Oh What a World We Live In: Summer Goals

DSC_0277

DSC_0269

DSC_0266

DSC_0276

DSC_0283

DSC_0285

How gorgeous is this canyon? If we didn’t have small kiddos we would have hiked to the bottom.

For Chad’s birthday I bought him the northern plains map for his GPS because he had been talking about geocaching a lot lately. So on a whim this afternoon we went to find a few. Unfortunately the one we really wanted to find was on the bottom of this beautiful canyon and we could not figure out how to get down there. We still had a nice time getting out but now we have the goal of getting down to the water, finding the geocache and most importantly playing in those beautiful water pools!

We found other geocaches, hiked small mountains (while Willem slept in the car), took our Subaru on it’s first off road adventures and most importantly we all were out together.

Advertisements

Free Range Parenting

IMG_1894

Harper came bounding through the backdoor from the dark backyard. His cheeks where rosy, his breath was heavy and his eyes where wild. “Mom! We play outside!” I had been upstairs going through the night routine with Willem while Chad was downstairs doing dishes while our 4-year-old ran around outside playing with no adult supervision. “We played hide and seek, and bad guys and bad cars (?)” he exclaimed with a frenzied excitement. As he told me about his adventures outside I became just as alive as he was. My little boy is growing up and experiencing the world in his own way through his own eyes.

We are graduating as parents with Harper. I still carry Willem close and cuddle him to sleep (even as I type this they are both asleep in my bed on either side of me), yet Harper has gained an intense independence in the last year.

I just recently came across this op-ed in the New York Times about Free Range Parenting. I had only heard of this term once before on a Facebook thread but it didn’t stick long enough for me to google it. Once I came across the article I felt a strong gratitude that we are able to give our kids an imaginative and beautiful childhood free from fences and limitations.

Free range parenting to me is what we lived as children but it now has a name. It’s about trusting your child in the world and letting them play without the constant watchful eye. This does not work for every child and in every environment but it does stand to be talked about because as the parenting pendulum swings we can over-act when it comes to our children. This comes only for love of them and out of their safety but there is a point when we have to trust that they will make wise decisions and be ok. Think of it as little test runs to their adulthood (oh the thought of that hurts just a little).

“If you love someone let them free” is an  in my mama-bear opinion but I do love Harper in a way that I want him to be who he truly is and not a mold that I put him in and trusting him at 4 to play with the neighborhood kids in a safe environment without his mom constantly overseeing him allows him to be his sincerest, sweet little self.

What I Googled This Week

DSC_0220

Many blogs do a “this week on the internet” post of things that they found pertinent or informative online that week. I surprisingly don’t spend a ton of time online but I do google weird things. So without any explanation or reasoning here are the random things I google this week:

Can I rent a bed for a week?

What level is bird of paradise pose?

Kids fish jokes

What is the driest possible wine?

Best sport climbing rope

Sport climbing rope sale

Fa

Sling diaries VI entries

Walgreens photo coupon

Do the Irish celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

Laying Mulch

When does grass turn green?

Mulch

Family yoga

Why aren’t birds using my birdfeeder?

Wood chips

Haircuts for 2015

Weaning Willem

IMG_9352

Nothing makes you feel like a new parent like new stages in development or having a different kid. All children are different, we are constantly dealing with new situations as parents. While we may have been here (weaning in this case) we have never weaned this exact child so we have no clue what we are doing. This tells me that we do.not.have.all.the.answers. We have experiences and we share those however our experience will not work for every parent nor child.

Anyway, off the pedestal.

I started weaning Willem last Friday. It hasn’t even been a week. I have no clue how to approach this and what I did with Harper. That’s not entirely true, I remember holding and singing and rocking Harper when he would want to nurse at night. Willem doesn’t respond to that, if I hold him it makes him more angry and he just gets out of bed and sleep walks screaming and crying into the hallway.

I’m at square one yet there is something strong natural instinct. Yes our kids are different and this is a new experience but for some reason it is going smoothly. It could be because I’m not really pushing any one thing, it could be he was sick last night so I was too scared to nurse him for fear of more puke, or maybe he’s just easier. I don’t know, but he’s asleep in his own bed (first time ever) without nursing and it wasn’t sad and he wasn’t scared. As of right now he basically gets fed when I get full, it’s working well and isn’t cutting ties too fast. I resist sleep nursing him, as of now he wakes up 2-4 times but each night has fought less and less with me. I was amazed that when I laid down with him the other night to put him to sleep he just required me to cuddle him without a single attempt at nursing. I’m sad that he’s growing up but of course, like every mother who has nursed past a few months- I am ready to have my body back (although that doesn’t really happen until well after the weaning process is over, boob holds are a trademark of a nursed baby after all, and I’ll pretty much hold and carry him until he goes to college).

