Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Modeling and Kindness - a post by Amber Stippy

I really liked this post by Amber Stippy on the Radical Unschooling Facebook group. It was posted on October 18th. I wrote to her to ask if I could share it because it was such a great example of modeling and kindness!! It's a perfect example of why how we treat our kids and others is so important. Read on...feel the karma!

"Two weeks ago, I had to cancel a lunch date with my daughter. We're buying a house and the bank asked for a document. Then they asked for another and another. It took over an hour of searching, scanning, emailing, and feedback to get everything done. During this time my daughter slid me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She didn't say anything, didn't get any recognition, she just quietly put it on the desk and left. Later I come down and apologized for missing lunch and thanked her for the sandwich. Her reply was "I know what it's like to be very hungry and not be able to stop". 

How does she know that? Because at 2, she was coloring so intensely that she didn't stop and I brought her cheerios. At 5 she was studying leaves and couldn't take a break and I brought her apples. Now at 8, she's so into Penguin Club that she doesn't take a break and I bring her that same peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 

It doesn't matter if it's coloring, being outside, play video games or getting documents for a mortgage. It is all equally as important from the perspective the activity is being done from. 

Has she learned mindfulness with me bringing her food? I'd say so. She was very mindful of my needs at the time. 

When I went into the kitchen, the peanut butter, jelly, and bread were all left out and open. She was in such a hurry to take care of me, everything else was second on her mind. According to the statement above, I should make her mindful of the food that was about to get stale. I didn't. I cleaned it up. Why? Because one day, I'll leave the bread out and her reaction will be "oh no, the bread is about the get stale, let me take care of that". And she will. Isn't kindness the best lesson?" - Amber Stippy

Friday, August 8, 2014

If you knew everything in the world...

This afternoon Li (age 13) was talking about how he likes games to be challenging.

He said, "If you knew everything in the world, life wouldn't be as fun because you wouldn't learn anything."

Guess he likes to learn and enjoys a challenge!  I agree - it does keep things interesting!


If you could be anything....

This evening, I asked Makana (9 years old) if she could be ANYTHING in the world, what would she be.

She said "That's a hard question"  She thought a few seconds and stated, "Happy."  Then thoughtfully added, "Loved and appreciated.  Appreciated.  Because that makes me happy."

Wow.  Like!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Popcorn popped from nuking a dried corn cob!

We went to Beth's Farm Market and bought a dried corncob.  Instructions said to place it in a paper bag and nuke it for 2 minutes - 4 minutes.  Man, that was cool!!!  Yummmmm!!!  I bit off the remaining popped corn right off the cob!  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Great Day Connecting with Family and Friends

This morning Katie and I met Ruby, Roxanne and Larry Gauchman at the Bagel Cafe. We hadn't seen them in maybe three years and it was So nice to see them and talk to them! They were on their way back from Bar Harbor, so passing right through Camden. Both Ruby and Roxanne are doing what they love to do, one involved with dance and the other fashion design. One taking pre-college courses and the other a junior in college and starting an internship on Monday. Both were unschooled and still living spectacular lives. Katie left to go to work and the rest of us chatted more, especially about how some instructor's treat students and veganism. I loved talking about making and eating vegan foods as Ruby eats vegan like Li.

When I went home, Makana had made me a turkey sandwich!  I "gobbled" that down (I only had tea at the Cafe as sometimes I feel an allergic response to their bagels sometimes) and we finished packing to go to the beach.  I made Jim and Makana bagels with horseradish bacon cream cheese like they asked.

Li couldn't find any food he wanted to bring, so I offered for us to stop at Hannaford.  We needed gas too, so Jim dropped us off and got gas while we picked up food. Kanoa asked me to get some things too - like Kit Kats or Twix and a free cookie and chicken nuggets!  I told him I couldn't get the chicken nuggets, but I'd pick up some things for him there that he'd like.  I bought Kanoa a long baguette, Kit Kats and a free cookie.  Li chose a 2 coconut blueberry and 1 raspberry yogurts, organic lollipops and a bag of sea salted potato chips (he had already packed his favorite ketchup as he knew he wanted chips and Loves to eat them with ketchup).  I chose a pint of Haagan Daz and a cocount raspberry yogurt (which was still cheaper than the cost of one ice cream out....I don't eat ice cream out because generally there is a chance of peanuts or other things I'm allergic to getting on the ice cream spoon and it is not worth it to me to take a chance - and I wanted something filling and heck, I don't normally eat I felt like I would that day - and I so did enJoy it!).

