windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (treehugging graeme)
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While a peer with his birthdate won't be eligible to enter public Kindergarten until Fall of 2013, Graeme wanted to go to school so badly we began his formal homeschooling last month. We are making a concerted effort to document the everyday work we do together and I thought it would be fun to share some snapshots of that here!

Graeme is being taught five general subjects, areas of focus for me to make sure he's getting a thorough education. They are: Reading and Writing, Math and Measures, Science and Nature, Arts and Activities, and Compassion and the Craft. Compassion and the Craft probably sounds like every pagan-fearing parent's worst nightmare--but it is mostly about ethics, values, compassion, good citizenship, and being mindful in the world.

This month, in addition to the work we did each day at home, Graeme also participated in some outside events. He's enrolled in a preschool skills class at Gymboree for two hours a week where he gets to glue googly eyes onto things and jump around a play gym in his socked feet. He took a course at the local nature preserve, "Little Pioneers", where they tromped around in the woods for two hours a week and learned about the lifeways, conservation, and habitat of some area wildlife like skunks, turtles, opossums, snakes, ants, and frogs. He also just finished up the course year in Preballet I (a 45 minute class each week) with his spring dance recital. As always, we met up with our homeschooling group for some social and learning time, too.

For the past month, we've been working on an animal unit. My main objective, from an animal perspective, was to teach him the difference between vertebrates and invertebrates (or reinforce the notion as we'd taught it last year) and to teach him the general characteristics of the five (main) categories of vertebrates: amphibian, bird, fish, mammal, and reptile. We read books about animals and did all sorts of assorted animal worksheets. Not everything was about animals--but I tried to tie the concept in to animals for fun. We learned about map-reading with animals, the concept of graphs (how many pets does Joe have? how many pets does Sally have?), even the majority of our addition and subtraction worksheets had some contrived animal hook. The idea of the focused unit, at this age, is really just to keep me entertained. :)

We have had a wonderful time with it, though. Over the month, Graeme fulfilled the requirements to have our yard certified as a National Wildlife Foundation "Backyard Habitat" and got the certificate in his name to proudly prove it. We've added strategic brush piles, feeders, and now our new bird bath to increase the value of our suburban plot to local wildlife. We've seeded a big bed in the back yard with a colorful mix of bird and butterfly-attractive wildflowers. He fashioned a 'butterfly bar' to feed fruit-loving butterflies, hornets, and other animals and then made the food to stock it. Graeme's learned a bit about animal tracking (black bear, raccoon, opossum, skunk, turkey, gray wolf, great blue heron, and whitetailed deer tracks, specifically). We've had animal art projects and he's watched some videos about animals from the arctic to the orient.

On a more general front, Graeme's been working on his handwriting, his spelling, and his abilities in single-digit addition and subtraction the most. Any chance I had to convince him to write more--I did. :) This usually took the shape of crossword puzzles, secret codes, competitive write-the-word-I-say spelling bees, and greeting cards and notes to each other.

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Graeme's handmade metamorphosis poster--I helped him cut out some of the items since his scissor skills aren't great, but he drew and designed everything.

More images of his work under the cut... )

I've also made it a point to record the books that we're reading together every day. (Though who knows how many books Graeme is reading during his hours on the library floor with his feet up on the big comfy chair!) (I'm being massively unfair (and lazy) by only noting the authors, not the illustrators.) Some of our favorites this month have been:

Earth Mother (Ellen Jackson)
Earth Mother and Her Children (Sibylle von Olfers)
Elephant Prince: Story of Ganesh (Amy Noveski)
Forest Child (Marni McGee)
The Mother's Day Mice (Eve Bunting)
Our Family Tree (Lisa Westberg Peters)
Rabbit's Song (S.J. Tucker and Trudy Herring)
Room on the Broom (Julia Donaldson)
Something from Nothing (Phoebe Gilman)
Strega Nona Meets Her Match (Tomie dePaola)
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (William Steig)
Too Many Fairies (Margaret Read MacDonald)
The Trouble with Dragons (Debi Gliori)
Ugly Vegetables (Grace Lin)
When the Earth Wakes (Ani Rucki)
Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak)
~~

As of yesterday, we've moved on to a Money unit. I anticipate a lemonade stand in Graeme's future! :)

Graeme, reading over my shoulder, says: "In my future? Me, a lemonade stand?"

