Sailing Her Own Ship

When I walked into Talie’s room on Thursday morning, she was busy, knee deep in construction paper and tape.

“Mom, I wanna sell these.”

“What exactly are they?”

“Horns! And you can do anything with them!”

“What do you mean? Show me.”

She then demonstrated a lovely song tooted through the funnel shaped, taped, paper. Then this horn became a hat. And then a pirates spy-glass.

“See? Anything! And I want to sell them for $2.00 each!”

“You want to sell that piece of paper for $2.00?”

“Uh huh!”

 

It was all I could do to not tear her little plan down. Who would want to pay $2.00 for a simple little craft they could easily make on their own? It was exactly that thought that changed my mind about trying to talk her out of her plan.

Sheesh, I thought. I buy things from other people all the time! And most of of what I buy I could easily make on my own!

Luckily this five year old doesn’t yet have strong concept on the value of money. (except that she wants it!) So after helping her understand that a fair price for her product was probably about $0.25, we set up her shop and she hung her shingle. I posted a quick advertisement on Facebook, (there’s that Marketing 1010 put to good use), and off she went to sell her wares.

And can you believe it? She sold every single one of those Horns That You Can Do Anything With!

*****

Who am I to stifle my children’s entrepreneurial gusto? Little ones have no fear. I see that they are unafraid of risk or failure. They are fueled by ideas. In their little minds, the steps to success are simple and straightforward. Ship landed. Boarded. Sailed. And she’s on it! Not only is she on it, she is at the helm!

Why do I make things so complicated? By the time I have my fears and motivations sorted, risks and benefits weighed, steps organized and the whole process more complicated, that ship has sailed! I’m left on the shore with my hands in the air wondering what happened.

*****

This morning, I walked into Talie’s room and she was busy again. There on her floor are fourteen more Horns That You Can Do Anything With! Apparently demand is high and she doesn’t want to disappoint her customers.

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Leave a comment here if you’d like one of these hot items! She accepts Paypal!

Growing pains

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I spent some time today looking at my baby. I don’t know how, but sometime in the last few weeks, he decided to grow. I see his chubby legs and pot belly. A healthy double chin is developing. And his cheeks! Oh, those cheeks! A little dimple on his right cheek is noticeable with his smile. He is such a smiley, content baby. And he is growing. At nearly six months he is getting better at sitting up. This makes him look even bigger. Combine this with jeans and a pair of moccasins from Happyandthehectic and we’ve got ourselves a bona fide little man!

I can say the same of my other two children. Only their baby cheeks are slowly disappearing. No more dimpled hands. Less and less chub on the cheek. More muscle definition. Bigger shoes. Longer legs. Growing pains.
Little bodies doing their thing. Growing. Learning. Changing.

When my five year old clip-clops down the hall in my strappy high heels and sun dress wadded up under her arm pits, she smiles at me and says, “Will you save these for me for when I’m a teenager?”

All I can think is, “Will you save a little piece of your five year old self for me when you’re a teenager?”

Growing pains. I wonder is it as uncomfortable for them as it is for me? My anecdote today was kissing on luscious baby cheeks and squishy thighs. But soon those will be gone and there will be other new and exciting things to find joy in. And those growing pains? I doubt they’ll ever go away.

The Invisible Woman

I have got to get something through my head. My hard, thick skull. It seems some times it is impenetrable. Listen carefully, Holly:

It is not about you.

Why is that so hard to internalize and practice?

I read this article just now called The Invisible Woman. I am blown away when I think of the many women and mothers I know who truly are “invisible women” and take honor in that. Wow. I see you. And I thank you for your example.

 

Six Reasons to Never Give Up on Motherhood

I read this article this morning. It was just what I needed to read at this moment in my life. Not that I feel like giving up, but gosh- some days are so hard! Take the time to read it and glean the wisdom that you may need right now.

Six Reasons to Never Give Up on Motherhood.

 

“Never, never give up!”

ABC’s

[click picture for source]

A good friend of mine recently asked me what I have done to teach my four year old the alphabet.  And really, I cannot think of one thing I have done that worked over the others. Honestly, we used to watch a lot of Super Why and I think that did teach her more than I realized, but I didn’t want a TV show to do the ALL of the teaching… 😉 We sang the alphabet song a lot. I have an old alphabet banner hanging in her closet door. (Compliments of Grandma who is a 1st grade teacher.) But the one website I frequent the most for helps in my preschool endeavors is No Time for Flashcards dot com. Another good friend directed me there last summer. It is hands down the most complete and well rounded resource for me to draw from. You can search by topic. By age. By whatever- and if you have the gumption and time, you can make a lot of these activities turn out fabulous. All last winter for our preschool time I would let my daughter choose which letter she wanted to learn about and then do an activity based around that letter as found on that website. It was easy. It didn’t take too much time. (Because we all know how long is a toddler’s attention span is!) And it was effective! I found that the activities were more effective when I let her take the lead. I was just there to facilitate and pour the glue. (When she lets me!)

