We woke this morning with warm sun on our windowsill. It is nearly 15 degrees with a fresh wind. After an overwhelming day yesterday I buckled down and cleaned each area of our house so we woke to a tidy start. The chickens are out, the laundry is folded and the kids are doing yoga. I have connected with a local Waldorf homeschooler and two local homeschooling groups which is awe-mazing. We are organizing a wee get together/playdate with the Lindsay Homeschoolers next week.
The sun and warmth have renewed us all, but some questions and concerns are still swimming in my head from yesterday. You see, yesterday took me to my edge. I bundled up the kids to play in the snow and sun and visit the chickens. Poppy was great; feeding, petting, and talking away to the chickens, climbing snowbanks, eating snow. I followed them and tried to be mindful, but Silas went up and down the scale of whiny and clingy to insane and screaming. Poppy was/is never like this. She is the most easygoing child who flits like a butterfly from one activity to the next almost seamlessly.
They are nearly perfect opposites. He eats the quiche filling, she eats the crust. She eats the meat, he eats the veggies. He likes routine and a set schedule, she fights it tooth and nail. He is particular about more too. He can’t stand a sock that is beginning to come off and prefers to go pantless. If we stay up a little later than usual he will sometimes look at us and say “bed” in a very determined voice and then head up the stairs to the bedroom. He also shows signs of being organized. He hides his cup on the windowsill and goes over to get a drink and then puts it right back. He always seems to know where things are when one of us asks and takes us to it or will just show up with it as we frantically search. Poppy does none of these things as her strengths lie in other areas.
Yesterday was jsut one of those days in which I felt pulled in two directions and I may have broke open a little.
I finally brought them back inside and sat snuggling on the couch because it seems to be the only thing that settles this boy of mine. Then suddenly it hit me. I know I feel insane when everything is discombobulated and I wonder if his tantrums and clingy tendencies are due to the lack of flow and organization to our days and home. Is he suffering like I am without the vocabulary or ability to articulate it? I think he is; my gut tells me it is so.
So I revisit Waldorf. I am drawn to the warmth and simplicity of Waldorf education. I think he (and she) would benefit from knowing what to expect.
Components of a Good Day
Waking to a tidy house – This is huge. If I wake up to a mess I can only see and think about the mess. It starts us off on the wrong foot. I need to make it a priority to take an hour to clean the house each night. If I can dedicate myself to doing this, the rest of our day falls into place. It really is that simple.
Shower – I notice my mood coincides with how scummy I feel.
Exercise/Yoga – This rarely happens, but I need to make it a priority for so many reasons.
Getting a few main goals accomplished – I love crossing stuff off my list.
All of these things help me be a better wife and mama. I just have to remind myself of that when I don’t feel like doing any of it.
What I Would Like to Incorporate Into Our Days
Morning + Night Bags – Bags or baskets filled with outfits, socks, diapers/underwear. One for morning and one for after their nightly bath with jammies, and a favourite book or two for bedtime. It would need to be hung somewhere so that the kids couldn’t rip them apart
A schedule – Not so much led by time, but having the main activities in the same order.
A nature table – I have no idea how this is done with such young children as my kids will always tear it apart and spread it from one end of the house to the other. If I have it out of reach, but show them they beg for bits of it to carry around and lose.
More signing, dancing and instruments – shakers, rattles, tambourines and more kids songs
A weekly meal plan – a plan for all meals and snacks for the week along with many raw ingredients for baking and inspiration
A lesson plan of sorts – a loose pool of plans and activities to draw from when I don’t know what to do (I have a number of brilliant ideas pinned on Pinterest)
A binder – containing all of our plans, ideas, recipes, crafts, songs, meals, etc.
My Ideal Daily Rhythm
Wake, dress, makes beds
Go downstairs to a clean kitchen and make breakfast
Wash hands, change diapers, brush hair, brush teeth
Freeplay while I tidy kitchen: wipe tables + counters, sweep, do dishes
Prepare a snack tray for the day with the kids helping (a muffin tin filled with fruit, cheese, dried fruit, hummus, crackers, veggies, sprouts etc)
30 minutes kids yoga or mama yoga with the kids
Snack (muffin tray)
Begin making lunch (our current favourite is hummus, tzatiziki, homemade pitas, sprouts, veggies)
Tidy kitchen and do dishes
Outdoor time (garden, sand + water, check chickens, walk, free play)
Snack (muffin tray)
Quiet time – read, sesame street, nap.
Silas naps (he tends to take late naps) – messy or more involved craft or activity with Poppy
Freeplay or simple drawing, paper cutting while I start getting supper ready
Mike home – sets table with the kids’ help
Meal blessing + Eat (it is only really do-able to do a meal blessing at the evening meals right now)
Clear table – kids bring their dishes to sink and wash their dishes if interested.
Bath and jammies
Daddy quality time and stories while I tidy the house with the kids helping at times
Snack – fruit + yogurt
Bed – Story and lights out
Free time for Mike and I – workout, blog, movie, read, play a game, etc.
I can’t seem to some up with a weekly rhythm since we don’t get the car on a regular basis. I would like to have one day per week to go Lindsay or locally for a meet up with other children (Early Years and meeting with friends and or Homeschoolers).
I have come up with the weekly cleaning schedule which is helpful, but I have yet to follow it. It will be brilliant when I do finally do it.
I think I need to plan out 5 to 10 activities or crafts to fit into those slots of our days and have the supplies on hand so we can do whatever fits the day and moods.
I love the idea of seeking out one colour per week and gathering them in one space (like a nature table)
I have read many (if not all) of the Waldorf books, but find they are lacking in the practical stuff especially for children 3 and under.
My Questions to You
What are your favourite Waldorf inspired rituals? Be specific.
What does your daily rhythm looks like?
What are your favourite activities/crafts/lessons?
Any tips for keeping your own self discipline in check?
How do you incorporate the nature table into your life?
What is your go-to book or resource for “curriculum” and/or practical tips?
What are your favourite, simple, healthy meals?
What Waldorf toys do you find get the most use?
I would love to simplify even further, how many books and toys do you have available at one time?
Now we’re off to enjoy the sun and warmth. I hope it is just as lovely in your part of the world.