Nesting, Unschooling, Connection and Surviving the 3rd Trimester

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Below: Before, Above: After.  My home office is still a work in progress, but it’s certainly gone through a transformation!

It’s not nesting.

It’s planning ahead.

Okay, maybe it’s nesting, but to the woman in the throws of it, it just feels like whatchyer s’posed to do.  Time to make changes, be prepared, overhaul something, knock out a few walls wearing overalls and a bandana listening to 90s rock and binging on sparkling water.  Maybe not the last one -but you ladies get me.

I had an itch (a goll-darn itch) to make a major change to my home office and was seeing white, crisp and clean in my future.  In one day I emptied out all the junk from the room (which -as you can see- there was a significant amount) and bought paint.  My hubby selflessly took care of whitewashing the room, which was a 3 day project.  And, hey: I don’t care what that fancy can says, it ain’t happening in 1 coat of paint -covering up dark green with white.  But I can’t complain.  It still cost less than this here haircut with highlights I had done.

Today I put my office together with the bare bones of what I already had and am trying to patiently wait for necessity to dictate what needs to come in here.  Blinds, a bookshelf, and more plants (because you always need more plants) are on the list.  I am no minimalist and have a tendency to throw money at things without thinking it through, so battling those urges and trying to be wise about decor and purchases is… a challenge.  But I didn’t buy anything today, so: WINNING!

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Shhhhh…Unschooling in progress

Wilder and the neighbor boy were playing in the yard yesterday.  As my son enthusiastically regaled the 7 year old about nuclear science and black holes, the neighbor kid exclaimed,

“WOW!  For not going to school, you sure are SMART!”

I nearly cried laughing so hard.  And I have to say, I was impressed.  Impressed that another kid could tell that, yes, you don’t have to have traditional education to see the fruits of learning.  That learning comes from curiosity, not mandatory memorization.

We’re big fans of BrainPop -an online learning resource my sister has used for portions of homeschooling her kids.  We started off two years ago with BrainPop Jr. but Wilder had bigger questions and larger interests than were covered so we upgraded to the big kid version.  Wilder and Waverley have learning time in the morning.  They select what interests them and can explore and ask questions.  Sometimes is PBSkids.org, sometimes is good old fashioned coloring, sometimes is graphic design.  And sometimes?  It’s just running around outside where natural learning happens naturally.

As an adult, what does learning look like to you?

For me, it’s looking up the answer to questions or how-to’s on the internet.  Or grabbing a book from the library.  Or reaching out to an expert.  That’s how I learned what now garners 80% of our family’s annual income.  My college degree?  Well, I can use it as kindling in a pinch.  I like to believe what others say, that college makes you more well-rounded, exposed to things you wouldn’t have normally learned about.

So does cable television.  But it doesn’t mean it’s making you any smarter.  Just poorer.

Learning for kids is no different from learning as adults.  They soak up things -and it sticks- when they are interested in them and they see the value in learning about it.

Wilder is currently obsessed with the the atomic theory, space phenomenons, Adolf (whom he likes to refer to as “Alfred”) Hitler and why he wanted to take over the world.  I may not think these are useful (or interesting after the 1000 time hearing about them) topics for a nearly 9 year old, but I’m not Wilder.  And they’re valuable to him -and he’s learning how to learn and curious about being curious, which is far more than I can say for many kids his age.

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Tennyson’s preferred method of beverage consumption.  The Snuggle Method.

Our Sunshine Baby (Tennyson) turns two next week.  He’s been the most cuddly, happy child we’ve been blessed with and recently Becoming Two has presented itself in all its independence and attitude.  Still, in the throws of figuring it all out, he continues to be a sweetheart.

I love how whenever he has a full sippy cup, he finds a fuzzy blanket and a pillow or stuffed animal and lays down to cuddle them.  It doesn’t matter where he is in the house, this is how ya drank soy milk, folks.  And another side note, high fives to Silk for fortifying your unsweetened organic soy milk with vitamin B12!