Guess the cat's out of the bag on that one, huh? :D
windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (ocean mom)
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Since long before he could ever articulate why, one of Graeme's favorite board books has been Peter Sis' Ballerina!. In the story, the imaginative Terry goes to her bedroom to dance, digging through her dress-up trunk for all the costume pieces she might need. She puts on her feather boa and dances a fire dance or her violet cape and does a floating dance. The brilliance of the book is that it is entirely black and white until she puts on one of these colorful accessories and then she is, literally, transformed into the very figure of a prima ballerina. The dancing brings the vibrancy, the stories the color.

About a year ago, when Graeme was two, he told me he wanted to grow up to be a ballerina. It was one of those out-of-the-blue announcements that toddlers sometimes make that feel, eerily, important. I said, "Well, boys don't grow up to be called ballerinas, but if you want to grow up to be a ballet dancer, you could. Would you want to take a class and learn ballet?" Without hesitation, Graeme said, "Yes!" and I went about finding an option for him as a little boy in diapers. As luck would have it, our local park service was offering a class for 3 and 4 year olds and potty training wasn't a requirement. So, early in January, Graeme was suited up in his ballet togs and introduced into his first class.

The teacher, thank the Gods, swooped him up from the start. "My little Baryshnikov! Oh, we have a prince! Boys are always the stars of the show--you'll get to be right in the middle." The reaction of his fellow students, however, was more dumb shock. "Is that a boy? Are you a boy?" Over time, though, the ten of them have bonded over post-class trips to the park, paper towel plates heaped with pretzel sticks, and Graeme's abominable abilities at hide-and-seek.

Saturday, all of the students of the district's dance program, ages 3-17, were brought in for professional photographs. It was the first time that Graeme has seen any of the other dancers who will all be performing together in the spring recital *this* upcoming Saturday and the first time that anyone outside of his little group has seen him. The school hallway outside the photography studio was sheer pandemonium. Employees are scrambling around with clipboards trying to herd each age group, on time, into the studio for a class and then individual photographs. Outside, parents are trying to work some last minute miracles on messy hair, torn tights, and smushed tutus. It was crazy. So walking through this scene of dance bags and pink (pink everwhere!) comes Graeme in his little boy's dance costume. He's calm. He's collected. He's holding my hand. We pass a girl from one of the older classes, a four or five year old at the most, and she literally points her finger at Graeme (who is passing two feet away from her) and positively shrieks with laughter. "Look! Look! It is a *boy* in ballet class! A *boy* wearing ballet slippers! HAHAHAHAHA!" It was, to her, the funniest thing on the earth. She was literally rolling on the floor and holding her stomach at one point. Her mother, who had been tucking her little slipper ties out of the way, said not one word. Two more classmates of the jokester joined her and she renewed her shouts, "Look over there! Oh my god, look!! Isn't that funny?! It is a BOY! A BOY IN BALLET!! HAHAHAHAHA!" I mean, she was cackling and sneering and the finger-pointing never stopped and the fifty of us crammed into the hallway together all heard her even over the hubbub and craziness of the moment. I was gut shot. Graeme grew still and white as a sheet. His grip on my hand tightened but he didn't turn around.

I accept, because I'm a realist, that there will be people who make fun of Graeme because he loves ballet. I expected these mythical bullies to become an issue around age 8 and that they'd be in soccer or football or something. What I couldn't have expected, in a million years, is that I'd hear some poisonous, thoughtless, hurtful things from a preschooler who, herself, takes ballet. Shouldn't she be one of his allies?

