About

Father’s Day

As late as it is, I wanted to take the time to say it. Happy Father’s Day to all the father’s out there that do their best each and every day to take care of their children.

These little people look up to you so much!


We are lucky to have such a great father in this house. My husband is calm, patient, funny, hardworking, and so good with the little ones.

Whenever I get frazzled, he is quick to offer advice that makes me feel silly for never having realized.

I complained once about not being able to sweep the kitchen because the boys kept taking my broom and dust pan to sweep the ceiling, or refrigerator, or carpet. He just said, “what’s the hurry?”. And he’s right, there wasn’t any hurry. 

He’s always thoughtful and puts his family first. And we love him. 

Happy Father’s Day!

Daily Lessons, Language, Parenting

The rest of the day

I know that last post was a little hard to read, but writing it out definitely helped me get some perspective and help cement my realization that I just need to be more patient. 

Also, the bad times help us appreciate the good times more, don’t they?

After they woke up from their nap, we ended up having a wonderful afternoon. We did a lot of playing outside. They picked wildflowers (weeds) and rocks in a field near the house, and dug a large hole in our backyard. 


It was really awesome watching them work together on the hole, and getting along for at least 20 minutes. Every once in a while Mr. 3 would say, “Excuse me M—-, I am trying to dig here!” 


I told him he has to speak clearly and slowly to his brother and so now he emphasizes each word, and it’s so funny to hear him talk like that.

Little brother kept trying to climb into the hole.

We also discovered that while raw green beans have a tough shell that is kind of gross to chew, the little pods inside the shell are juicy and delicious. We spent quite some time shelling and eating the green beans in the garden. We compared flavors of the different sized pods.


When we got back inside they took a bath together and then immediately wanted to play in the sand box. 

The 15 month old has made some great vocabulary strides in the last few days. He can say “WOW” when we read Wow, Says the Owl. He can also say “baby” out loud, but I think he was really trying to say Brother, which he also just started signing. 

It’s adorable when he signs brother and walks through out the house (or toy store) looking for his big brother. 

He handed me a bib and said “b b b bib!” 

He is trying to jump and just kind of bounces up and down on his toes.

Big brother on the other hand is working on standing on one foot now. And he does great impersonations of his favorite Blippi shows. And he didn’t ask for the Kindle once yesterday, I think he has accepted my computers are for responsible people speech? 

And guess what? When he pooped in his diaper in the evening, I calmly asked him if he wanted to go potty, and when he indicated “no”, I told him to let me know when he was done and we could get him cleaned up. 

See, I CAN do this wonderful job of taking care of and helping my children explore the world. 

Parenting

Learning All The Time – Part Two – Unconditional Parenting

​I am still gathering my thoughts after reading this insightful book by John Holt about how young children can and will learn by themselves. (Learn more about the book here.)

There is a section where he explains that children that are praised or punished a lot will lose their inherent motivation to learn and discover, and develop a fear of failure.

I don’t want that for my children. My goal with homeschooling has always been to teach them a love of learning. According to John Holt, I don’t even have to do that, all I have to do is not destroy the desire that they already have.

What children want and need from us is thoughtful attention. They want us to notice them and pay some kind of attention to what they do, to take them seriously, to trust and respect them as human beings. They want courtesy and politeness, but they don’t need much praise. (John Holt – Learning All the Time)

I think my toddler has been trying to tell me this for a while. He is always asking me, “what am I doing, mommy?” or some variation thereof. Perhaps I need to be more proactive about acknowledging him, even when distracted by his baby brother.

The not praising practice will be a difficult habit to break for me. I was raised in a reward\praise system, and perhaps did not receive enough of it because I was always striving for more.

My two older brothers had the opposite, where they were satisfied with the occasional praise… Good job passing that English class! Where as I felt barely acknowledged for (almost) getting straight As.

You could say the system worked for me. I received a masters degree in accounting. I worked as a CPA until I became a stay at mom. I am married and have a beautiful family. One of my older brothers still delivers pizza, while the other is slightly better off. But there I go comparing, and how can you truly compare happiness?

