The last two days have been great days. Funny how part of the reason a day is great is that it comes out of nowhere and surprises you with its loveliness. In part I think the lovely days are easier to recognise now, now that we are in the process of getting things sorted. (Jobs, houses) And I want very much to tell you all about the lovely house we have found, that, things going to plan, we move into in two weeks. But I would like to make sure that everything is absolutely, undeniably certain, signed and dotted and what have you, and then I will gladly take you on a little tour of what will be (I think) our new home. And the best thing of all? Our neighbours will be our very good friends, the Ralphs. (What a dream…like Desperate Housewives, although hopefully less desperate)
Yesterday we celebrated the 2nd birthday of one of Ava’s little friends, Amalia. And celebrate we did – her Mama, who is an incredible painter, opened up her studio, covered the floor with paper and the toddlers were stripped off to their nappies and set loose with some paints, some brushes, some sponges, some glitter and a whole lot of Mama encouragement. It was absolutely fantastic.
So fantastic, in fact, that it got me imagining many summer days spent in our new back garden with paints and other such ‘messy’ things, making a whole lot of mess, or art, or whatever, and just having a lot of fun.
It is strange, indeed, to see all these Littles together – toddlers that Ava has known since she was 3 months old, so for most of her life. There they were yesterday, sitting round a table, eating tomatoes and homemade pizza and birthday cake like real, proper little people. Little human beings.
This is a hard thing to comprehend. Ava has seemed utterly magical and strange and enchanting since the day she was born, even before and it has always been easier for me to imagine that she is indeed made out of myth and not, in fact, made of human stuff.
So these days, to see her do such utterly grown up things, is very bizarre. (I’m thinking of yesterday and how she does this invisible talking. We move our mouths, as if saying something to each other, making facial expressions and such, but without actually saying anything).
Her sense of humour is one of the very best things about her, about all babies I know. They have such an individual joy and love for certain things. I wish I could share some of the amazing photos today, but obviously there is the complicated issue of posting mostly naked pictures of your own, and other people’s babies, online, that doesn’t need explaining.
But nudey toddlers? Covered in paint? Gorgeous. So much fun. Children were born to run around naked and getting messy and being silly.
And for Amalia, I made a dress, based on the smocked sundress I’m so fond of, but in navy, with red stitching detail and red polka-dot ribbon (because there is nothing better than polka dots or stripes on wee ones, no?) And here it is – the ‘Amalia’, which will be added to my Etsy shop soon. I am particularly pleased with how this turned out since I had to finish it in my less than ideal crafting space *whilst* Ava slept three feet away. In making it, I kept in mind Amalia and her Mama and tried to make something that was classic and pretty and quite simple.
And then today, we woke up and headed out to the York Steiner Spring Fair where we met the Ralphs and various other AP Mamas we know, and a whole lot of hippy, crunchy, ‘alternative’ Mamas and Papas we don’t know. And oh! If I believed in any kind of schooling, it would be this kind of schooling. It was truly magical. We fell in love with it – the wooden toys everywhere, the maypole dancing, the puppet shows, the unbelievable magic grotto which was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen, the felted crafts and clothes and beautiful homemade food, and the best thing of all – the children of all ages running around laughing, drawing, painting, playing. I tried not to buy everything I came across, but it was hard. We settled on a few books, some fairy wool (!) and toadstools and postcards for our Seasonal Table.
It was nearly enough to make me think that perhaps this would be the kind of school I would send Ava too, but I still fundamentally disagree with sending children anywhere to learn. So we settled on the fact that should Ava ever express an interest in going to school, that’s the school that we will send her too. And of course, we will be incorporating lots of Steiner ideas, particularly those related to daily and seasonal rhythms, and routines, into our unschooling. We will also be starting a parent and toddler group there once a week soon.
We went to the Ralphs after and on our way back stopped to take some photos of our new house, so I could remember as many details as possible in all the late night planning and imagining I do. Then came home and played with Ava in the garden.