I said, brightly, something like, "I know! A boy, isn't it wonderful! You girls need a lot more boys in ballet. Have you ever watched a ballet? It is the boys who pick up the girls. The boys are the princes! It'd be a very sad ballet without any boys." The mother, who could have run with it, remained silent and her daughter gave me the sort of withering look that I thought only teens were capable of. I wasn't going to change her mind and, in fact, there was a lot more pointing and whispering and giggling when her other pink tutu'd cronies joined her. God. I'm talking about someone not even old enough for kindergarten, most likely, and already she's bigoted. Children aren't born with prejudice. They aren't born to classify some things as 'girly'. They learn it and saints alive--someone taught this girl to hate and she's, at most, FIVE.

Saturday, my son Graeme will be in his first public ballet performance. In a school of hundreds of dancers, he is the only male dancer, with the exception of a boys-only teenage hip-hop class. It's impossible to miss him. He'll be in all black in the middle of a sea of jewel-bright tutus. He might not turn the right way or quite remember his place but he'll be up there dancing his heart out. He loves the ballet, you see, and gods bless him nobody has convinced him yet to be ashamed of it.

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windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (Default)
One of Graeme's favorite games is to read pretend books. He'll snatch a pretend book out of thin air, open his palms out to examine it, and begin telling the story he finds inside. He likes us to do the same and it makes for an excellent game in the car, during diaper changes, anytime when a quiet storytelling exchange is in order.

Yesterday, it evolved into playacting.

We were laying in bed together, talking, when he discovered an invisible book on the coverlet. His story went like this:

Once upon a time, far away, there was a butterfly named Fairy. She was looking for nectar to eat and flew into a dark bear's cave. Fairy was afraid of bears! The bear was afraid of butterflies! The bear roared and fell, hurting his back. The butterfly poured cold water onto his back where it was hurt and then kissed it to make it better. "Do you want to be friends?", she asked the bear. The bear said, "Sure!". The two of them left the cave and found a big, big flower tree that was green and brown with lots of pink flowers for Fairy to drink from. The End.

Then it was my turn to read a pretend book. Graeme handed one over that, he said, was about a bear. I began to retell a familiar story about a butterfly and a bear, only from the point of view of the bear. Graeme was spellbound and by the time the two had retired to the sunny meadow with the giant flowering tree together, was determined to playact the story with me.

"I need to get my bear costume", Graeme said.

"Your pretend bear costume?"

"No! I need a real one!"

I rummaged in his old things until I found his fuzzy teddy bear coat with the ears on the hood. He was content wearing it as a cape draped over his head. I dug out a pair of my fairy wings so that I could play the butterfly and we spent maybe half an hour acting out the story and them improvising further scenes in their unlikely friendship. It was pure magic. At one point, I went and got my "fairy camera" and we took pictures of each other while eating imaginary berries.

The Bear and the Butterfly photo(11) Sleeping Bear

Later in the afternoon, he wanted to dress up as a "cowboy butterfly" and then run around with a musical chant of "flutter flutter flutter flutter--Howdy!". I live a charmed life.

Butterfly Cowboy Butterfly Cowboy Butterfly Cowboy
windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (Default)
This morning, Graeme wanted to look through a package of phonics flashcards he has with me. He randomly picked the "gl" card from the pile, which had a list of words that start with "gl" like glue, glad, glove, glom. He asked me what glue was and I was sorta shocked to think that in all the ambitious paint and crafty projects where I've had to tarp off entire rooms, he'd never used glue. I rummaged around for my bottle of Mod Podge, unscrewed the top and showed him the glue sloshing around inside. I explained what it was and how it worked and he said, "Where is a paintbrush? Let's glue something!"

Well, he used his amazing toddler radar to find a couple paintbrushes for us while I rummaged for magazines and catalogs we could cut up.

He was so careful and controlled brushing the glue onto each piece and very decisive about what he wanted me to cut out for him. When he was done with his (and had signed it with a giant M and an upside down G) he helped me make a collage, too.

Collage

I hope I never forget the sight of him on his little bathroom step stool, rinsing his blue paintbrush under the tap.
windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (Default)
I haven't posted much of substance about Graeme in quite some time! In September, he'll turn three years old. I can't wrap my mind around that. Three! While I'll have keenly felt the exhaustion of those thousand plus days of parenting, it still is an amazing feat. Three! Certainly no longer a baby and well on his way to becoming a little boy. Pardon the ramble, but I don't want to forget!