After asking for advise and searching for answers on how to approach weaning a somewhat demanding 19 month old it turns out we just needed to be ready, I need to be patient, gentle and willing to listen to my own instinct and it is working out just fine for us.

Now off to teach those preschoolers some deep-sea yoga.

Mondays Are My Favorite Days

DSC_0140

I’m slightly excited about the day, not because of something special planned but because I have nothing planned. An empty canvas waiting for its paint. The best thing about days with no plans is that nothing can go wrong you can’t be late when there is nowhere to be.

The greenhouse has been on my mind. My subconscious’ way of telling me to hold out hope, spring is near. It’s my first time in this greenhouse since I was a small child. I used to hate coming here because my mother keep us trailing her for hours going up and down the aisles and losing ourselves in the labyrinth of greenhouses. Today it is warm and the air was a mixture of fertilizer and nectar. There is a koi  pond, one fish as big as my thigh. Harper was taken with the them, Willem snug against me was awed with the red circus trailer and of course, the popcorn. We wander, whispering past seedlings, being sure to not scare them, stunting their growth. We looked at lemon trees (I must go back and get one) and name every garden animal we see “a frog! a pig! a bunny!” We smell, touch and eventually pick out a few to take home. Willem keeps ahold of a small, round petaled succulent in his chubby toddler hands, breaking off only 3 petals before we leave.

DSC_0099

In the car we talk about the seeds we were going to plant, how with care, love and attention they will grow out of the dirt and sprout into flowers. While we talk of flowers blooming from tiny seeds and I contemplate which road to take.

We drive through into the forest, eyes open for big horn sheep, deer, turkeys. We turn corners over the winding river, past our old house, to the T where the road ends and we end up at the lake.

There is no other car in the parking lot. I didn’t expect there to be. I unload the boys and we take off to throw rocks into the lake. A simple thing that brings insurmountable joy to young boys, or rather all boys, I remember my first camping trip with their father, watching him throw rocks off of a cliff. Today the lake is mostly ice and instead of a splash we get only slides.

DSC_0186

Harper leads us down paths and over bridges, we’ve come all this way but we still have no agenda. Willem clings to me, his warm little head bounces between my chin and chest as he struggles between his curiosity to see the world and his stubbornness to touch me, proving to us all that no matter where we are or what we are doing, my attention is always held captive with him.

Returning to the still empty parking lot we take our time eating crackers and bananas in the back of the car, our goodbye ritual to any trail.

DSC_0124

Just a Mom

Yesterday I was asked “so what do you do when you are not doing yoga?”

My gut response was “I do more yoga, some writing and I’m a mom.”

image2

I almost cringed after my response for some reason being a mom felt like an excuse of an answer, as if it was something to be ashamed of, like I sit around all day eating Cadbury mini eggs and watching political dramas (some days this is exactly what I do but only in the afternoon).

After I said the mom part my questioner widened his eyes and responded with something that felt to me like “oh wow, well that’s a big deal, a lot of work and a lot of responsibility.” And while that response was warm and just what it should be when anyone says that they are a mom, I felt like there was something lacking in my answer like I had fallen short in contributing to society. My further questioning myself “what the hell do I do?” ended up only making me feel more shame. There is nothing wrong with being just a mom, I know this, I am living in a constant state of thanks for the life I have but what am I contributing to the world besides two well-adjusted, caring, moral little boys?

image1

When I was younger, high school, I was smart, the kind of smart that gets good grades without trying and gets away with doing whatever I felt like. I knew in my head that I was going to choose one of two paths when I was in my 20’s either get a  job, probably in writing/publishing and living for work in a large city and making a decent amount of money but that having kids in that scenario would not be ideal to me- or I’d be in the suburbs, a mom, loving husband but I never saw a career for myself in this situation. Turns out I didn’t get a choice at all, life happened for me, turns out God’s plan was better than I could imagine but I am finding myself resonating with every other mother in the struggle of just being a mom since the 1960’s and while I don’t feel like it’s good enough, I think that is society working on my brain and that it is good enough for me.

I look at my days and think of how much time I have but when you are constantly picking up, planning and running errands the time just plain escapes. I’m only 29, maybe I’m just supposed to embrace and enjoy this slow tempo in life and see where the current takes me. I am so thankful to be a mom and I’m going to accept that it is enough for now and I’m going to do a kick ass job at it.