The beginning of Fall is upon us!
Every day feels just a little bit more chilly and crisp.
Our slippers are finding their way to our feet..
Long sleeves are a must in the morning hours, only to be thrown to the side in sunny, warm park later on.
How long will this Indian summer last?
I again hear the ice cream truck lull down the street with its tinkly music and false promise of Summer...
The Fall has brought us several new playgarden children and room for just one more. It has also brought me a new assistant, Ms. Suzanne. I began searching for an assistant a few weeks ago and interviewed several. I was looking for someone loving and warm, someone who knew (or has the capacity to learn) how to stand back and let the children be. This isn't easy for most adults. The urge to explain, give choices, present, teach, and fill in silence is very much there for most people. I was looking for someone who didn't want to be the center of attention.
Ms. Suzanne is a great fit and the children already love her. She's with us for 2 hours each day-- from the the time we're outside at the park (1 hour) to when we come home for handwashing, a simple story, and lunch. These are the transitions that have proven to be most fragile for us, so it's wonderful to have another set of hands, ears, and eyes to guide us along in our day.
I feel that the relationship between a lead teacher and an assistant is akin to a very personal dance....the timing has to be right, or you're stepping all over each others feet. We're learning..and it's going very well! She's an experienced mother to 4 grown children with a good amount of valuable advice for me...but what's most important-- she's with us because she loves children. I can see it all over her face:)
The past 2 or 3 weeks have been rather painful for me, I am somewhat sorry to say. W has been going through some kind of change where he has become increasingly loud, territorial, and disruptive to his/our day. Attention seeking behaviors, such as yelling while at the table, stamping his feet, running around like a mad man during circle (and urging others to do so, as well), have been making me tick like a bomb waiting to go off. By the end of the afternoon when our 2 hour rest period has rolled around, I'm pretty much spent. Upstairs I go to nurse W and settle him in for a nap. Only, I don't want to be touched or have him nurse. He's looking for that reconnection, but I'm so not there. I'm somewhere else--- wanting to go downstairs and finish the dishes on my own, wanting to read a little bit, wanting to tidy everything up from the day...really, just wanting to be on my own for a bit.
Weaning has been on our horizon for some time now (at 37 months), but it seems like each time I start to consider it more, the more he wants to have it. Even just for 5 seconds. It doesn't matter- he just wants me to say yes...probably because I've been such a say "no" or "please don't do that" mama for the past 3 weeks. Ah, ok. Now I see. How helpful it is for me to have this space to reflect and come too these realizations:)
awesome hollow blocks from community playthings
Our own children are fantastic at pushing our buttons. When the playgarden children are sometimes defiant towards me (as a 3 or 4 year old usually is), I barely bat an eyelash. I see these behaviors as developmental and most likely a need for something....to affirm that I am in charge, attention, etc. But my own child really does get me going. Screaming during our reverent candle time really irks me because it is such a special moment for all of us. Ignoring his behaviors is a difficult option because I don't want the other children to experience this kind of disruptive noise...I see them cover their ears and it makes me so sad. And angry towards W. Sometimes I wish that he could spend just one day at his grandmother's house during playgarden so I could see what it's like without him...how different the day would be. But-- he is very much a part of our group. I have to figure out what is truly unacceptable behavior and what is just making me annoyed or upset. I believe there is a difference. It's one of those things a Waldorf teacher has to learn to do-- to remove her own emotions, hang ups, triggers, and just be neutral. It's really hard.
But just like everything, it's a work in progress. And I'm willing to do the work. I'm just feeling exhausted and stretched thin in the patience-for-my-own-child department lately.
The weekends and weekdays where we don't hold playgarden are different for W and I, relationship wise. We have the opportunity to play together, to be outside all day, and to be one on one. I do believe that this is what he is missing most during playgarden. I purposely make no plans for the evening (friends stopping by, somewhere to go, etc.) on days where the playgarden children are here. It's important that we have the evening together as a family uninterrupted. Really, this can be said for any young child who has had a nursery experience on a given day. To be home again is a feeling of security and normalcy, especially in these first few weeks of "school starting". Our home has to be just a home after 4pm. We need that time something fierce.
Well, so much for this being a post about our coloring day:)
In short, each Friday serves as our time to do some crayoning together with beeswax stick and block crayons....
We use over sized paper for this and the children spend a good amount of time engaged in this artistic activity. When they are done, the bring their work to me and I write their initials on the paper while saying their name:) I then roll it up and tie it with a piece of green yarn (green being the color of the day)
I do this extra slowly, as they love to watch the process.
The next few weeks bring much to look forward to- apple picking, a Celtic celebration in our community, and Michaelmas....the opportune time for me to face the dragons which have been so full of fire in my life at this time...