October 13, 2007
I have always expected that if I sent Luca to a public school, I would be in the teacher's/principal's office frequently. "So, today, Luca did xxxx and then we talked with him and he shouted xxxx and there will of course be some consequences for this behavior..."
Why have I expected this? Probably from all the playgroups when parents came to me with "so, Luca just hit my child..." or "did you know that Luca did xxx?" or "so how do you handle it when Luca does xxx?" Or maybe it was stares that I got as he screamed in public...I vividly remember the first time I felt this at an infant massage class when he wouldn't stop crying. So, I have probably fed the situation as well with my own feelings of embarassment, frustration, wishing that he would just be one of those kids who plays quietly and smiles at everyone. Of course, it didn't help to have one of those kids right next door.
I do feel that I have grown considerably in this area. I started to agree with my mom, that I don't actually want a robotic child. Luca is fascinating, curious, passionate, determined...all those qualities one wants in an adult. But when he climbs up in a tree at preschool and drops his pants to pee, I haven't quite been able to drop the thought that I wish he could be just a little more like the others.
On a less humorous note, I feel some fear about putting him in school. I know deep down that I am not interested in homeschooling my children. Well, I said that about home birth at one point....but for now, it isn't a real option for me. I am afraid that Luca will get punished at school, or be ostracized for his behavior. When one corrects his behavior, one is usually met with a great deal of anger. I could say that this is a phase, behavior typical of a 4-year-old, except that it has been true since he was old enough to push a button on an elevator. (I have more elevator stories than you can imagine)
I feel that I have worked with him so diligently, looking for many different ways to approach him, that I could write a book about it. I don't have one technique that "works". I have many, many ways I approach him, depending on the topic/situtaion/people present/etc. I am working on honoring his sovereighnty, a new idea to me. So, if it takes this much work for me, and I am his mother and therefore extremely committed, what will happen at school?
On the bright side, he might match up with a teacher who finds it easy to honor his needs. Who is not put off by his reactions. Who doesn't use discipline as the only means to control their classrooms.
Where did this start? Well, we have parent/teacher conferences next week, and I signed up for a phone conference. (Mom is out of town, babysitter unavailable, etc.) The teacher pulled me aside the other day and asked if I would come in instead. So, we scheduled 8:30 PM appt. I am really in my head. What is so important that she would stay so late to see me personally? One of the other teachers said that it was important for her to be there too. Then, she started telling me about Luca's latest -- I am too tired -- when he doesn't want to come inside. He even got down on the floor and refused to go in for storytime. If you know Luca, he is never tired. Never. So, I ask him about it on the way home. He says," Yeah, that was my way of telling her that I didn't want to come inside. I hadn't found a worm yet." So I said, "Oh, it is your code?" He liked that. "Yeah! My code!" Well, I suggest that perhaps instead of saying something that wasn't true, he could just tell her that he didn't want to go in. He says, "But she let me stay out for five more minutes!" i.e. his strategy actually worked. (my father already has him pegged as a future lawyer)
So, I am headed in for the parent meeting on Monday night, grateful that Luca was willing to share his strategy with me. Who knows what we will brainstorm -- perhaps just some ideas about how to interest him in story time. What will the future hold? I am feeling pretty dang certain that a traditional academic school is not in our future. I don't know. I know that it will all work out. I just can't get over being so darn protective. I don't want him to be judged or misunderstood. But we all are...in fact, pretty much everyday, right?
The mysterious measuring tape among other things
October 01, 2007
So today, we were talking about creating and how it is a powerful and deliberate act. Alyssa brought over a long thin piece of paper with writing on it. I looked at it and she said she made me a measuring tape. Ok. So I thanked her and tucked it away. A few hours later I decided to hang the bulletin board that has been sitting in the same spot for two years now. What did I need and couldn't find?
Yep. A measuring tape.
You see, the board has two hanger things on it. I still couldn't find the tape so I eyed it.
I'm certain we have at least three of them.
We have critters in our shed.
I saw two yesterday and screamed.
The shed is at least 50 years old and has all our junk in there.
The thing is falling apart.
A good place for them to hide and chew up everything.
I hope my wedding dress isn't out there.
