Sunday, February 28, 2010

It's a big journey..

Tannah has taken a while to draw a picture of anything that actually looks like something. There has been a lot of frantic circles with lots of pressure on the paper and a lot of scribbling but no "here is me and my toy" type drawings with a couple of strange looking stick figures on the page. I was patient. I was not worried. I was trying VERY hard not to compare her to other kids her age when I see a picture that her friend had done of their unborn brother floating around in their mother's uterus..not to mention looking at all the names on the xmas cards that it is obvious the kids themselves have added their name to....anyhooo. Tannah comes up to me a couple of weeks ago and is all flustered.

"Why can't I write my name? I keep trying but it's not perfect!"

I'm excited. She's keen! I write her name, explaining as I go, wondering why I chose a six letter name. She has a go at the T and gets pissed immediately-she is a total perfectionist in all that she does and expects to be able to write straight away. We talk about it. She decides she wants to write over the top of my letters. I google worksheets and find one that I can make her name on and print out a few. She has a go at a couple and colours in the rest.

I talk to Lovely Kate about it all-the drawing, the frustration and the sudden urge to write. She knows early childhood stuff and suggests maybe some different drawing tools might do the trick. I take Tans to BigW and we peruse the stationary department and buy some bits and pieces. Textas, gel pens, wind up crayons and triangle shaped pencils. Over the next few days there is much drawing and experimenting with new tools on different mediums (the name worksheets are forgotten) and she comes to me with a drawing of a person-with arms, legs and a body! I feel so happy for her because she is clearly excited with herself. And it was the gel pens on crisp white paper that she chose :)So she is happy drawing. Then a couple of days later "why can't I read the words too?"

We talk, I ponder. I decide to give Reading Eggs a trial after hearing nothing but good things about them. On our trip to BigW the week before Tans showed some interest in some of the reading aid type stuff. She wanted ABC flash cards (!!??) and a Reading Eggs workbook. I bought them and put them in the cupboard where she could access them if she wanted. Tannah LOVES the Reading Eggs stuff. She likes the songs and animation, but isn't really into the exercises as such. All good.After a week no one has asked me to put it on again.The "school stuff" remains unused in the cupboard and she has lost all interest in writing her name. I struggle with trusting her journey-it's a long one after-all.

She still loves the gel pens though.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Grateful

Veronica over at Sleepless Nights did a post today about being grateful. I'm inspired :) This is going to be about interesting stuff not the things that are a given like family, children, friends and health. You know I love those things right?

I'm grateful for-
-peanut butter. Really. It's my favorite.
-finding a local cow so we can have our own "bath" milk
-all the lovely women and children I have met at the Unschooling group
-home delivered groceries!
-*ahem* frozen coke. I am aware that it is the devil
-my very clever friend at Moeder Kip who makes the most awesomest clothes ever. For my kids and for me!
-old school sheet sets found at the op shop. The very same ones I had when I was little!
-kids who love to sleep over at their grandparents and babies that sleep on said night so parents can get ummm well LAID
-my dishwasher (I could really start a separate blog about how much I love thee)


How about you? What are you grateful for?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The sexualization of our children

I went to a talk last night hosted by Barefoot magazine. The topic was "our Girls, Our Bodies, Ourselves" and the sexualization of of little girls.

It was pretty full on.

What kids see in the media has changed. Music clips resemble soft porn and there are magazines aimed at little girls where photos of kids their age have been air brushed and enhanced.Teen girls can buy t-shirts with very provocative slogans. Eating disorders are at an all time high. The number one concern for children aged between 14 and 21 is their appearance. Not school, bullying, suicide, drugs, family problems but appearance. The media is making young girls feel that if they want to be popular they MUST be sexy.

A group of teens (boys and girls) were shown photos of naked breasts and asked to show the ones they liked the look of the best. ALL the boys opted for the fake ones and almost all the girls did too. So with Brazilian waxing and fake tan being sold to 13 year old girls we are making them into mini porn stars. Just the look the boys are used to seeing. Provocatively dressed,underweight, hairless women with huge breasts-who just can't get enough sex. These images are being bombarded on our children on a daily basis. It's pretty scary.

Check out Melinda Tankard Reist or Kids Free 2B Kids for more info (we heard excellent speeches from both websites) as well as Moonsong for ways to encourage women both young and old to reclaim their bodies.
But please join Collective Shout a grassroots movement where you can get involved in making companies accountable for their unethical marketing.

And talk to your kids-about everything!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Organize me baby!!

I used to be so organized (and on time ALWAYS but let's not speak of that)and I guess I kinda sorta still am. But not to my standard.

I forget things more than I care to admit, I spend too much on groceries when I do them on the fly and I find things sneaking up on me that I was sure I had all sorts of time until. It needs to stop. I'm taking control!

I have started a meal roster. We have the same 7 meals on the same night each week. It makes shopping and cooking easier and should keep my weekly spend down as there will be no random buying of food.