But I don’t want my kids to experience either of these extremes, I want them to be motivated because they WANT to learn about something, or WANT to be good at something.

So instead of always saying “good job” or “that’s not right” I just need to acknowledge what they are doing and not jump in the middle of it. I need to learn to let them be themselves, not who I want them to be.

It’s going to be a challenge to change the way we do things at home, but I’m going to start small and work my way up to it.

A common style of conversation at our house goes as follows:

Mr. 3: What am I doing mommy?

Me: I don’t know sweetheart, what ARE you doing?

Mr. 3: I’m building a garage on wheels!

Me: Ooh, that’s great.

Mr. 3: I built a garage on wheels!

Me: Good Job!

My goal for this week is to end the conversation differently. Not to praise, but to acknowledge and get him to talk more about it.

Mr. 3: I built a garage on wheels!

Me: I see, you are parking all the cars inside the garage!

I know there are a few good books about unconditional parenting, so I should probably check out some of them to get a better understanding of how to put this into practice. Feel free to leave me a suggestion if you have a favorite book. I am also interested in finding out how you convinced your significant others to implement the same parental practices. Consistency is important, after all.

Also, I would like to thank my husband for taking care of me this weekend while I was sick. I don’t know how you managed to do the dishes, fix the laundry doors, install the rain barrel, mow the lawn, pull weeds, take care of the kids and take care of me. You are amazing. 

By the way, the book Learning All the Time by John Holt is only $2.99 on Amazon. (Affiliate link, but who wouldn’t?)

Health, Science

Getting out of the House… Yes, please!

I think most mom’s have so much going on that they really and truly wish they could stay home. I have the opposite problem, a pre-schooler that does not want to leave the house.

It’s probably a combination of many factors such as the weather, hormones, not doing many fun things outside of the house and who knows what else, but I have been feeling rather blue lately. 

I like the idea of respectful parenting and treating my kids as people, but they don’t always respect me. So I tried explaining that mommy needed to get out of the house and get some exercise and sunshine, and received only “but I want to stay HOME and play with TRAINS!” no matter that I said please, and explained that we need to consider other people’s thoughts and feelings as well. 

 At any rate, in my slightly depressed state, I was left with two choices:

1. Open a bottle of wine and drown my sorrows, possibly endangering my children, or

2. Let my 3 year old throw a brief tantrum, and then strap him in the stroller and be on my way.

I chose option two, and the one year old was happy to accompany me. The dog was so excited that she nearly knocked us all down the stairs. 

We walked to the library (about a mile and a half) and by then I could tell I was feeling much better. We found some really great books and got some good exercise.

 There was another little boy that was trying to teach Mr. 3 how to use the library computer, and it was so interesting to just hang back and watch them interact. I was really disappointed when his mom got off her phone and told him to leave Mr.3 alone. I tried to explain that it was good for them, but English was not something we had in common.

The closest I got to “thank you for making me leave the house, you are so beautiful and smart, mommy” was him repeatedly saying ” I really LOVE this book! ”

I was feeling better, but I was not excited about staying home today. When I woke up,the sun was shining and it was already getting warm. It was NOT an indoor kind of day. I tried the same approach of reasoning but met with the same resistance. So I became boss instead of mom and I told that boy to get his butt downstairs and put on shoes!


We had such an amazing time at the zoo! Both boys were in and out of the stroller. We played on the jungle gym (little one dug in the mulch) saw a beautiful peacock splay his feathers. This frightened the three year old, but the one year old had no fear. Tigers, owls, bears, and the funny and graceful river otters!

We practiced our signs for the animals, and Mr. 1 learned a new sign for “swim”. We talked about the animals enjoying the weather. We saw a baby (joey) wallaby drinking milk from his mommy, and a pregnant giraffe. There was a zebra rolling in the grass near some sleeping hippos. We pet the goats and sheep in the farm petting zoo. 

After all is done, I can feel the sunshine in my heart. There was so much smiling and running and laughing (and learning) today, how could I not feel better?

And the bonus? Two tired kiddos!