Anyway, this week a post showed up on No Time for Flashcards that was a perfect answer to my friend’s question: How do you teach the letters? Well? I’d say one at a time, and through simple activities that involve play and independent thinking. And lastly, I’d tell anyone asking the same question that it is okay to take it slow. Nobody has set a solid deadline for a kid to learn their ABC’s. It’ll come, so patience is key and providing opportunity for learning is also key.

Check out the website and I hope you love it like I do!

If you cannot find something on this post about teaching the alphabet, then you’re just crazy! 🙂 

Have fun!

PS: who else is singing the alphabet song now?!

Montessori School

For years, I have been interested in the Montessori method of schooling my children. Even before I had children of my own, I knew that I wanted to send my kids to a private Montessori institution. After having worked in a public school setting for a school year, my heart was saddened by how many children I saw without a light in their eye. The following video may help you understand what I mean when I say that.

My 4 year old daughter is a Learner. She, like most children her age, is naturally inquisitive, probing, independent and a hard worker. I would hate to see that natural drive be thwarted by an educational system that seems to be broken. I love the Montessori philosophy. I love the innovative thinking and I love that it is a Child-led learning environment. We do our best to provide this same way of being in my home. We have held off on enrolling our 4 year old in a conventional preschool program. (You can read my reasons here) But as my daughter is maturing, I can see that she may be ready for something beyond what we are doing here at home, either that, or I need to up my game. (Which translates to Homeschooling…) And I am not talking about traditional academia. I am talking about keeping that flame of wanting to learn alive! I believe my responsibility as a parent is to cultivate that natural drive. And I believe that providing my children with the best possible education is part of that responsibility. (Whether from our home or an institution.) Speaking of “upping my game”, I think I could spend my entire life savings in this store!…then I wouldn’t need to enroll my children in a school!

There are many Montessori school in my area, however they carry an expensive price tag. It is a price I am willing to pay and the time is soon approaching that I need to take a step forward for enrollment. This reminds me of Gilmore Girls when Lorelei finally breaks down and exchanges the cost of tuition for Rory to attend a prestigious Private High School for Friday night dinners each week! (Pilot) (I don’t think it will come to that. We already have dinner with my parents a lot.)

Anyhow…if you are unfamiliar with the Montessori method, or you see your own child struggling with conventional schooling , I hope you’ll take some time to learn about the other great options for educating your children and what you can do at home to help them rekindle that fire. There are some great videos that follow the one above that you can watch.  I feel so excited about this!!! Seriously excited.

From the above link “montessori method” :

The potential of the child is not just mental, but is revealed only when the complete “Montessori method” is understood and followed. The child’s choice, practical work, care of others and the environment, and above all the high levels of concentration reached when work is respected and not interrupted, reveal a human being that is superior not only academically, but emotionally and spiritually, a child who cares deeply about other people and the world, and who works to discover a unique and individual way to contribute. This is the essence of real “Montessori” work today.


In other news, said 4 year old daughter had her very first piano lesson yesterday! She loved it!

Room

Looking for a good book to read? One that just may change your life? Do yourself a favor and go get this book by Emma Donoghue.
After seeing it on a friends Goodreads list, (thank you Emily!) I started reading this book last week and couldn’t put it down. If I didn’t have a real life, I would have been able to finish it in one sitting. It was that captivating. I finished it last night and now cannot tell if reading the book was as good as therapy, or if I need therapy now! Either way, my life is forever changed.

That’s all on that for now. Just go read the book if you haven’t. And if you have read it, what did you learn from this book? (No spoilers, please!)

http://www.roomthebook.com/

Growing up

My husband has been sorting through all of our digital photos this week. There is a crazy amount of memories that are crammed into approximately 200GB of space on our computer. What is even more obscene is the amount of photos we have of just our daughter. Upwards of about 1500 pictures of just little Natalie. It’s a lot, not because of the number, but because in comparison, there are only about 400 pictures of her younger brother. Whoa. I heard that happened with each subsequent child that came a long, but that has got to change!