SUNDAY- roast chook with veggies
MONDAY- salmon patties and fried rice and salad (leftover veggies in patties and chook in rice)
TUESDAY-cheesy tuna pasta
WEDNESDAY-cheesy tuna rice (same sauce, 2 nights)
THURSDAY- meat (lamb or beef) and veggies
FRIDAY- meatballs and home made pasta
SATURDAY- barbecue meat (whatever's going) and potato bake and salad

I've been reading Simple Mom and love her downloads especially the daily docket. Most important tasks, a to do list, general daily plan, what's for dinner and room for notes-I LOVE it! It's definitely helping. I'm also trying to actually USE my calendar and diary.

We have a weekly rhythm happening too. I can feel that having solid stuff on solid days works for us. I'm wanting to make a kind of magnetic calendar of the week with photos so the kids can know what's coming and get more of a flow happening for them.

I really need to make time each week to sort paperwork and so on because that gets out of hand so quick! That will be next on my list...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Comparing..

My 3 girls are so different in every way. They each have a different eye colour among other things. Despite this I do get a lot of comments about how alike they are.

I must admit I can't see it. I am probably looking with my Mama eyes and knowing them as people as well as by how they look. They all have SUCH different personalities that I find it had to say the words "alike" and "my children" in the same sentence. I was not expecting carbon copies each time but I was expecting that having 3 kids, hell having 3 kids of the same sex there would be more similarities. I have been blown away by just how individual they, and their needs are.

I have been doing the massive job of moving my whole catalog of digital photos from discs onto a hard drive in some kind of order (not there yet!). I have really enjoyed looking over photos of my 3 lovelies as younger people-not to mention a much younger me! I thought I'd share a photo of each of the girls at the same age and you can tell me what you think. Alike? Similar? Not at all? The girls are all around 10 months in their respective photos.

Tannah
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Willow
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Harper
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I will admit the lack of hair until well into their second year does seem to be a theme...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A school by any other name...

I say we "homeschool" a lot. Truth is what we actually do is really far from school. There are a few terms for the style we have adopted. unschooling, natural learning, child led learning, delight driven learning,life learning, home based education and so on and so on. I always say we homeschool because people know what I am talking about straight away. Most people who don't know me personally are just making conversation about "when will Tannah start school" etc so I don't feel like explaining the what unschooling is.

We don't follow a curriculum or have only specific times for school type activities. I really like the description "life learning" because so much of what kids learn is just from living and being interested in becoming part of the world around them-school or not. But I am open to what specific subjects or skills the kids might be interested in learning, including doing workbooks or playing learning games on the internet-with no pressure to do any more than they feel like completing. That sounds more like "child led learning". The term "unschooling" can sound quite negative to some and positive to others depending on your outlook-I have heard it described as like unbinding or undoing where school is something restrictive and unschooling is taking that restriction away. I like that too and probably identify with aspects of that particular branch of homeschooling the most.

But I think that "natural learning" describes us best. Naturally the kids want to learn and in their own style with no pressure. They are driven by human nature to become a part of the community and gather the skills to help them do so. I help them along the way.

But I'll probably keep saying that we homeschool lol

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mad as hell.

I went to yet another rally today in support of women being able to have a homebirth with an Independent Midwife.
I spent more time and energy and money taking my family to basically plead with the government to let us keep our human rights. It makes me fucking pissed off. Especially since our PM refused to show himself and hear us.

Who do the powers that be think they are? I mean what fucking right do they have to tell me where and how and with who to birth my baby? It's MY body, MY baby, MY vagina and my right as a woman and a mother to choose who is MY care provider.It seems to me that if the issue were safety (and homebirth has been proven time and time again to be safe) that elective c-sections would be the first to go right? It is no secret that it is more dangerous to have a c-section than a vaginal birth. If having your baby at home is proven to be no more dangerous than having your baby in the hospital then what is the agenda of the AMA?
I can't help but feel incredibly cynical about the whole thing. Money perhaps? Or is it that old chestnut of having a group of people (and women no less) choosing to be non-conformists and live outside the system. Informed people making their own decisions?? We can't have that.

I am over fighting for this. I shouldn't have to. How dare the powers that be think they have any say in MY birthing choices.

I'm also afraid. If they take this right away then what's next? Freebirth? Calling DOCS on women who choose to birth unassisted? Vaccination? Forced injections on children? Schooling? Forcing me to put my kids into a system I have no faith in? Will we live in a nanny state where the government thinks they have the right to oversee parents decisions involving their kids? Scary stuff.

But my main emotion at the moment is anger. I saw women today who had come a long way with small children. I saw women who I have seen at other rallies. I know we have all spent time, money and effort trying to be heard and to fight for the basic right to choose. I saw women who, like me, have been damaged by an overburdened hospital system that fails birthing women and babies. And to be ignored is just the icing on the cake.

I also saw my Midwife. The amazing Sally who cared for me and Harper (and the rest of my family!) on our pregnancy and birth journey. A skilled and wise woman who may soon have to collaborate with an OB to care for women as she did for us. I hope for the sake of womens rights in this country that it doesn't come to that.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Balance

I think I am finding some long lost balance and I'm loving it.