He has become a complete nightowl here in Florida. Back in the old days, when I was nursing him to sleep, I'd often miss out on everything because I'd be going to sleep at 6pm and getting up, alone in the world, with him at 3 or 4am. Now, Daniel and I are hoping he'll go to sleep so we can follow suit! He's suddenly shown a complete aversion for his bed. Like, it is extremely fun to jump on but a fate worse than death at night! Instead, he'll stay up until midnight and then curl up to sleep on the living room floor. We wait until he's good and asleep and carry him to bed. Some nights, he'll wake up frantically calling our names (he sleeps three feet away from us) and we haul him up into bed between us for the rest of the night. It's weird. I'm sure there's logic there for him. :)

We are transitioning, about two and a half years too late, to cloth diapers. He loves them, but there is no doubt that they need to be changed more frequently than disposable. I'm not quite with the program yet, so there are still times I turn around to find that he's exceeded max capacity and is standing in a pair of wet shorts. I thought the laundry would be disgusting and never-ending, but really that aspect of it has been easy-peasy. I still put him in a disposable overnight, but I imagine that'll stop once I figure out the timing of everything. Really, though, I'm super happy with the cloth. I can imagine how fuzzy and nice it must feel to wear them! Last month, when I put the first trial FuzziBunz diaper on, he cooed to himself, "Oh! These are very comfy diapers, Mommy!" :D Out of curiosity, I've let him pick whether he wanted to wear a cloth or disposable diaper at every change and he has *always* picked cloth. So that's going swimmingly.

At last check, Graeme is about 33 lbs and stands 3'2". He's getting away with clothes in the 3T/4T range and has giant size 10 feet. :) Our get-him-in-the-NBA retirement plans are really proceeding nicely. ;)

He is still watching more television than he should, though it buys me some delightful showering, reading, and internet time each week. His favorite shows, if he could craft his dream line-up, would be Blue's Clues, Super Why!, Team Umizoomi, Special Agent Oso, Sesame Street, and Dora the Explorer.

Graeme is learning to read. He loves playing games with some "flashing" cards we have that have letters and phonics. Some words, like "cat", he can read on sight. Others, with some prompting like "That word is a color. What color starts with the letter "R"? or "Do you know what animal's name this is?" he can get. He knows all the letters, upper and lower case, and knows what sounds they make. One of his favorite games currently goes like this:

1. He drives his open-bed toy truck around the toy room, looking for any animals that are waiting for a ride. They call out to him in some hilarious toddler impersonations of animals speaking, and hop in. He drives the truck with one big push across the room to the white board where I'm waiting.
More of the game... )

Graeme is such a good-hearted little boy. He says when he grows up, he wants to be a superhero to help and/or save people. The other day, at an indoor playspace, he saw one of the adults cleaning up drop a toy, unbeknownst to her, and walk away. He picked up what she'd dropped and raced after her, unbidden, to return it. "Here, you dropped your toy!" All of his games involve, in some way or another, helping. At the park, he likes to help clean up litter to help the squirrels have a nice place to live. His toy animals are always asking for and receiving help to do things. When one lion cub is scared to go down a slide, a mommy zebra is there to help encourage him. He astounds me with how purehearted, kind, empathetic, and willing-to-serve he can be. The other day, he had this kinda sad experience at a park behind the library. I think it sorta illustrates his personality and the sort of things I want to insulate him from.

The park was empty as it was the hottest part of the day. He played by himself, climbing up and sliding down slides and collecting and counting pinecones with me. Then, a mom arrived with her three children. One, a little girl, was Graeme's age. She came up to him and just stared. He smiled and said, "Hi! What's your name?" She ran away. He turned to her retreating back and called out, "Wait! Wait for me!" but she was soon across the park. He asked me what her name was. "I don't know", I said, "but you could go ask her Mommy." The mom was standing only ten or so feet away from us while her daughter was maybe 50 feet away. So Graeme trots up to the mother, stands at her knee, looks up and says, "Hi! My name is Baby Graeme. What is your baby's name?" She looks down at him and walks away without replying.