We were browsing through some old videos and stumbled upon one of little Natalie from about 18 months ago. She was 2 1/5 years old and I think Henry was just born or he was due soon. The video is of us stomping barefoot in the puddles of a recent rain storm. We were looking for worms together. Near the end of the video, you can hear my timer go off and me asking Talie what the timer means. This time, it means that our cookies are done and we have to go inside and get them out of the oven.

In the video, she looks up at me and with her big doe eyes says very matter-of-factly”…come back outside?!” As if saying she’s cool with going in to deal with the cookies, but after that, we’ve got to get back out here!

The clip is priceless. It shows so much of her little brains working, her sweet tiny voice and huge personality. I watched this video with her and my husband and we laughed, but then I burst into tears. And grabbed Natalie and held her tight. My little girl is growing up. I am in awe at the things she says and does. I am so in love with her! I don’t often get emotional at the thought of my children getting older. I mean really, yay for no more diapers, spilled drinks, wet beds…all that stuff. But in the end, it really is those small moments that make this all worth it.

The next day, I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth while Natalie was sitting on the potty and after she said, “I’m ALL DONE!” to me (while assuming the position to be wiped) she said so innocently, “I don’t want to grow up, Mom. Am I growing up right now?”
“Yes.” I said. “We all are growing up. It’s just what happens to us.”
To which she replied, “But I don’t want to grow up! I don’t want to get big.”
I told her I didn’t want her to grow up either, but it was going to happen. And she shouldn’t be scared.

I guess I ought to not be scared either.

It is a good thing I have so many pictures to remember her by. We can both look back and see how wonderful and fun growing up really can be, one stomping puddle at a time.

Memories of Mom

There are good things about my mother. She is a good woman. I believe that most people really are good at heart. If I could peel away the layers, goodness would be underneath.

Upon thinking all week about this, I realize that I really am a lot like my mother. She’s a hippie. Creative, open, a liberal and a lover. A breaker of rules, a nurturer. She is wack sometimes reactive and selfish in her choices. She’s a shopper, a spender, a binge dieter. Spontaneous. A listener. And I know she loves me.

I have fond memories of her when I was a child. Memories of washing dishes together and me talking to her about the things I learned that day. We used to write in our journals together. That’s one thing that I am grateful that she instilled in her children – to be writers. Recently, she let me read her account of my birth in her journal. She went right to it. October, 1981. How special that those memories and events were preserved. I have memories of music. There was always music in our home. She taught me the violin starting at a very young age. She had a huge following of students actually, while we were living overseas in Riyadh. She plays many instruments. The violin (fiddle), piano, guitar, accordion and others that I don’t even know the name of. She valued music enough to pass her skills on to her children. And while I don’t play any instrument anymore (I cannot believe she let me quit!) I do enjoy singing and listening/appreciating all genre’s of music. My favorite while a youngster: Abba, Marty Robins, Madonna, Blondie, Johnny Cash, and others always were streaming throughout our home.

I have memories of swimming with her. Well, actually- she would walk the perimeter of the pool doing her aerobics to “Deep Breakfast” while we kids splashed all around. She even made my sister and I mermaid tail swim suits one summer. I’m not sure how we didn’t drown wearing those things! My tail was pink, sister’s tail was blue. It was always sad when we had to take them off at the end of the day. My mother let us go night swimming a few times. We may or may not have been naked.

She sewed. Living outside of this grand old U S of A forced her into creating knock off of the real deal. She made Barbie houses, Christmas stockings, most of our clothes, toys and whatever else she could concoct. Brilliant. Who needs a pattern? She made play dough, bread, “apple box” horses and other things out of cardboard boxes. She even made Cabbage Patch Kids. I still have little Black Stevie.

We had animals. Oh did we have animals. Our compound in Saudi…oh man. The cats. No wonder my dad hates them! And to think that Mama Bushy Tail (yes, that was her name) had her kittens right under dads desk! We had box turtles, gerbils, parakeets, a cockatoo, even a DUCK. (Oh, Wilber…who one day laid an egg and then became Wilberina!) Our parakeets flew free in an all tile bathroom, and to clean it, we would just strap sponges to our feet, hook up the hose and have a soap fest.

The things she let us do created my childhood. It really was amazing. She was there in the beginning, when it counted. Not that her presence ever stopped counting but the foundation was there. And perhaps that was why her leaving was so difficult. She had always been there. And then she was not. My mother did a 180, and it hurt. I’ll cherish my memory of her when she was around. For she taught me how to be a child. She taught me how to help my own children be children. She loved us all, and still does I have no doubt.

I’ll hang on to that.