Oh!  When I was checking out at Hannaford, I overheard the checkout lady say to the current customer that her son said that she was going to be teaching people smarter than her.  The customer said something and then the checkout lady said something to the effect that "you can't really teach people, you can only guide them."  I smiled to myself (yes!  Another person who gets that!) and commented to her about learning vs teaching when I was checking out!  She and the former customer had gotten a kick out of the way the items were arranged by who wanted them.

Some of us snacked a bit while we drove to the beach.  Michelle and Charles were walking up to the bathrooms as we got there!  Charles showed us where they were sitting as the beach was crowded.

We had such a nice time!!  Chatting, kids all playing in the water (which I heard was quite cold!) - this is the first summer ever that Kanoa is down by the water without us right next to him - though one or both of us always keep a good eye on him as he can't swim yet and he does go right up to his neck.  It's nice to be able to sit on the beach (as long as we aren't too far away) and feel comfortable with him playing in the water.  He is almost always with the other kids.

Kanoa asked me to come play with him in the water.  I did!  And it was So fun!!!  It wasn't so cold after all (only when you got out until you dried off).  We rode waves on the boogie board (one of the first times he's ever done this and it was so fun - waves small and perfect for him), and we jumped over them and splashed (he likes to play splash games...not my thing, but I do it because he likes it so much).  Some of the others rode waves in with us too for a while.  We'd say we were waiting for Mr. Biggie to come....and then when what we felt was a big enough wave, we'd try to ride it in.  :)

We then found a bunch of hermit crabs and snails in periwinkle shells and dug out a little pool for them on the beach where the tide would find them when it came back in.  Li thinks the creatures should be left in the sea, so he doesn't do this with us, but doesn't get upset over it either.  Charles said he found "hermit crab city" and would pass the hermit crab shells to Makana who'd put them in her goggles that lay on the boogie board.  They were a good team!  Then I'd take the crabs from her and give them to Kanoa or walk them up to the pool myself.  We found some Big ones!  Cool!!

Michelle left to go pick up Jewel, start dinner and go to work. Charles was able to stay and keep playing. We'd drop him off on our way home later.

Jim and the older kids played baseball, making bases with Charle's horseshoes.  What fun they had running all over the place!

While they were playing baseball, Kanoa and I explored the side of the beach with rocks and tide pools and tried to make a dam to stop the water that was running from the woods to the ocean. We climbed rocks noticing that sandy feet made a layer of protection on our soles, which helped them to feel better when we walked on the rocks.  Kanoa said that aloud, but I had noticed it too - the sand did help, until it wore off. But then you could just step back in the sand again.

Kanoa also liked finding little baby crabs and climbing on higher rocks to see how far he could throw.  He threw one rock and it broke when it hit the rocks on the ground.  He also found a medium sized rock that he could break with his hands.  I tried breaking it too as it was fun to be able to break it with our hands. It seemed like it was almost waterlogged (though no water came out of it and it wasn't wet) and kind of soft as it broke.  Yet the rock was hard as you held it.  Wonder what kind of rock that was?  Was it rock for sure? Or something that resembled a rock and felt as hard as one?

Was trying to search for what kind of rock this could be got off of topic and bit and found this neat site:   explored his blog a little (wish he wrote more!)
Pictures of hermit crabs up close:

Running around playing baseball made everyone so sweaty and tired that back into the water the kids went!  Jim said he was just about to tell them he needed to rest when they told him they couldn't play anymore as they were too tired!  Charles, who had changed into shorts, went right in the ocean wearing them as the changing rooms were closed by this time.  It was nearing 7pm!  Jim got to chill in his chair for a bit and that is where he was when Kanoa and I got back from the rocky section of the beach.  Two hours had zipped by!  I couldn't believe it!

You could notice a change in the sky....getting dimmer.  The kids had their boogie boards and were still having a blast in the water.