So then he comes back to me, deflated, and says, "I am very sad." "Why are you sad?" "I'm sad because nobody wants to play with me."

Knife through heart.

A few minutes later, Graeme gave it a game try again. He followed the three kids up onto a bit playground structure and was going to follow them down a big slide. He sat down and said, "I'm scared", which was really just an invitation to play with (and encourage) him. The six year-old boy in the group called him a scaredy-weiner. The mother says, "Tyler! You can say that to your little sister but you canNOT say things like that to children you don't know." (OMGWTFBBQ)

So Graeme kinda glumly scooted back from the top of the slide and climbed down the stairs back to me. The mom was rummaging in her purse and looking irritated. Graeme walked back up to her and said, "Do you need help? I can help you!"

Again, she just looked down at him and then went back to whatever she was doing.

I smiled, sweet as pie, and repeated what he'd said to her. "Oh, yes I thought that's what he said. What does he think he's going to help me with?"

"Oh, I don't know. Maybe he'll get us a sunshade and some grapes, maybe fan us with a palm frond. *chuckles* It can be sad for my son to go to the park because he's so much more socially mature than other children. He strikes up conversations, introduces himself, invites others to play with him and people don't bother to respond. He doesn't know what to make of it."

I said it all with a friendly smile, but really I think my point was pointy enough. I was pissed. She got flustered and started pretending an interest in him. Luckily, though, the third child, maybe a seven year old girl, noticed his sadness and came over to adopt him. She held his hand and slid down the slide with him a few times and waited for him to catch up as they roamed over the park together. The little boy turned his terrorizing back to his two year-old sister, who he pushed down, sat on, and made fun of some more. :/ :/

I'd thought, for a long time, that he was the socially awkward one because he isn't in daycare with all his peers. What we've recently discovered, watching him interact with kids his age, is that he's actually the one way ahead of the pack. He's so polite and interested and eager to please and the random kids he's running into just--aren't. A quiet, well-behaved 5-7 year old is about his speed. They so rarely realize it, though, and so there are so many missed opportunities.

Graeme is in love with board games. He's very good, learns the rules and patiently waits for his turn. I've challenged him with games for much older children and he still holds his own. The favorites though are Candy Land and the Cranium game Caraboo Island which he mastered pretty much immediately and is playing on the "Advanced" mode. He's brilliant. He's also damned lucky. I've honestly *never* beat him in a game. Ever. That's all luck of the draw/dice and I'm not letting him win. He does it all by himself. :)

Graeme's favorite toys and activities haven't changed a lot. He loves his Viewmaster, since I have a couple reels with animal pictures on it. (Wish I could find more.) He also adores flashcards, of any sort, and the opportunity to show off how much he knows. The dry erase board, with colored markers, is a big hit as is his box of Schleich animal figures. He's starting to really appreciate playing ball and isn't coloring/drawing/painting quite as much as he used to, though he still enjoys it. The library is one of his favorite places on the entire planet, where we read books together at a little wooden table and chairs. I'm trying to think what else. One of his best friends, of the inanimate variety, is a stuffed Magenta beanie plush from Blue's Clues. He loves to talk to her and for her or have me talk for her. ;) He's also carting around one of those Cabbage Patch werewolf-hybrid-crazy animal dolls that he spied across the room at a thrift store and cried frantically, "THAT'S FRANKIE!! THAT'S FRANKIE! FRANKIE!!". (Frankie had to come home with us. Being a twenty or thirty year old toy, I wonder if it was a past life thing? Either way, it was a bizarre, sweet encounter.)

Graeme has a new pair of shoes, since his feet have grown right out of the last pair. They're white with purple and silver highlights, he picked them himself, and he's so proud and in love with them. He calls them his "purple shoes" and spent at least two weeks approaching every person he could find to ask, "Do you like my new purple shoes?". ;)

Graeme-speech:
"Snake" still sounds like "Cake".
"That's a goob idea, isn't it, Mommy?"
*looking down at his diaper* "Who is pouring water in there?"
"I don't want to lay down! I want to lay up!"
windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (outdoorsy)
Yesterday morning, we drove over to the Palm Beach Zoo.