I can't go out there and look.
And then there's the toilet.
We had a plumbing issue a while back.
They left the toilet and now I can't move it.
Those things are heavy.
It's sitting in our yard.
I'm such a packrat.
No wonder the rats are here.
We need to move to the country.
I miss everyone.
P.S. Thanks Becca for inspiring this post, it was great to hear from you.
A funny conversation
September 22, 2007
(I mean, besides the one we had today where Luca asked me how long my penis is)
Mimi, poor girl, has a yeast infection which means the worst diaper rash ever combined with her itching it all the time. We go to the store to buy anti-fungal cream. (which, by the way, is next to the socks. I would have guessed near the other medicines and creams. No, next to the socks. And where are the socks exactly???)
Luca is fascinated, by both the conversation about yeast and about the "funbal" cream.
So, we are headed to bed. I pick out three lovely books, and we are crashing in my bed as Bill is attempting to sleep with Mimi and crack her stay-up-two-hours-in-the-middle-of-the-night-to-nurse routine. Luca spots the diaper rash cream, and we are right back into the obsession about yeast and cream. The boy thinks up more questions than you can imagine. And then he needs to go in the bathroom to see the cream. And then he needs to know what is written on the bottle. And then he needs to know what color it is, and why it is kept away from children. So, I talk him into reading one book, and then we are back to the questions.
Then, I say that I will keep answering questions (we are now into the fact that it shouldn't get into your bloodstream, and what is a blood stream and where does it go...) and read one more book, or we can start reading and get to both books we picked. He thinks about it, and decides to drop one of the books. Amused, I continue to answer questions.
I drag him away finally to read StellaLuna. We get through two pages, and we are back to the cream. So, I tell him that we can read the book or turn off the light and talk about anti-fungal cream. You can see where this is going. He, absolutely delighted, announces that he would love to turn out the light and talk about anti-funbal cream.
So, he falls asleep while amusing me with his diatribe about what he will tell the teacher at Blossom tomorrow about yeast and anti-fungal cream.
This is my life. I have to admit that while we do have amusing conversations here and there, I am a bit bored/depressed/confused. The rush of moving has passed. I do love Boulder and the changes in my lifestyle. But I still get up every day to raising kids. Not much else. I am lucky to get a couple of hours to myself each week. There is something really mundane about my life right now. I can't even put my finger on it. I guess that I am just sitting with the boredom right now. I am choosing to not add anything. My new neighbor told me all about her acapella choir which needs second sopranos. Wow, I really want to get back into music. I have looked into half-marathons, playing volleyball or tennis again, starting a business with a friend...but I am resisting adding things right now. Can I just be with the slowness, the repetition of park/eat/walk/eat/poop/sleep/eat/pool/sleep/laundry/cook...and so on. It is just so repetitive. And I got up to the SAME questions about anti-fungal cream today, as if we didn't even talk about it yesterday. Cary, bless her heart, reminded me of the oral tradition of story-telling. Luca just really wants to hear the story. That put some life back into it for me. I started asking him to tell the story too.
So, off to bed. Would love to hear from others about this if you are mulling it over. (about the slowness, not the anti-fungal cream....)
The boy with the broken leg
September 15, 2007
Really, what I think about most when my heart breaks, is the parents of children who have a horrendous chronic illness... You know, parents and children who don't have the hope of, "Only 3 more weeks with a cast." I just, I'm just so awed at how deeply humans can love, and love life, in spite of all sorts of super challenging circumstances. And parents... how strong we have to be for our kids, when really all you want to do is break down. At the hospital, the x-ray tech took one x-ray, and then after developing the first one, he took another x-ray. I thought, "Oh shit, he found something." And sure enough, he came out the second time and said something about "fractura" and "yeso" and I just couldn't hear it. It wasn't until the doctor in the ER said it again, and I saw the fracture across the tibia, and he said we needed a yeso for 6 weeks, that I knew I was a moment away from losing it. I said to the doctors, "That's unacceptable, can't you tell me something else?" (You gotta love a parent's deep love and arrogance.) But I couldn't lose it, because there's Albie, who had been in great spirits up to this point, but he didn't want to hear anything about a cast either, and so he lost it... And so I was there for him. And I held him. And told him the story of the courageous boy who really wanted to get across the monkey bars, and in his efforts, he slipped and fell, and broke his leg. And again, it's just a broken leg... we have a time line, the hope of 6 weeks...