Kanoa, after being told to STOP throwing sand again (sigh...), became interested in the large hole the Charles had dug which was right in front of our spot.  I brought him a sand pail and some sand molds that someone had left on the beach and after I made a few with him, he began to hide one of the molds and ask either Jim or I to pick which of two places under the sand it was.  He tricked us so many times ;).  (He so loves to trick people.)

The kids came out of the water and began playing in the hole too.  Kanoa wasn't too keen on this, now thinking the hole was "his."  He was there for a long while all by himself before they came.  I explained that Charles had dug it originally and we could find or make another big hole for him if he wanted.  He walked to a semi-dug out spot nearby for a bit, seeming to want to have a little space.  I'm not sure if I said the right thing or not, but that is what I said and how I felt in the moment.  Maybe the other kids would have given him a few more minutes alone if I had thought to ask, or even let him keep playing there alone.  But I didn't think of that.  I could have even dug them a new hole or dug a new one with them.  But I felt like it was Charles' hole and in the moment I went with that.  If Kanoa had dug the hole originally, he'd want to come to play in it later too and feel like it was still his, even if he played in the water for much of the day.  So that is why I felt it was Charles' hole and he could certainly play in it and that if Kanoa didn't like that, I'd help Kanoa find another place to play.  (wow...long thought process)

Charles got buried up to his shoulders and they all kept having fun.  The beach had only a handful of people on it by this time.

At one point, Kanoa was running up toward the showers and I told Jim maybe this would be a good time to head out!  I grabbed my chair and a towel and ran to catch up with Kanoa.  We rinsed off, dropped off Charles, and headed home.  What a great beach day!  

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

"Punishing" under the guise of "Natural Consequences" - Instead, try kindness and compassion!

I usually LOVE what is on the Mother List.  It's one of my new favorite places to watch clips about tender moments in life, acts of kindness, etc.  Well, this clip pissed me off.  It was supposed to be about teaching natural consequences.  However, it was punishment.  I wrote a comment back just now.  It's still awaiting moderation. I can post my thoughts here now though.  So I will!
(I'd like to call the video: "Natural Consequences: A Horrible Teaching Device!"


What was described IS punishment, not natural consequences.  And it is a mean and unsafe thing to do to your child.  Or anyone!  Imagine if that child falls down and gets hurt because the parent tried to teach their child a lesson by taking out the lightbulb.  Ugh....  How about if a husband or wife thought their spouse left too many lights on?  Would taking out the bulb be even something a person would think of?  Of course not!  People (of all ages) sometimes forget.  So remind them.  Talk to them about why it is important to you to do xyz.  If they forget again, flip the switch off yourself.  How big of a deal is that to do?  They'll grow  Help them out for now and trust that they are doing their best.  And in the meantime, model how you want them to be and do the things you would like them to do (you remember to turn off the lights for example).

Natural consequences are more like a child being cold because she forgot her jacket.  If a person isn't able to borrow something to get warm, yes, that would be a natural consequence.

However, natural consequences don't have to be set up in order to happen and shouldn't be used to "teach a lesson."  There will be plenty of lessons learned without trying.

If mom/dad was going along with a child who didn't bring a jacket, one of the parents could put one in the back of the car just in case.  Why?  Because mom/dad thinks ahead and feels it would be a nice thing to do in case their child gets cold.  It is not a kind lesson to purposely let your kid suffer because you told them to bring a jacket and they forgot or truly believed they didn't need one.  Some kids run warmer than others and really feel comfortable in cooler weather.  Others are still figuring out when they need one and when they don't.  Plus temperatures can change fast or the place you go to visit may be warmer or cooler than expected.

Forget trying to "teach your kid a lesson" (under the guise of natural consequences or any other trendy words).  Be kind.  Because kindness begets kindness.  Now that is a lesson they can give back to others and it will be appreciated!  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Kanoa says the funniest things...

This afternoon we drove downtown to do some errands.  We waited in the car while Li went into the library to return old books and videos and pick up what was waiting for us.  Kanoa was waiting to go to French and Brawn, a mom and pop type grocery store, to get a big cookie.  He brought along the change he found on a wooden toy ship that he had dumped there weeks ago.  On our way, we went into The Village Shop so I could buy some licorice jelly beans for our family friend Jene (who is like a Grandmother to us all).  I knew Kanoa would remember that place and had probably forgotten about it since we had not been there for a long time.  He picked out a lollipop, Twix bar, and two packs of bubblegum.  He was SO happy!  He chatted enthusiastically the whole time.  

