Friday, January 23, 2009

oh, dear

I keep wondering why everything looks so different on my laptop.

And then I remember that I cleaned my screen.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

special is as special does

Sometimes I struggle a bit (maybe that means over-think) with the way we've chosen to live and Be. Different from most of society, I mean.
There's a subtlety that rests (and stirs) at the heart of it - that if you choose to bring and recognize Magic in your life Every Day -and sometimes every moment- then you have a life full of said Magic, and there's nothing left that's sacred or special.
Because it's all invited. The Extraordinary is invited to live and celebrate in the Ordinary.
Tea parties with fresh coffee cakes (and real sugar cubes and honey for tea) on a plain ol' Thursday afternoon, painting whenever and wherever one chooses, playdough at any time, not just once in a while when Mama can take the mess, games, computer games, cartoons, butterfly chases, water balloons, visits to museums, warm cookies..... it's all invited to live in our everyday days.

My problem -question- is the same as has always been asked, I guess: If every thing and every one is special, then can Special really exist?
And is there anything left to embrace as special or sacred?

It's a question of philosophy, I s'pose.
Am I alright with my children taking for granted their lives?
Cartoons any day of the week- not just on Saturday mornings? Candy on the counter? Free computer play? Pancakes or waffles with berries with freshly whipped cream whenever they request it?
Yesterday we played a math game with gumballs. Trev had asked if we could buy a big thing of gumballs when next we went to the store. "We have gumballs," I responded. "No we don't." "Yes we do." I knew full well he didn't know we had them - or we wouldn't have had them. The boy loves gumballs. Will eat three pounds in one day. I suffer a bit with this one. "No, we don't." He started to question mine and his convictions, and wondered if it's really possible that we indeed had some hiding somewhere. (Hiding in plain sight, they were.)
"Then where are they?" he asks with suspicion.
"Right up there..." I nodded to the shelf above the counter.
I handed him a few, and asked him if he wanted to play a numbers game with gumballs. He did.
So we got out the dice, and sat at the livingroom table playing - losing and gaining gumballs.

The question ran through my head later if I was manipulating my child. Was I using his love for gumballs to get him to practice addition and subtraction skills? Would this push him further away from wanting to learn, explore, and understand numbers, just for the joy of understanding?
I fretted for a while. One thing I've learned in this parenting thing, is you can infallibly find the answer you're seeking... If You Just Ask.
So I did.
As usual, I got around to the question slowly, so's not to encourage him to say what he thought I wanted to hear.
"Trev.... what are your very favorite things to do?"
"I like nature walks, and I like bike rides."
"What else?"
"That's it. That's all I like to do." I chuckle at this, because at the moment we have the worst air in the country, and playing and running outside is just not a good idea, and we've been inside, much to his disappointment. (We live in a high valley, and the polluted air gets locked in due to air pressure. We're expecting it to storm today, thank goodness, it will clear us out. And we'll be playing outside. Even in the rain.)
"Nothing else?"
"Nope. That's it, Mom."
"Well what about cartoons?"
"Oh yeah. I like cartoon network, and nature walks, and bike riding."
"And the computer?"
"Yeah. And my computer games."
"Well what about our science experiments we do, do you ever like those, or do you not like to do them?"
"Yeah, I love our chemistry experiments!"
"Anything else?"
"Okay, Mom. Here's my list. I like nature walks, and bike riding, and chemistry experiments, and having friends over, and playing at friends houses, and cartoon network, and the games we play..."
"What games?"
"The games that we make up."
"What games are those?"
"You know. Like the one we played today. With the gumballs."
"Oh... (looks down) You liked that game?"
"Yeah, Mom, it was great."
Suspiciously, now, "You liked the game, or you just liked the gumballs?"
"I liked playing the game. It was fun."
"Well, would you like to play it again? With sour patch kids, or something?" (This is the true test, because we often have sour patch kids in the house, and he has free access to them.)
"Yeah. That'd be fun."

Imagine that.

So we arrive to a place where I can say "It may not be special, but there is still the Joy of the thing."
And I'm okay with that.
It's related to my taking freedom and liberty for granted. I ask myself if my forefathers would want me to pine away with gratitude for them daily, or if they'd like for freedom and liberty to be such an intrinsic part of my life that it be the foundation of my every thought and breath. I believe they'd choose the latter. It's bigger, it's a much different experience from their own, and in that lies true Liberty.
'Tis the same for me, and my children.
I'd like for Magic and Happiness and Joy to be such a part of their lives that they know no other way. Sure, I'll get irritated when I ask Little Son to pick something up and in a grump he wails "Clean, clean, clean, that's all I ever do! All you do is make me clean!" and I may grit my teeth and be tempted to shout point out the Joy he is offered almost Every Blessed Minute Of His Life.

But when all is said and done, we are in pursuit of Happiness.
Truth and Peace in the Spirit, Wellness in the Emotions, Joy and Laughter in the Heart, and Curiosity in the Mind.

And that's special enough for me.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Yesterday I had a really interesting experience.
About a week ago, I was reading someone's blogpost for the day, and she had posted pictures of trees and plants and things, and I commented something like "Oh, since seeing this, I have to get outside - to see things, and smell things, and touch things!" I hadn't even realized that I had missed it, even though it probably had only been a few of days since I'd played outside.

Then yesterday morning I knew that Outside was on my list for the day again. After we whiled away the morning with experiments, during which time our part of the earth warmed up, we headed outside.
Because I wanted my camera for the playground after the children's bikeride at the church, I had no choice but to leave the batteries behind charging, as my extra set was in our truck - which Eric had.