All the reasons I'm not too keen on zoos and maybe why I should change my thinking...under this cut. )

The place was unrecognizable. Small but delightful. Fewer animals occupied larger habitats, lushly planted with local trees and plants and laced with running water features. Daniel was telling me that they have become something of the great non-profit success story, having raised tens of millions of dollars for all the renovations they've made. As a zoo, it wasn't ideal, but obviously there were a lot of minds at work on behalf of the captive animals. It was shady and tropical, so pleasant to stroller around and take photos. Graeme was especially thrilled by their brochure map and used it to successfully navigate us to the parrots (priority #1), the kangaroos (priority #2), and the white alligator named Mardi.

Animals were separated into geographic areas. The South American section was themed as ancient Mayan ruins peeking out of the jungle. They had big stellae and pyramids. It was crazy and beautiful.

Oh! And along with wild white ibis and chickens running around, they also had free-range peacocks and peahens nesting in the trees and strutting around. Pretty magical at times.

Photos from the Zoo )
After the zoo, I dropped Daniel and Graeme off at home and stole about three hours by myself to thrift shop for clothes at the two biggest Goodwill stores in my area. (I rarely have the time to try on clothes with an unpatient toddler underfoot, so it had been a long time since I got that scavenger joy of flipping through the racks.) For about $60, I about doubled my wearable, "it fits!" wardrobe: two pairs of pants, a jacket, six or seven shirts, a black embroidered skirt, a cocktail dress. I am over-the-moon with my finds. The jacket, for instance, is a brand-new J.Jill in this cheerily spunky watermelon pink/peach color. It was $15 originally but was 50% that day *and* there was a dollar bill in the pocket when I got home. So, what's that? $6.50 for a quirkily brilliant coat. :D Hanging all these tropical-bright purchases in the closet next to a sea of blue-green, gray, and black, I could literally see the depression-fighting powers the Florida sunshine has offered. :) I'm like, a super-powered rainbow now. ;)

Graemeisms

Dec. 21st, 2009 04:59 pm
windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (Default)
A conversation over dinner:
Me: Graeme, if you could have any animal as a best friend, who would you pick?
Graeme: Elephant! Elephant's my best friend.
Me: What animal do you think is Mama's best friend?
Graeme: A tree!
Me: Well, that's sweet. Mama does like trees, you're right.
Graeme: Trees are nice friends. Windows are nice friends, too. An owl! An owl! Owls are nice friends, best friend.
~*~

Here's a couple shots from the first 300+ digital photos that Graeme took yesterday/today on his little toddler cam. :D The resolution is crap but the thing can take a beating. Eventually I'll teach him to use my camera.

Graeme's Cam:  Self-Portrait
Self-portrait.

Graeme's Cam:  Falling Stars in the Yule Tree
Falling Stars in the Yule Tree
windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (sleepy graeme)
200 Pairs of Pajamas for Charity

Last year, as a Valentine to my son, I collected and donated 200 new fuzzy pajama sets and about 100 uplifting books to the Pajama Program, a national charity that distributes new pajamas and books to children in foster care, homeless shelters, and other tough circumstances away from the love and comfort of a stable home at bedtime.

This year, I'll be in Florida for the winter and I've noticed that the Palm Beach County chapter of Pajama Program is holding a fundraising event on March 7th. My goal, even more of a moonshot than last year's, is to show up at the event with at least 500 pajama sets in honor of my husband and I's five year anniversary March 5th.

If I accomplish that, *I* could sleep better at night.

