I'm a Nerd Queen.  What are you?  Click here!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Potion, Brains and the Year's Plan

Wow, Day Four with no real food, seulement ma potion. It's amazing how I just don't miss food. I even made cookies, both yesterday and today, and felt no need to eat any. What is truly shocking is re-realising (as I do every year or so) just how much I nibble out of boredom. I am not obese, by any means, nor am I wee: I am your standard size 10-12, depending upon the weather, as I have been for all of my adult life. (oooh, sidebar: ya know what really sucked? when I moved to NZ only to discover that their sizes were one higher than US sizes, so a US 12 is a NZ 14! Aaaargh!!!)

Enough about the fast. Back to homeschooling.... I have made a decision about Biggie, age 6.

Quick prologue: Biggie is what is described as Classically Gifted, as am I, my sister, my mother, my grandmother, and probably every woman as far back as Lucy (ok, does anyone but me get that reference? if so, you too will sit in Border's just to watch David Attenborough!). This means that we just get stuff, right away, no big deal. I am not humble because this is something which I was just given, I never worked for it, I never earned it. It's mine because the Universe passed it along. It also has some pretty big downsides, such as: I was never made to do ANY P.E., because my academics were too good to waste on my physical health (yep, my heart is now laughing at that choice); I never really had to work in any of my classes, so when Wife-and-Motherhood came along, something I really had to work at, I struggled. I haven't a creative bone in my body, so I can edit anything, copy anything, recite anything, but it's really tough for me to create something on my own (I'm workin' on that with my munchkins); I am a vicious perfectionist and compulsive problem-solver, and because I have always been able to meet these demands, I have yet to overcome them. I am not ungrateful: in all honesty, I love my nerdiness, and I am grateful to G-d that I was given a brain that never fails me; but in true good mother fashion, I want more for my daughters. I pray that my Waldorf efforts will allow them to glory in their own brainy-ness, as well as their creativity, imagination, sense of wonder.

Now, Biggie has taught herself many things, including reading, math, and how to play the piano. I went through a phase during which I did "Lessons," true academic lessons. I felt compelled to do so because I was unhappy with HOW she was teaching herself. Now, I have come full circle. She is well into the 6 year change, and I have seen that she is still Little, and she needs the warmth, love, creativity, storytelling, repetition that is part of Waldorf kindy. I have therefore decided that this Season (who knows how long?), we will do kindy. I am going to use Melisa Neilsen's kindy schedule, with seasonal changes as necessary, and we will sing songs and bake and craft. And I will still support her in her self-learning, but I won't be the one bringing early academics to her. Of course, this will present challenges for some of the earlier Waldorf Lesson blocks, but that's ultimately why we homeschool.

I have to give credit to Melisa here, because it took a great act of will for me to sit down and employ her planning strategy. Having all these goals, festivals, seasons and blocks on paper allowed me to see just how much is expected of a Waldorf student. Another factor that had a major impact in my decision was the Summer holidays' opportunity of being around other children. I have seen that these children are not emotionally ready for what Schools are demanding of them, and they are suffering. Some of these are children whom I love and care for, and it breaks my heart to see their impressionable personalities being formed with such extreme academic pressures.

You know the image I keep seeing (I am a movie buff, in case you didn't get that already): Parenthood. Rick Moranis teaching his daughter, the little human sponge, and Steve Martin's kids goin' hog wild but having ALOT of fun!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

more lemons

Guess what? My husband does this fast for TEN days. OMG, he's a wonder. It's Day Two for me and the only thing I feel is bored. This boredom was what kept me from fasting for many years. Not only do I enjoy food, but I realise how much time food consumes: the preparing, the eating, the cleaning up after. And, if we go out into the world, it normally involves eating SOMEthing. But no, it's just me and my magic potion.
(Don't be too impressed, as I made an agreement with myself that I am still allowed one espresso each morning.)

I would like to post more, but my dh has Good Charlotte blaring on the speakers downstairs and my food-less mind is having a hard time focusing. I'll try again tomorrow.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Ou est ma potion?

Okay, if I go a bit dingy for the next few days, I have an excuse (see, I am inspired by Britney!!!): I'm fasting.

Well, actually, I am doing the Master Cleanse, during which time I drink a potion of lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. I am going at least three days, but maybe five. Suffice it to say that I was bad to my body over the Christmas period and now, in true existential fashion, I am accepting the consequences (knew all those Sartre classes would be justified somehow).

Today's fasting comment: I'm tired.

We could stage a Waldorf Intervention!!!

From now on, whenever I berate myself for my parenting flaws, I shall invoke my new mantra: "At least I am not Britney Spears."

Gaawd, I no longer live in Hollywood, I no longer even live in America, and yet I am embarrassingly absorbed by this poor girl. This is worsened because she's from the same part of the South as my family....not all Southerners are Rednecks and White Trash. Don't you just want to put your arms around her and give her a hug, a hairwash, and a proper meal.

Waldorf Intervention, here we go!

(nb, this bizarre post is attributed to bad Summer sleep...way too hot and a munchkin in the bed!)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

O hell! A rant on religion....so check out now if you're touchy about Jesus.

So I gotta question: why is it that only those of us who have walked away from a mainstream religion teach tolerance? Here's the spark of this musing:

My six year old daughter was recently told by an eight year old friend that people who celebrate Halloween don't believe in G-d and are all going to hell*. Whoa...(and where's the connection b/t G-d and Halloween?!). Yeah, I know, great opportunity to discuss the history of Halloween and touch on the issue of modern religion adopting pagan festivals, etc., (and I did all that). But in comparison, what do I teach my children: we believe what we believe and it's important that we let them believe what they believe, aka TOLERANCE! Even as judgemental as I am, I don't try and force other people to share my views. And for the life of me, with the world like it is today, I can't understand any responsible parent not teaching tolerance.

My husband laughs at the blogs I read because included in the list are some way-fundamentalist -- I may not follow their religious path, but I respect their devotion to a faith and I think they have many great lessons to offer me; HOWEVER, I know that some of those same bloggers would never countenance my musings simply because I am not Christian. As if religion is the only defining factor to my personality and value. I just don't get it.

*This wasn't nearly as bad as when our kids were 5 and 3 and our then-babysitter came over and taught my children all about Jesus while we had a very rare date night. Oh well, at least she didn't give them food colouring and plastic toys. MWAHAHAHAHA.