Where’d he get THAT idea????

Now all of my children have gone through the putting-things-in-the-toilet stage.  If you have ever had a toddler or had to care for a toddler, you know what I am talking about.

For some reason, Sam has taken this to a whole other level.  I’m walking into the bathroom to find things I’ve never seen before in the toilet…bath towels…blue jeans…where’d he get THAT idea???

In our extreme “Duh!” moment for the week, I’m swishing out a poopy diaper before taking it to the diaper pail, when Nathan wryly observes, “Uhh, Mom?  I think I know where Sam got that idea!”



Parenting by Peers

This thought keeps coming back to me this summer:  my chidren do not all have the same mother.  Oh I gave birth to them all..I remember that much..but my younger children definately do not have the same mother that my older children had.  I am not the same person at all.

It’s a good thing, really.  I cannot imagine anything sadder than living through 16 years of life, 16 years of walking the path of faith, and not growing as an individual.  But the gift of growth has left me a changed person and the mother that I am today is very different that the mother that I was to my boys when they were that age.

Gabe was born when I was 24 years old.  Nathan was born the day before my 26th birthday.  There was a miniscule 14 months between them.  I was young, inexperienced, and most definately overwhelmed.  I parented the way my peers did.  If everyone else did it this way, then it must be right.  Right?  My peers introduced cereal at 3 months, vegetables at 4 months, fruits at 5 months, and strained meats at 6 months, all out of a baby food jar, so I did too.  It would never have occurred to me to breastfeed exclusively until my baby showed an interest in eating table food, then feeding him directly from the table.

My peers all potty trained their children on a specific time table, when the child in question reached 2 or before.  They kept rigorous potty schedules and so did I..and it worked…but I much prefer waiting until my child indicates he or she is ready, even if it doesn’t fit with socially constructed norms.  It doesn’t take nearly as long and we don’t make each another nearly as stressed and I find that if I don’t bring the subject up, nobody else does either.

My peers all put their children in  half-day preschool (at least the stay at home moms did) for “socialization”, so I did too.  We’ve skipped the whole preschool thing this time around, finding plenty of socialization at home, at church, at life.  I don’t miss the expense or the extra running around, and the kids seem to be making friends just fine.

It’s not that any of the above things are wrong..to my knowledge,none of my peers ever had children who grew up to be serial killers.  To the contrary, they are all pretty nice kids.  It’s just that the plan that God has for you may not necessarily be the plan that He has for me and it’s taken me awhile to be OK with that.  There are still plenty of opportunities for peer pressure within the homeschooling community~and I’m refering to the parents here, not the kids.  Pressure to eat certain types of foods, pressure to use only natural medicines, even pressure to have lots and lots of children.  I have dear friends who happen to eat only certain types of food, or who happen to only use natural medicine, or who happen to have large families (larger even than ours!) and each one of them has chosen a good path.  The test for me is my heart.  If I seek to do any or all or none of these things because that is the direction the Lord is leading our family, then that is a good thing..but if I seek after them because someone else does it that way, then I am parenting  by peers, which at it’s heart is idolatry, and I don’t want to go back there again.

Works for Me!

Wow!  Has it really been this long since I have had a thought worth writing in my online journal?  Scary.

I have found a wonderful new (to me) blog called Raising Olives that I have been enjoying immensely. It is here that I found the instructions on how to make darling little seeded bobby pins for my daughters (mine are pretty plain~not nearly as fancy as the ones she pictures~ but still pretty darn cute and a closer match to my personal style anyway.) It is also here where I found out how to turn your entire wall (or anything else) into a chalkboard We considered painting our prospective chalkboard the same color as the rest of the kitchen, but then decided that plain black would offer more contrast for colorful sidewalk chalk on rainy days and during the long, cold, northern IL winters for budding artists and bored preschoolers.

One of the features at Raising Olives is “Works for Me Wednesday” I’m not sure that my tip qualifies for WFMW, but hey, it works for me. :o) I discovered this one completely by accident. We have a darling little red wagon~the kind with the hydraulic tires that you have to order through a farm supply catalog~ that I bought when my bigs were littles and I was parenting by peers (more on that later). It has served us well over the years. The wooden frame got pretty well beaten up and Nathan lovingly rebuilt it as a 4-H project the summer Emma was born. (He also learned to use the power saw and electric drill that summer and I have the gray hairs to prove it, but I’m getting distracted.) The said wagon happened to be left near the clothesline the other day when I was hanging out laundry, so I set the basket of wet, heavy clothes in it. Wow! The basket sat much higher off the ground so I didn’t have to stoop down as far and rolling the clothes down the line instead of constantly picking up the basket to move it both were much easier on my back and saved me a lot of time. Here is a picture of our wagon with the clothes by the line. I briefly considered placing a clothes basket in the wagon for artistic reasons, but honestly, it was already in the house being used for other purposes by that time and it seemed a little silly; but please feel free to use your imagination.