I'm not even sure that I can say this without sounding cooky - but it was so cool!
Since my eyes weren't darting and capturing things - potentially a photo things - somehow I was more engaged with the Outside. Maybe 'more' isn't the right word - but differently engaged.

Instead of touching things as I usually do - with my eyes and heart and spirit - I touched them with my bare hands. I rubbed pinecones, and ran my fingers through long pine needles. I stroked trees and felt the difference in their bark. I rubbed the tall cement that made up the base of the lamppost, and put my hand to my nose to see if I could smell it.
Everything was so different.

I hadn't even considered before that I was missing out on anything.
I think maybe that's one of the things that winter does to us - we keep our hands in our pockets or our mittens. Our feet are bound into thick socks and burley boots. We're padded and stuffed, and have a thick layer of "can't touch" around us.

I felt really alive -springtime alive- with my altered awareness of Outside.
I'll definitely be remembering this bit of therapy.

If you're feeling disconnected or out of sorts - I highly recommend prodding off your gloves for a minute and touching the world.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


First off, I begin this post at four-something a.m, so if it rambles or makes no sense we'll blame it on that. Agreed? (Even though very early morning is when I usually feel Quite The Thing.)

Let's see if I can make sense of this, now.

I was talking to my friend (my very gentle and smart friend) the other day. I was telling her that I was somewhat freaking about Math. Math, of all things!
Trevelyn's not doing any math. Trevelyn is not practicing any math. I'm worried about his math skills.
Now me being Me, I started to add things to it in my head. Things that didn't belong.
Things like "He's watching too much cartoon network!" "And playing so many games on cartoon network!" And even the dreaded "he can't possibly be learning anything!" :)
(lol - I'm an idiot, sometimes.)

So as I was talking to my friend, and admitting that I could logically see that he wasn't just watching cartoons (I do have OLM, after all), I was still somewhat panicking.
And I even said to her... "I know that he can learn seven or eight or even ten years of (school) math in a couple of months, but still!...."
(Further evidence of my obtuseness and refusal to see reason.)

Now let me even say here that one; Trev had a love affair with Cartoon Network about a year and a half ago. It lasted for about six weeks. And though I fretted and bit my nails about it, I didn't interfere. And guess what? After it was over, he turned off the television, looked up, and had a whooooole bunch of new vocabulary words, interests, and things he wanted to learn about.
Things I never would have thought to bring up, as they're not a part of my not-quite-still-thirty something-years of education.
And the second variable to this that my logical (and unschooling believing) mind tells me is that he had a long boycott of Cartoon Network (entirely his own idea, I had no opinion on the matter) not too long ago, and is just soaking it up because it's become interesting again.

As I was talking with my friend, I mentioned that I was really bothered that we didn't have our Math 1-2 game anymore. It was a huge hit with both Trev and I - a really fun game, and it taught concepts in a way that he easily understood. Fractions? Not a problem. Tens and hundreds? Check!
The last time we went to play this game, it wouldn't work. I uninstalled it, and fiddled with it, (both on mylaptop, and on the Vista desktop - where it had worked before, both), to no avail. So I assumed the disc was scratched or ruined. And I decided the other day (a day or two before my conversation with my friend) to try again. But I can't find it. Did it get broken, and we threw it away?

So since we love it - Trev really does, too - I was of a mind to replace it. And that's when the wigginess started to escalate. He doesn't wanna play JumpStart! (there is Math there, you know [rolls eyes at herself]) he's not doing things that I can cross of my Academia List! Which only exists in my Fearful imagination.
I also mentioned to her that I couldn't find his Star Wars Clone Wars leapster game. Which happens to be math-based. Which he also loves.

So, Gentle Friends... besides the fact that I'm mad (You're Quite Mad, you know, we like to say around here) we can conclude that the answer is always the same for me.... Resources.
When I look at it logically (I've finally come to the place where I can do that) and I ask myself "Do you want to make Trevelyn do math?" The answer is "Of course not."
Carried further:
Why not?
What would be the point?
Do you want him to want to do math, then?
Not particularly.
Why not?
And the now very logical and smart Me says "Because Math is just a part of the growing process. Making sense of the world. As he finds it useful, and as he is curious about things, he'll come to it on his own.
So where is Your responsibility here, or what do you do now?
I can make sure that we have a new copy of Math 1-2 soon (because he loves it). And provide him with other games. And make sure that we have lots of tools and interesting manipulatives at the ready - things that intrigue, excite, and enthuse us by discovery.
I can open the doors and windows wide, point out the way to interesting places and ideas and tools, and say "There." and "Here."
Here is the world. Just for you. I'm here to help as often and as soon as you need it. I do not doubt your capability, and I shall not limit you with my own judgments and limitations.
It's all here for you. Take it as you need it.

And I can mean it, and embrace it.
And return to the magic and joy.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

the magic

I've been reminded (this morning and yesterday evening) that it's all about the heart's smiles, the delight, and the joy.
So that's what I'm focusing on today.
Paying particular and close attention to the joy and sweetness of my babes.

Pretty Snippets to follow.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

new year?

You would think that I'd have a few quiet minutes to reflect and gather my thoughts.
But, no.
Somehow, we've come out of the busy-ness of making/doing/crafting/getting ready and have fallen into Let's Play and Celebrate - the babes and I.

I've no doubt that soon will be time for reflecting and getting into the grit, but for right this minute...
There's just play and more play and exploring.

I feel a long and thoughtful (and peaceful and happy) post making its way through me, though - so I'll see you very soon.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


today i got to play a little in the Light.
and it was enough.