For the most part though, Albie is doing absolutely great. Here he is with his new cousin on our last day in Argentina:
As an aside, this sweet baby girl is a thumb sucker. It may just be the cutest thing I have ever seen. When she's cranky or tired, her mama lays her down on her belly, she finds her tiny perfect little thumb, and falls asleep. Oh how I wished that Albie would find joy in his own thumb when he was an infant and give my aching nipples a break!
In some ways, it was a bit easier dealing with the broken leg in the city than it has been in the country. In the city, we got into the stroller in the apartment, rolled into the elevator, rolled out onto the sidewalk, and rolled around the city. Here, I have to carry him a lot more and my back is feeling it. In many ways, it is like going back to having one year old. Albie is getting a shorter, lighter cast on Monday (his current cast is plaster and goes up past his knee), one that will allow him to walk. He says he doesn't want it, he likes being carried around. Stinker.
Luckily, school started as soon as we got back, and that helps all of us have a bit more rhythm and routine. His teachers are great, and carry him up and down the stairs. And he scoots and crawls and keeps up with his buddies.
We have this tradition after school -- we all walk to the small, country train station and the kids run around a bit. On the 2nd day of school, I brought the stroller so we could start our ritual again. Albie's friends were running on the sidewalk, and I ran as I pushed him in the stroller, and generally tried to allow him to keep up with the action. His friends ran around the platform, and he crawled around, and he smiled. We walked back to our cars and his friends drove off as I was putting Albie into the car seat. The look on his face was devastating. Oh my heart. I asked what was wrong and as he answered the tears began rolling down his cheeks, "Mama, I want to run. GET THIS CAST OFF ME." I guess it's the biggest lesson I've had so far as a mama, you know, the one we all know but perhaps find it hard to be with -- that we can't keep our kids from suffering, heartbreak, sadness, disappointment -- all those things that are just a part of the human experience.
I have to say though, Albie has handled himself beautifully. If this is how he'll face adversity as he walks his path, well, I think he'll do just fine. He gets it, he gets what he's missing out on, he acknowledges how much it sucks, and then he moves on. He is amazing. He's teaching me about being unattached. I love him.
This is him, after the 2nd day of school, moving on...
I have mentioned that everybody needs a dirt pile right?
Blossoming in Boulder
September 07, 2007
I love the name of Luca's new preschool -- Blossom. And you should see the gardens that she has cultivated in the play area. The kids can help garden, search for rolypolys, eat the herbs, pick the beans...it is delightful. I don't have pictures of the garden but I included one of Mimi playing there. I'll get better ones later. Luca really loves it there, was even begging to leave at 7:15 AM recently. And I was asking how early Mimi could start -- she marches in the gate like she owns the place. She loves to stop and ring the cowbell on the gate.
Luca and his friends take a walk every Wednesday, and they stop to climb this tree. We often visit the tree after school is over.
Other blossoming events in Boulder -- Luca has learned to play with a yo-yo (and you get the opportunity to see the awful wallpaper in our kitchen. That is next on the list) and Mimi has fallen in love with a teddy bear. I am nesting like I never have before. Painted the entire downstairs, hung quilts that I have meant to hang years ago, finally potted a rosemary tree in my kitchen, got the hummingbird feeder I have thought about...it feels so dang good to know that this is it. This is home. Maybe not forever, but for a long time.
Glimpses of our summer....
August 22, 2007
Well yeah, sure, I could have been posting all along -- a picture here, a rant there. But alas! I dropped out! And now I'm dropping back in with some moments from our delightful summer. We worked a lot, played a lot, swam a lot, beached a lot, and celebrated to the extent of hangover. Much goodness. Now we're off to BA for 2 weeks and then back to school... sinking in, rhythm, ritual... Oh, but first, the Justin Roberts show is tomorrow! Swoon... Chris is going with me and Albie -- he's afraid of what I might do.
Anyhow -- back to the picture show... Wishing you all a fabulous few weeks 'til the autumnal equinox...
