Have you followed my article series “Two under two”? It’s awfully quiet in that department at the moment, isn’t it?
Yes, it is. And you know why? Because our toddler is two years old now – and we simply don’t have two kids under two any more. However, life is pretty busy and loads of fun with a toddler and baby, even though they grow up.
So don’t worry, I will keep you posted about our family life, our kids who are growing up right before our very eyes and about learning processes, child development, milestones and changes.
So what actually has changed the past few months?
I’d say it’s gotten easier, more peaceful, calmer. I mean, it’s not really calm around here with the little ones playing, learning and working. But I guess we have grown into all this. We have grown into our noisy and chaotic family life – and it really is a lot of fun.
We’re looking forward to future milestones! How are you doing?
The past week has been HOT. So we’ve more than relieved that this weekend has been much milder. Finally we were able to spend some time outside and to enjoy summer and nature.
Our toddler loved to check out all those different tiny flowers at the playground…
… and she also enjoyed climbing on those fantastic monkey bars! Who can blame her?
In our family we all enjoy being barefoot and since that is something we can only do for a short period of time due to our climate being barefoot made this weekend extra-special for all of us!
I love those lights and shadows – and can you spot father and toddler?
I love my baby’s concentration, she could play with her baby sling for hours and hours! Well, not all the time of course…
If you’re already a regular reader of Living a Catholic Fairy Tale you will most definitely know that in our family we love to bake and to cook. So this weekend we had pancakes…
… and cherry cake.
The end of the weekend:
How was your weekend?
I’ve always been an idealist. I’ve always been called a do-gooder and a goody two-shoes. And you know what? I agree.
I think being idealistic is a wonderful virtue. And I think there is a dramatic lack of idealism in our society. Being idealistic doesn’t mean to be naive. I know my ideals will never come true – but that doesn’t stop me from striving for them.
The way is the goal – remember?
When I first became a mother people laughed at me because of my idealistic parenting values. But I still stick to them. I know I will never be a perfect mother, or a perfect wife or a perfect Catholic – that’s not the point. The point is that I’m confident that I will learn and grow so much along the way that I will benefit from that. More than that: Others will benefit from my ideals, too.
I am pretty confident that my children will not only benefit but also learn from my idealism. I strive to teach them that it’s a good thing to treat others well, to act responsibly, to be eco-conscious and to honor God. I want to teach them that it is worth striving for ideals.
How do you feel about idealism?
I think most of us have heard about unschooling. In case you haven’t: Unschooling is a certain concept of homeschooling that focuses on natural or life learning. Unschooled children are allowed to learn self-determined and self-regulated. That sounds interesting, right?
But what does that mean in practice?
And more importantly for a family with very young children: When and how does unschooling start?
Unschooling starts when your child is born, maybe even before he is born. Natural learning just happens because your child is eager to learn. Children are never not learning. And they do learn a lot, don’t they?
In his first years a child learns to sit, to walk, to speak and to do so many other things – without really being taught. You don’t teach your child how to walk, learning to walk is a natural learning process. Unschoolers think that basically everything you learn can be learned in such a natural learning process. Children have their own learning goals – and they pursue them. If we let them.
Children are intrinsically motivated to explore the world and to learn so many things – basically everything they really need to. We as parents, however, have to learn to trust them in what they are doing. That’s what unschooling is all about.
You don’t really start unschooling. Unschooling is a process that comes naturally as soon as your child is born – maybe even before birth. The question is if you stop that natural learning process one day to school your child – or not.
There are different unschooling approaches. Some parents do use classical learning materials in a sort of “prepared environment”. That means they hardly regulate their children’s learning processes, but they do offer learning materials and a prepared learning environment in order to take stock of their children’s state of knowledge. And sometimes they even seek to inspire their children to deal with domains they don’t love too much.
Radical unschooling, however, doesn’t instruct or regulate at all. There is no prepared environment or school materials unless the children utterly demand them.
How do you feel about unschooling?
Since 2012 there is a huge controversy regarding Attachment Parenting (AP) in the English speaking part of the world which was caused by a cover picture on Time magazine that showed a Mom breastfeeding her almost 4-year-old child.
But what is AP after all and why would anybody breastfeed a 4-year-old?
AP – or as we call it “need-oriented parenting” – is a parenting style that focuses a lot on meeting a child’s needs and being empathetic and responsive in order to establish a strong mother-child-bond. This bond between mother and child – also called “attachment” – is crucial for a child’s healthy personal development.
Therefore many parents who practice AP choose (longterm) breastfeeding, babywearing, co-sleeping, cloth diapers or elimination communication, homeschooling or even unschooling, organic home-made food and gentle discipline. AP is a highly communicative parenting approach.
In the US AP is widely regarded as a mainly Christian parenting style, whereas Europeans tend to assume AP to be a secular parenting approach. Feminists often criticize AP as “New Momism” which promotes role models that should be overcome by now – but maybe a child’s needs and his personal development should be more important than social ideologies…
To us as parents the main reason for bringing our children up in an AP way of life is this:
Certainly sons are a gift from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb, a reward.
~ Psalms 127:3
Our children are a gift and a blessing from God – so we should treat them as the gift they are. How would you treat a gift that is very precious to you? We decided we wanted our kids to grow up in a family that grants them love, respect, trust, emotional security, warmth, protection, happiness and the freedom to just be who they are.
That’s why we chose this parenting style.
This was a very wonderful and special weekend for our family. It was a beautiful spring weekend with lots of sunshine, playground time, walks in the park – and a birthday party! We were happy to celebrate two birthdays at a time which actually was a lot of fun. But why don’t you see for yourself:
What would be a birthday party without a birthday cake? So here we go!
Baking the birthday cake was kind of a family event and a great learning experience for our toddler:
Is there a better place to have a birthday party than a playground? I don’t think so. Our children really enjoyed there time outside – and the Dads did too…
Aside from baking and playing there was also plenty of time for discovering the world:
How was your weekend?
This was a real April weekend with real April weather. Luckily I love rainy weather.
April isn’t only the month of uncertain weather it’s also a beautiful month in spring – and I love spring! Would you just look at those leaves, they are stunning, aren’t they?
And there is more: We’re enjoying our home-grown parsley:
Of course we also enjoy our time together as a family:
Our children learn so many things just before our very eyes – e.g. dressing themselves. And let’s be honest here: If you have a bunch of nice shoes why just wear one pair at a time?
Dressing yourself isn’t the only thing you learn as a toddler, though, how about some sportive activities?
But there is time for rest, too. E.g. time for reading…
… time for siting on Mommy’s lap…
… and time for some fun moisturizer experiments.
How was your weekend?