Our days have finally become consistent once again after the big move and I can assure you it feels so very good. Little boys that are rested. A mama that occasionally has a moment to gather her thoughts before the scampering feet arrive. A home with everything in its place and a place for everything (ok, maybe not everything). A general feeling of rhythm, routine, and calm has come over this home and I quite like it.
Part of that has included a waldorf inspired circle in the morning. Though I never believed I would have the tenacity to keep something like this up, it has become a part of our day that I truly treasure. It gives my boys at least an hour of focused mama time where chores are done together and where I don’t try and pick up around their play. We dance, we sing, we play hand games, we do yoga, we recite simple poems/verses, we paint, we bake bread and generally have a good time. And though I do indeed admit a full on love affair with the waldorf philosophy, truth be told my boy feels the same way about something else, he loves letters! I have put no emphasis on them whatsoever yet he hardly draws a picture without declaring it looks like one. “It’s a half an “A” mama! It’s an upside down “M” mama! It’s a “T” for uncle T mama!”, he announces. And the list goes on and on. While I believe that literacy begins with a love of stories rather than a focus on phonics, I can’t deny my little one of something so solid that he feels inclined towards. So I have begun teaching him a few letters here and there, basing a couple unique projects around them, and sometimes picking up a book that happens to have a story with that certain letter’s involvement.
And we read Fledgling and made fairy wands and built an incredible fort (one whom I enjoy being in so much it deserves an entire post of its own). Overall it was a lovely week. I feel certain this inclination towards letters will be something he dives in and out of during his preschool aged years, but I don’t intend on putting all our focus on them either. I believe his imagination will be best preserved through play and storytelling and movement and adventure and life in general. And we will continue to do lots more of that too.
Oh not much has changed over the last two decades. I believe my imagination has been preserved quite well. I use to play pretend teacher on a regular basis making intensive “workbooks” for this pretty lady when she was Miles age and now look at her; All grown up sitting on my couch loving my boy. These two they are something else I promise you.
The bane of a crafty mother; imposing your trade, hobby, passion for, onto others. Particularly your children. I coax Miles into many a projects and more often than not I find myself being short of a stellar mother. I tend to hover. At times I instruct. I don’t mean guide, I am talking full on direct instruction. Pretty much the opposite of what I believe in as a Mama. As a teacher. As a fellow human. But for some odd reason, it pains me to watch such misuse of glue or other ridiculously inepensive cheap art supplies. I fight against empty space on a page. I urge (With a stern voice. Really a stern voice? During craft time? Fun, craft time?) for him to use the scissors just like I do.
While the waldorf-ian in me does want to impress upon him the proper way to hold a crayon, brush a stroke, or draw say… a horse (or a tree, pretty much the two things Miles consistently wants to draw), the other half of me is tempted to just walk away and see what happens. Back off mama.
So yesterday, I did just this. And you know what? There was no massive mess. Glue was not all over his hair. General chaos did not occur. Just a little fun. Fun without his hounding mama leaning over his shoulder showing him the “right” way to do it.
It was much more enjoyable for me as well. After a few minutes of just hiding in the kitchen making vanilla custards (so good…) unable to even view the possible desecration of the elmers, I ventured back and I delightfully laid my eyes on this:
A cut up poster that had seen better days and the canvas that wouldn’t die. It has been used for three projects in total. Now, it has found its resting place on a wall in our kitchen.
And just because its beautiful. The perfect place for a tire swing I believe.
The power of a story told by heart is like nothing else for adults and children alike. When I hear someone tell something of their day who is a true story teller I can remember that story for many years to come. I can imagine exactly what is happening and sometimes feel like I am right there living out their tale with them. During my time at Pine Forest Elementary, a charter school following a Waldorf philosophy, I truly learned the importance of storytelling to children. I may not be a professional story teller but let me tell you my little boy is definitely dreaming about beanstalks growing up through the clouds this moment.
His memory for what happened in the previous day’s portion of a particular tale and his ability to retell a story surprises me. Many two year olds I know have uncanny memories but some of his I believe perhaps I can attribute to the countless hours spent in our papasan telling fairy tales fables. Besides it’s fun for all really.
The beauty of telling a story from memory is that you can alter it to become age appropriate. Also, when telling Miles a story I make sure to include lots of words that he uses all the time so that he can talk about them with me later. I will say all kinds of words he has never heard of as well and I can bet he will pick up on quite a few of those too.
To me there is nothing like seeing Miles beginning to use his imagination. Tucking in little objects he claims to be babies (and nursing them too:), cooking supper, and going to see Pop-Pop are as serious to him as the real things are to us. They are essential. And it is just plain sweet.