I did mention the work right?
August 12, 2007
Just wanted to share that I spent the Saturday that I have been thinking about for so long. Walked three minutes to the bus stop with Luca, Mimi in her Maya wrap. Rode the bus into town and walked to the post office. Then, walked to the Farmer's Market. Enjoyed lemonade, fresh flowers, raw honey, getting free ears of corn, unbelievable tomatoes and the bustling crowd. Wandered down to Boulder Creek to cool off and throw rocks while Mimi napped. Rode the bus home. Ate lunch and then walked two minutes to the pool. Somehow, it felt like I had so much more time to be with the kids, talking, sharing, investigating, without the hassle of getting in and out of the car and focusing on driving. It was really delightful, despite the heat.
Luca has shared with me that he thinks our old house is sad. We are visiting our old house Monday, so we will check it out. We will all be doing better when the sickness passes, and the house gets cleaned up. For now, I think we would all agree that we won't be moving again for a long time.
Relief from the heat
July 26, 2007
We finally got a break today - a temporary downpour. Mimi enjoyed it so much that I had to post some pictures. She has her tongue out to catch the rain. She has finally got walking down, and it just delights her to no end. She has discovered carrying things as she walks, which is such a joy. She also loves to give you a kiss and then turn and walk away. Adorable.
I have to post some of Luca too -- enjoying the trip up to Copper Mtn last weekend. My dad and Bill were biking the Courage Classic, and I just couldn't get it together to bring a tag-along for Luca and Burly for Mimi so that we could all ride. Next year....So, we took in the events - bungee jumping (kid style of course), bumper boats (you can see him with my mom spraying water out the front), ski lift rides, mini golf and more.
I am feeling a bit tense about how the move will be for the kids. I had a good talk with Jen about it this morning, and she was encouraging me to think about Luca's temperament. Somehow, I am drawing a blank on that one. He doesn't get particularly attached to things, so I am not too worried about the house really. He may really struggle with the routine of playing out front, as Mimi might too. She grabs my finger, pulls me outside and walks me to Angie's house almost everyday. She really loves Angie. Well, I know that we will be through the worst of it in a month, so I am ready to batten down the hatches and just sit with the questions. When Luca struggles with things, I get LOTS of questions. I hope I am able to really just be with whatever shows up, no expectations. I have decided to give Luca a basket to gather whatever items from outside that he wants to take with us to the new house. Let's hope he forgets the snails that he gathered up today and put into a yogurt container with flowers and grass....
"I'm having a meltdown..."
July 18, 2007
So, per Jen's suggestion, we went to see Justin Roberts in concert and had a BBBBBlast! Such a fun time. The kids loved it. Jonah was singing and dancing (some..it was rather hot) to all the songs he knew. We met up with Angela and Alyssa there too! The show is really entertaining and Justin is quite witty. He is a cutie, too! ;) Felt a little nervous getting his autograph and totally spaced getting a picture of the kids with him. He was so welcoming and warm to everyone he met. And he looked you straight and deeply in the eyes. I liked that. So, Thanks Jen for introducing this to us.
Here we all are (except Shawn, he's taking the pic).
Every child has known God
July 15, 2007
Every child has known God,
Not the God of names,
Not the God of don’ts,
Not the God who ever does anything weird,
But the God who knows only four words.
And keeps repeating them, saying:
“Come Dance with Me, come dance.”
Summer update from Colorado
July 14, 2007
Hold onto your pants -- I actually decided that I love myself enough to get a high speed internet connection. Shocking that I waited so long. Shocking.
So, I can send a quick update without spending 20 minutes on the computer. Again, shocking.
We are moving to Boulder! It is official, inspections have passed and we are on our way on July 30th. Our new neighborhood is beautiful, peaceful, serene. When I am there, I feel peaceful in my body. We are 0.3 miles from one trailhead and 0.5 miles from another. We are 0.5 miles from a rec center with pool, (our complex has a pool too), 0.5 miles from a great public school, and 1.0 miles from a great public Montessori school. So, I will soon deal with a debate in my head about driving 3 miles to the great public arts integration/ Waldorf school. But for now, I can just enjoy taking the bus to the farmer's market on Wednesday nights and not fighting traffic on the highway, meeting Helen on a moment's notice for yoga or church or happy hour, driving up to Cary's house without using the highway, exploring a new neighborhood, meeting new people, going to birthlodges and Band on the Bricks...all those things I have been dreaming about.
