The trouble with not having the time to write here as much as I’d want is that I have about five separate blog posts running around in my head, all mixing together and confusing me even more than I generally am these days. (Is baby brain permanent? Will this just keep getting worse with every child I have? What year is it?)
I want to write about blogging itself and why I think beauty is so important. I want to tell you about the amazing things my kids have done in the past few days. I want to talk about unschooling (again) and some recent developments.
But it’s 11pm. And I also want to watch House of Cards. And although I could try to string together all of that above into one very long, coherent post, it would be useless, I know. So House of Cards wins.
But here are some things, right now.
Ava thinks everything belongs to her right now. Everything. She told me at the park that the park was hers. At the shop she said, ‘The shop is Ava’s’. When I explained that really it belonged to everyone, she retorted, ‘No, Mama. It’s mine’. Okay. She is doing some interesting things with language at the moment, too, where she will state the opposite of something and then when I play along she will say, ‘No Mama!’ and correct me. She also really likes to make up stories about who we’ve seen during the day and what we’ve been doing. They’re rarely true.
Ezra has just started to hold things. Yesterday he held an orange, whilst we were in the park. It was amazing to me, to watch his chubby little fingers really, really slowly work their way into a grasping position and watch his face watch his hands and watch how hard he was concentrating and then! Look! An orange in his hands! He’s been practicing all day today, and eventually, after he has done it too many times and you can see his brain is just getting frazzled by this amazing new discovery, he starts to whimper a little, so we stop.
We have spent a grand total of 7 hours in the park over the last 3 days. And that’s not all the other hours we’ve been outside, that’s just in the park. I love the park. I love our park. I am so grateful it’s there. But there’s only so much you can pretend to be thrilled to push your manic toddler on a swing whilst you bounce your half-asleep and melting hot baby in the sling.
For the first time ever, two days ago, Ava went off to play with some older boys and girls all on her own for an hour and a half, whilst I sat with the other Mamas and watched. She is so very fond of these children anyway – in particular Daisy who is nearly 6 and such a free spirited sweetheart, but I’ve never before seen her just go off and play with other chidren without me close by. Of course I was there, and watching the whole time, from afar. And I knew this would happen eventually. How attached Ava has been to me has never bothered me because my only frame of reference was how I was, and boy, was I attached to my mother.
Plus, my instincts and a whole lot of reading encouraged me to encourage this attachment and trust that when she was good and ready she’d start being a little more independent. Well, I don’t really have any desire to push any of my children to do things before they are ready to. And Ava, well, she is a very, very strong willed, very stubborn little lady who knows exactly what she wants. And what she has always wanted was to be near me. Which worked for both of us. (Helped by the fact she has always been asleep by about 8, which means I still have a huge chunk of time to myself in the evenings, making for a much more sane Mama)
At the same time, she loves, more than anything, being around friends. Loves it. Talks about them all the time, asks who we are seeing next, and then pretends we have seen people when we haven’t. She just likes me to be there too. But since Ezra has been born, there has been an obvious shift in dynamics. Our attachment has changed – lessened somewhat – because it has had to, and she has become closer to Howard and suddenly much more interested in going off with other children without me.
At one point I looked over and saw Daisy patiently helping Ava to slide down the fire pole. It was amazing. She has always been quite physically confident but with the other kids, she was doing things I’ve never seen her done, and she was so excited as we were walking home, and so smitten with her new, bigger friends who took time to play with her.
Anyway. I have to remind myself she is not even three yet. Of course all these things will come in time, like all the rest has. But it’s simply exciting to watch things like that develop, in sudden bursts of ability.
One of the things I wanted to write about was how and why I write about unschooling. I get a lot of lovely emails from some of you asking me things about it, and often asking me to write more about it.
I plan to. But the thing is, I’m still quite new to it too. We decided to ‘unschool’ almost immediately after Ava was born, so we’ve spent the last 2 years and 9 months reading and talking about it a lot. I would say I have a fairly good understanding of it as a philosophy. But I don’t yet know what it will be like to be an unschooling family when my children are older, which is I think the kind of thing you’d like to know.
The point of it is, there is no difference between living and learning, so I do write about it every time I write here, in so much as I write about what we are doing and things that are happening (although admittedly, this is not a diary style blog and nor do I have any interest in it becoming one). Right now, our days are mostly play, and play dates, and reading, and painting, and making and talking and the kind of things most two years olds do, regardless of what educational philosophy their parents hold.
It’s likely that, since Ava won’t be going to nursery and then school, our days will be quite similar looking to this often, but with even more reading, and bigger projects on the go, and more field trips and outings, and some classes, and so on. I can’t honestly say I know what that will all be like, and it sometimes scares me because I don’t have a very big frame of reference. This is all really, really new to me, but I will most definitely share it as much as I can. I write often about my thoughts on it, or where I am with my own deschooling, because that’s the stage we’re at now. We’re not yet part of any home-edding groups or similar communities.
Whatever happens, I’m sure this space will adapt and change to reflect our lives. I’ve always been uncomfortable about calling this an outright ‘unschooling’ blog because it’s just a place to write some things down about what it’s like to be a parent and also, alive, and that is unschooling to us, but it’s also lots of other things too, and I wouldn’t want that to change. I’m thinking about adding some book reviews in from time to time, and also reviews of things we like, from crafty people whose work colours our everyday lives. And maybe in time there will be more structure here (but maybe not…I don’t like too much of it) and maybe I’ll share some tutorials sometime, but often, I just want to write about sad and beautiful things and most of all I want to write about my kids because I love them and I love that being a parent means there’s always something new to interest me and there’s always someone new who wakes up every day and grows so quickly it feels impossible to grasp sometimes. Unless I write some small part of it all down here.