Makana was deciding what to buy with the money she had and was talking with the store owner.  As the store owner came around from the counter by the kids, Kanoa looked up at her and said, "Can I please tell you something?"  The lady said, "Sure."  Kanoa said, "I like this store even better than French and Brawn."  I think she liked what he said.  

Then when we got to French and Brawn, we saw one of the familiar cashiers and the first thing Kanoa did was to go up to her and tell her that he found a place he likes "even better than this place."  Li and Makana were embarrassed that he said that.  I told them that he didn't know any better yet.  He's only 5.  He was being honest and I didn't think she would mind as she wasn't the owner and knows how much he loves sweeties.  I did briefly mention to him that it is better to not tell people who work there that you like another place better.  I bought chicken and we walked back to the car.  As Kanoa was getting in he said to me, "I'm a lucky man."

I posted this picture with a review for our washing machine that we purchased several months ago.  I love it!  It's quiet, does large loads, spins things so nice and dry and gets the clothes clean just fine.  The biggest plus is that it is much quieter than our old one and that is important because Jim is sensitive to noise and the washer is located near the kitchen where we often congregate.

Kanoa and I played Sorry this morning.  He likes winning and getting the Sorry cards and cards that let him move a higher number of spaces.  The game went for a long time and he asked me to go for him for a while, so I did.  I noticed that he played for a longer time than he used to and took only one card (most of the time).
I made sure the winner was Kanoa because I knew how much it meant to him.  

Kanoa has started to sit near Makana when she plays on the computer.  Sometimes they watch a show or he might watch her as she skypes and plays.

Once or twice over the past month, I set up Kanoa on the computer that Makana normally uses because I needed to use the one he usually uses.  He must have liked that A LOT because he now likes to go on hers.  I can tell he feels like this is a "big" thing to do by the way he sits at her desk.  This photo did not capture it, but I have that special look he gets in my mind.   

Well....I did capture it in one blurry photo I snapped before he realized I was taking pictures and began to make funny faces.  Sitting so tall and proud...he's doing important things here....and sitting where big sister sits.  Big stuff. other big thing....he's starting to use the potty!  He started occasionally using the potty to pee.  Just sometimes.  Then recently he started to sit on it before bed.  He's still only done this like 5 times or so.  This afternoon he said he needed privacy and started to move things to make a private space in the room I was sitting in.  Hmmm.  I asked, "Do you need to poop?"  Yes, he did.  I asked him if he wanted to sit on the potty.  He said yes, but we'd have to run - he had to go right now!  So we ran upstairs and he pooped.  He asked me to shut the bathroom door and I pushed it with my hand from the spot on the floor where I was sitting.  Suddenly Kanoa got off of the potty.  Why?  To shut the door all the way.  Oh...I hadn't realized that he wanted it shut All the way.  When he was about to get back on the toilet seat he noticed his poop.  "Wow!"  he shouted!  "It looks like a beehive!"  I laughed.  Omg..a beehive.  I had to get up to look.  Well, did look like a beehive.  We've been talking a lot about bees lately.  Big topic of conversation as Makana is nervous about bees.  The beehive sunk lower in the toilet.  He saw it sink.  He got on and finished up.  But not before giving me Makana's ipod in case we wanted to take pictures (he loves silly selfie's). Now why would I want to take pictures there?  Well, I did.  Selfie's, silly selfies, and one picture of Kanoa using the potty so we can remember this time.  My last kid using the potty.  Well....even this "last" thing can make me feel bittersweet.  But rather than dwell on the many "lasts" he'll be doing, there are many firsts and new things he'll get to try and that will be exciting.  

Just as I was typing this, Kanoa came over and whispered in my ear, "Mommy, tell me when I get to be an adult."  I said okay and then I explained how he is getting a little older and older each day.  I still don't know why he was contemplating that, but that is what he was thinking about at that moment.  He can shift from one topic to another so fast.  Right now it is all about bubblegum.