I have some fear about the transition for Luca. He has a posse of women in the culdesac that we play with almost everyday. He grabs his bike and spins around with three older women (7,7, and 8 yrs old) and then hops off to play on the slip'n'slide with his buds Kennedy and Eva. He will miss this terribly, and I struggle with my impulse to fill up our time so that he forgets...or will that work anyway? I have to learn to sit with the difficult moments, and be with his struggles.
Mimi Lu is toddling around, becoming a true walker. Is there anything more delightful??
July 01, 2007
Hello, checking in from Texas. We have had almost 30 days straight of rain! Alyssa is growing, she is so tall. It is strange to picture her taller than I. We are groovin' with the summer, we have a woman who comes and plays with Alyssa a few days a week. During that time I work/run errands/receive bodywork/work on projects. We are thinking of offering blocks of learning for homeschoolers in the Fall. She can bring in painting, form drawing, fairytales, baking etc. Somehow it is all coming together. We had six children for June and now it is just the three of us. I think we have at least four for the Fall and maybe more. It might be more appealing for families if we offer lessons in blocks so that there is more freedom and a little less comittment. I am also thinking of calling in a language tutor. Alyssa had some experience with a French teacher recently and I saw her engage completely. I am traveling to Sicily in August for a week without her for a retreat and we are going to visit her great grandpa next week for a few days. A full summer with more on the way.
An angry post in which I curse
June 14, 2007
Why the fuck can't we (as in we humans) make products (as in everything that is human-made) that don't fucking hurt children, adults, the planet etc... Is it really that hard? Would it take so much? Is it really more important to make more money? Whatever. I'm not sure I care.
But I do care! Fuckers.
Thought you all should know about this Thomas recall:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 1 million of the popular "Thomas & Friends" wooden railway toys made in China are being voluntarily recalled because some may contain lead paint, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commision said on Wednesday.
June 11, 2007
I've been meditating every morning. The first morning I decided to add this to my life, I didn't prepare Albie too well and he was all over me -- couldn't, wouldn't leave me alone. I ended up yelling at him. So much for the peace of meditation. The next morning, Albie gave me the space I needed. However, at one point, he stood at my bedroom door, peeking in, saying to no one in particular, "She's kidding me. She has got to be kidding me." It took all I had not to burst out laughing. Well... months later, we've got our routine down. I set the kitchen timer for 23 minutes or so, and as soon as the timer goes off, Albie comes into my room to announce that meditation is over. I get a kiss, he blows out the candle, and we go out to have breakfast. Often, we take a moment for some killer cuddles. It is truly a lovely way to start my day. I sometimes wonder what he does for that 20 minutes (Chris is usually doing yoga), as he keeps himself happy and entertained and I can sometimes hear him talking to himself. Living his own life -- making his own world.... Thought I'd share what came in to to greet me post meditation this morning:
Happy springing into summer
May 31, 2007
Man oh man, what a wet spring provides...things are blooming that have never bloomed (in the nine years that we have lived here), and my Shastas didn't get pummeled by late May snow for the first time in 4 years! The yard is showing off, and it feels like it is trying to seduce us into staying.
Mimi is sporting some of the latest Italian fashions. Check out the sleeves on that shirt...she could battle Carrie Bradshaw for the stylish-yet-so-impractical category. These type of clothes are worn for the five minutes that it takes to get a good picture for the Italian family. Luca is giving Carson a big hug. He has suddenly decided that the babies/toddlers really aren't so bad after all.
The kids have learned how to clean lately. I swear that I didn't stage this picture. I turned around, and they were both scrubbing the floor. Exciting on one hand and depressing on the other. I am cleaning so much that my 14 month old has already learned??? And for those of you who think that we can blur the lines of gender at young ages, check out Mimi with underwear on her head. She loves clothes. Anything she can find, she puts around her neck or over her head. She was managing to crawl around the house ... and they were clean, by the way.