28 October 2011

For the Love of Moe

In the last six years, I gained and lost 40 pounds, and watched my midsection balloon and flatten, three separate times. I have given birth to three babies.

Two-day-old Agent J
My body changed, but it accomplished much. My tummy may be a little stretchier, my hips a little more, um, vast, but it's been a beautiful vessel three times over, and our family is now complete

What I remember the most fondly of those early, wiggly, newborn days is the time I spent feeding each of them, even when I had no idea what I was doing.

Breastfeeding, more than anything else, forever altered my perspective of my body, my abilities, my calling as a mother. I love that I fed my babies my milk. But I also love that I can reflect that sense of joy to my daughters. I know that when they hear me speak of my body, it's not to disparage or to wish for my old self, but to beam about what great things our bodies can do. 

I don't think my girls really remember breastfeeding; they stopped at 3 years and 2 years, respectively. But they still have an innate affection of sorts for my breasts. When J sees me with my shirt off, she says, "Mommy's Moe! Two Moes!" (Anyone want to guess what her word for nursing was?) Sometimes E gently pats my breasts when she hugs me, and talk softly to them, like an old friend.

Agent E holding five-day-old Agent A
And of course they witness me caring for their little brother, which includes lots of nursing time. My baby boy turns one this coming week. When their little brother breastfeeds, the girls watch, and ask questions, and imitate with their dolls. When he wakes up in the morning, they greet him with enormous love. When he is sad or hurt, they comfort him (and tell me, "Mommy, he needs some love"). They do these things because they have seen me do them. And for that I am most thankful, and proud.

I love that my girls see and hear me speak of my physical self not in terms of size or shape or weight, but in respect and awe of its purpose. I love that they think Mommy is beautiful as is. I hope they carry these memories with them as they grow into the awesome women I know they will become.

20 October 2011

Playground Chatter

Agent E is very much like her Momma. She is a planner. She makes lists. (Yes; at five. Obviously my influence.) She is somewhat (okay, a lot) introverted. Some would probably label her as shy. (Don't get me started on that one.) She is generally quiet in social gatherings until she has a chance to get to know people. Sometimes she cautiously moves behind me when overwhelmed by unfamiliar surroundings.

But when she is at the playground, she is like a dancing butterfly.

Agent E, striking a pose
E will walk up to anyone at the playground—adult or child—and start a conversation. Usually it involves introducing her sister and pointing out me and her baby brother sitting nearby. She is clearly comfortable in this environment . . . more than any other. I don't want to stifle this with my own fears and worry so I sit back and watch.

But what about danger? What about predators? What about strangers? 

How many "strangers" (a retail clerk, the bus driver, a new neighbor, etc.) do you exchange words with each day? Are these situations dangerous? Are uneasiness around new people and uncertainty in new situations really qualities you wish to instill in your children?

We want to promote a view that the world is a mostly pleasant, safe place. Of course we talk to them about safety. However, we prefer to err on the side of assuming the good in people. (And, yes, I am always Right There With Her to intervene in the rare case that might be necessary.)

16 October 2011

Weeks Five and Six: What the Heck Happened?


Six weeks into this homeschooling journey and I have come to a conclusion: I need to be more organized. (I know, shocking revelation, right?) I couldn't even get it together last Friday to post a Week Five . . . I had to combine it with Week Six. And I'm posting this Friday Weekly Wrap-Up on, um, Sunday morning. Sigh.

What happens when Agents J and A are left unattended
A while back I got on a roll about getting all my ducks lined up but only a few of my grandiose ideas ever came to fruition. If I am going to make this home education thing work long term, though, I'm going to have to come up with a routine that I can follow and stick with it

Some days I wish I could fast forward out of the growing pains of learning how to make this new lifestyle flow seamlessly for every family member, but alas, my magic wand seems to be missing. (I think Agent J threw it over the balcony.)

The last two weeks  we've done a lot of interesting "school" work, of course, but it's beginning to morph into simply our new normal everyday life. It's not about imitating school, or replacing school, or improving upon school, or even about the specific tasks and schedules and goals (oh, my!) at all. It's a whole new way of looking at life and how I (We) teach our children, interact with our children, and fundamentally parent them. I know if any veteran home educators read this they may be thinking, well, yes (duh). But, for me it was (is) truly an epiphany that has the potential to take our lives in a whole new direction. 

01 October 2011

Week Four: One Month Down and We're All Still Alive

Well, we just finished off week four of this homeschooling experiment and everyone survived. I guess we'll be doing this again next month :-)

That inquisitive little monkey sure is captivating
Our big "new" thing this week was introducing computer games. Agent E loves them . . . her faves so far are Curious George, Word World, and Super Why (all from PBS Kids Go!). I don't know why, but I really thought it would take her longer to get comfortable with the computer and learning to navigate. In reality it took about 14 seconds, give or take, and most of that was me talking. Agent J is fascinated as well, but she just watches while E controls the mouse. 

I have a fall break planned, but honestly I don't think Agent E is going to go for it. She has asked to do school every weekend and I think if I tell her we're going to skip an entire week she will look at me like I'm nuts.