I love to gather information. I LOVE reading books about everything and enjoy surfing forums and blogs for inspiration. Then I like to digest the information and think about what sits right for me. I usually chat with people about the books I've read and seek out people who have experience or passion in said subject and gather wisdom that way. Then I like to incorporate a bit of trial (and error) run to see how things actually fly in real life.

Here are a few areas which the dust has settled on-

Bedtime-we gave zen bedtime a bit of a go. Pretty much because when Luke is on shift I find putting 3 kids to bed by myself a giant PITA. It kind of worked-but I still "put" the kids to bed. Harper obviously still needs a lot of help (read boob) getting to sleep. When she is ready I feed her to sleep in bed. Easy. The big two are getting in the habit of asking when they are tired and I read some stories, we put a story CD on and I give everyone cuddles for a bit (we are all in the same bedroom-though Tannah has just started choosing to sleep in her own bed)and then I leave them to fall asleep. It's been that easy. It does mean that some nights bedtime is really late and some nights when it's clear that kids are tired I ask them to go. I did try just leaving them with much less wind down and we got much less sleep and much more whining.

Food-the whole "real food" approach to eating has been a HUGE winner. No tantrums from Willow, no snot from Willow and no hayfever from Luke! Everyone is so well it's not funny. The grocery bill is a little scary as raw milk and organic food does not come cheap but it's so worth it. Have bought some local lamb which was raised by a friend too. Something about actually knowing where my food comes from just feels good. Have been baking lots too-home made snacks earn brownie points for sure lol. At any rate it just feels good to be eating real, whole food. No fake rubbish, no "replacement" stuff, no diet. It's still tricky trying to avoid additives and sourcing raw milk and pasture fed meat/eggs but that is all getting easier.

Homeschool stuff- I think there is a misconception that if you use the description unschooling that you will NEVER pick up a work book or actively teach your child anything-just let them figure it all out for themselves. It is a child led style of learning so if your child wants to do workbooks all day-with no parental pressure then let them go for it I say! Tannah is showing interest in learning to read and write..some days lol. So we are just playing it by ear and she's picking up bits here and there. Some days she wants to do Reading Eggs for an hour, some days she wants to draw pictures and some days she wants me to read to her book after book after book. And some days she is a fairy princess pony queen who will only answer to "fairy Tannah". Feeling the trust and trying to unschool myself of ideas on how it "should" be.

Hope balance is finding you too :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Crazy Monday!

Monday has become "crazy busy day" around here.
We have a birthing and babies support/social group that meets up in the morning and I still catch up with my original first mothers group in the afternoon. Throw in a Home Education network meet up in between today and we had a FULL ON busy but very lovely day.
We are considering taking Willow to ballet on Monday afternoon. Conveniently it starts half an hour after mothers group finishes. Willow is banging on and on and on and ON about ballet. And asking why, why, why, WHY can't she go and do it?
But that will make 3 weekly events one after the other each Monday-with a HEN meeting in between every so often.

So do I or don't I give ballet a try???

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Thanks Mum!

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When Tannah was born my Mum cam down from QLD and stayed with me for 2 weeks. She made sure I ate, held Tannah while I showered and hung out my washing among other things. She looked after me and got to know her first granddaughter.
She also gave me a pearl of wisdom that has gotten me through some crap times as a parent and I thought I'd share it with you.

She said something along the lines of this-

"Children grow up so fast. Your brother didn't sleep through or in his own bed regularly until he was 8. At the time it seemed as though it would be forever until I got any sleep but in the blink of an eye he was in his teens and hardly needed me at all. Remember that all the hard times pass, that they won't be babies forever and before you know it they will be all grown up and you will wonder where that time went."

It has stuck with me. Wherever I have had rough times with the kids I have tried to remember that this too shall pass-and probably too quickly.

Thanks Mum! This week sucked and that thought saved me a lot xoxo

Thursday, February 4, 2010

in other news...

Have been a slack blogger of late. Only in the writing-there has been plenty of reading! A catch up in point form.

-Willow has unweaned. Back on the boob with gusto, and she's drinking so I'm happy.
-Harper is teething or something. Not sleeping and super restless. Which means I am not sleeping.
-My first unschooling group was a success! And it looks like there will be more there next week.
-no eggs yet from the chickens. Luke wants to put a stock pot in the corner as warning.
-Luke is attempting to make balance bikes by taking pedals etc off old bikes from the tip shop. There is swearing coming from the garage as I write.
-Tannah is sleeping kind of sort of in her own bed. She has been sleeping on camping stretcher bunks (the top of course) since we put them together to try them out (eBay purchase). She LOVES the bed-but insists on it being crammed in our bedroom. It's still progress. I'll take it.
-I am rocking home made dinner every single night. Delicious!


I'm also planning another blog about the sustainable home growney anti consumtiony type stuff-as soon as I can get a name that I like that no one else has yet!
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