~*~

If you'd like to contribute new pajamas, children's books, or funds to my virtual pajama drive, I'd welcome your support. If you know of any shops having spectacular sales, free shipping, and/or great discounts, I'd love the info on them. Last year's 200 pajama donation wouldn't have been possible without some sharp-eyed shoppers on my friends list making those purchases within my means.
windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (Default)
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I'm most passionate about child-focused philanthropy. Any cause to protect, enrich, or support the life of a human during childhood is at my heart's core. The reason? Not only do I feel it my responsibility, as an adult, to care for those younger and more vulnerable than I am, but I also think childhood is the crucial period in creating a strong, healthy, unassailable sense of self. I believe that if we're raised with boundless love and encouragement and the safety of feeling that we have "enough" materially (enough to eat, warm enough clothes, enough extra to have a treat or two, enough to pursue our unique dreams) that we'll each have a strong core to weather temporary deprivations of those things when we're full grown.

If I had the power, every child would go to bed with a full stomach, every child would have their accomplishments applauded and praised, their skills and aptitudes explored, every child would be in the care of someone who loved them as fiercely and completely as I love my son, as the Goddess loves us, and every child would know the magic of unexpected gifts, travel, and the goodness of humanity.

What are you most passionate about in this life?
windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (Default)
Enough with the bad things, on to the good!

1. My aunt checked in at the hospital this morning and found he'd been released yesterday. I still haven't heard from him, but my brother did and the news was that his blood work showed an extremely high potassium level, potentially related to one of his heart medications, so they've adjusted that accordingly and are going to monitor to make sure it takes.

2. Graeme is the cutest boy on earth. He's talking up a storm now, working his way through the logic of sentences and complex thoughts, making every day interesting. Some of my favorite sayings of his:

"Hey, you guys!" (Addressing more than one person.)
"No, please." (His version of "No, thank you" when turning down something he doesn't want.)
"Book me!" (When wanting someone to read to him.)
"No, self!" (Along with an emphatic chest thump, this is his way of saying he is going to do something, like climb stairs or brush his teeth, by himself.)

His favorite new game is playing Animal Rescue. We have a box of Schleich animals and he'll take one and hide it under a blanket, balance it in fear at the top of a toy slide, or lay it down on the floor.

"Oh no! Baby cow need help!" he'll say, running up to us wide-eyed.

Daniel or I then sing a bastardized version of the Wonder Pets rescue song.

There's an animal in trouble!
There's an animal in trouble!
There's an animal in trouble somewhere.

Oh no! The baby cow is in trouble! Who will save her? Who can help her?
She's stuck! Under the blanket! She can't find her way out! It is tooooo dark! Who can help?


Graeme chooses a rescuing animal and then sends the animal to help. There is helping/taking to the doctor/waking up/encouraging to try something scary (like the slide) and then the two animals become friends, kiss, and do a happy dance together. This past week, Graeme has gotten the hang of putting voice to animal and some, like the lion or the ever-helpful crocodile, he lowers his voice dramatically for. ;) So cute. The animals he chooses to help are freaking-hilarious. Baby lamb pulled a full grown elephant out from under a chair. The sea turtle "swim-swim-swim-swim"'d around to teach the giraffe how to go down a slide. The crocodile and the great white shark help more often than anyone else and make great friends with all the little fuzzy woodland creatures they save. Slay me! :D

3. Being in Outer Temple has given me the boost I needed to go back and revamp my altar setup and tools. I've had a few tools over the years that weren't quite right or were easily replaceable and they're, slowly, changing for me. I found a new athame and pentacle in Salem this past month that resonate strongly with me as well as an antique bell at the thrift store that has three brass clappers and sounds perfect. I bought a pentacle pottery chalice from [livejournal.com profile] thoughtskill a few months ago that sung to me and slowly, surely, things are resettling into another energy pattern entirely. I have a few more needs to meet but feel really good about my toolkit now. In a lot of ways, it is my Mother kit--the Maiden stuff doesn't all fit me anymore...if that makes sense.

4. I'm slowly gearing up to create a pagan parenting website. I want it to have a lot of features like book reviews and recommendations, holiday sections, and crafty Craft ideas. I'll have to hire the design work and I'd like to hire some writers for things like childbirth articles/etc but I'm really cool with that. (Just have to start tucking pennies away for this little project.) I want to build something really approachable, helpful, bright, cheerful.

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windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (Default)
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December 2015

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