Tennyson is picking up a few phrases.  In his new-found attitude, he’s latched on to a regrettable saying he heard from Wilder a few times in fits of frustration, “dumb baby!”  (which Wilder was quickly corrected on.) But now whenever Tennyson doesn’t like what’s happening, he says with great feeling, “No!  Dumb.  Baby!”  He’ll say it about anything, to anyone.  It’s sad and funny at the same time.  And occasionally maddening.  But mostly funny.  On a much sweeter note, he can be heard saying repeatedly, “Ooooooh, boy.” And also replies to questions with, “Alright.”  And he has a special bond with anything soft and furry.  All animals -stuffed or alive- get an adoring “aaaaaawwwwh” from him and an immediate attempt to cuddle.

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Park date with m’lady.

I don’t believe anyone in the history of the world has ever had a slow Fall.  When September arrives it’s a deluge of events until the week after New Years.

Recently I had to work out of town for several days, so when I came home I was very intentional about connecting with my babies.  Waverley and I had a day filled with special time.  Art, treats, outings, but mainly just time together.  She –WE– loved it.  And I learned quite a bit from it.  The biggest lesson being that my girl needs more of that kind of special time.  Mamas, isn’t it easy to get wrapped up in just trying to survive a schedule or get through the “important” tasks in life?  I know it is for me -so darn easy.  I forget that my kids need regular individual quality time with me.  And I know it doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment or cost any money -it just needs to foster genuine connection.  It’s how any relationship is built. It’s how we learn from each other.  It’s how we grow and are healthy inside and out.

When Waverley thanked me multiple times that day and then multiple times the day after for having special time with her, I wanted to cry.  The extra effort it took to carve out that time together was rather minimal; it was about my intention and attention -and that’s all she cares about.  I want to make sure I do the best I can to provide more connection time with all of my kids.  Because connection –love– is all that this life is really about.  It’s our gold, as Alfred Lord Tennyson said.

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Three blondies playing.

We’ll see how this goes, but as I started purging my office for the redesign, various sections of the house got rearranged, as well.  Like the playroom.  As most parents know, the family room -or wherever is the household hub- becomes populated with toys.  Heck, the whole HOUSE becomes one big toy room.  You have kids, it’s a take over situation.

Well, not this time!  (We’ll see how long it lasts…)  All the toys got moved from the living room upstairs to the playroom where -amazingly enough- the kids now like to play.  It does mean we grown ups have to spend a significant amount of time sitting up there with them because our babies love having us around while they play, even if we’re not directly interacting.  And isn’t that kind of funny?  Thinking back on my childhood, I totally get it.  It’s just nice to be around each other.  So we’re doing more of that.  And I’m liking it.

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Playing where he entered the world.  Hooray for Home Births!

Let’s talk about the elephant in the womb.  I mean, let’s talk about pregnancy in the third trimester.

Starting at 33 weeks, things began to get real.  Real uncomfortable.  Switching sides in bed (traveling from your left side to your right) became a monumental task.  Socks and shoes laugh at me as I vainly attempt to reach down and grab my feet.  Sitting requires extra lumbar support.  And girls?  Just forget about shaving your nether regions.  Pay the lady and opt for waxing, or go au naturel.  It’s danged impossible to see down there.

I begin getting antsy and impatient with these last weeks.  It’s like waiting to hear back about a killer job you interviewed for and you know they’re having to fill it in the near future, but don’t know quite when… ummaGASH the suspense is murder!  So you distract yourself -because when you don’t, you keep thinking about it and thinking about it.

There’s plenty to do here, yet I still struggle with, “are you arriving soon?”

I dilate early; my baby’s love to hang out super low -forever.  The afternoon before I had Tennyson I had a prenatal appointment with my midwife.  I was walking around, running errands and doing everything normal while dilated 5 cm and super effaced.  And before that I was 3 cm dilated for weeks.  I have no impending signs, just a slow blossom.

Even though I’m only 35 weeks pregnant today, I have to keep reminding myself that this baby’s not coming out any time soon.  Because soon to me means in an hour, not five weeks.

In the meantime…. LET’S REDECORATE! (insert crazy face emoji.)

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