Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Establishing our Rhythm

For what feels like nearly a year, I've been trying to find our ideal daily rhythm.  I wanted something that could be consistent during the week and on the weekends.  Parts of it have been consistent since the kids were babies, but other parts have constantly changed as they've grown. 
The weekend before last was a four day weekend for us and we were stuck in our usual Saturday mode for four days in a row.  By Tuesday, the kids were cranky, as were we.  I decided that I needed to write out our daily rhythm in the way I would like for it to occur, each day.  It's so basic, it seemed ridiculous, but not as ridiculous as the level of crankiness in our house.  So here it is:
Sorry it's a bit difficult to see.  My camera is on it's last leg.
The main reason I wanted to write it down was to help myself.  I've wanted to get in a regular rhythm of daily activities/chores for many, many months, but I've lacked the ability to stick with it.  I forget what it is I should be doing on a Monday morning, I haven't planned anything for the kids, and the whole thing goes out the window for the entire week.  Well, now it's on our fridge.  No more forgetting.  I tried to keep it to the basics.  Nothing too ambitious, but it includes the "chores" that must get done each week and the activities I think we can consistently maintain.  I want my kids to know and anticipate these activities, to help them learn the rhythm of the week. 
One major change we started was a walk or outside play time after lunch.  I am trying to get the kids back to napping in the same room.  When I've tried this directly after lunch, they get a full tummy energy burst and it just doesn't happen.  Now we're eating a little earlier and then hitting the great outdoors to release their "hee-bee-gee-bees" as Mannchen says.  One week into it and it seems to be working well.  They have been moving towards needing a shorter nap lately anyway (taking too long to settle down at night).  Previously, I tried moving naptime earlier, but they weren't always ready to settle down at noon.  Even if they won't sleep while in the room together, I want them to have at least 90 minutes alone in their beds to read and rest.  And if they don't sleep, then at least we know they will sleep well in the evening.
I have been doing a great deal of reading and listening to Rudolf Steiner lectures and books lately and researching Waldorf education in general.  I'm falling more in love with it the more I learn.  I am so excited with what this will offer my children in each phase of their life.  Currently the greatest thing I can do for them is offer a rhythmic, peaceful, loving home (we've had those last two down all their lives - btw peaceful meaning free of instability and anger, peaceful does not mean quiet and boring), with ample time to play freely indoors and out (in all types of weather) using natural materials, with as few media distractions as possible, while encouraging them to join in alongside us in our work around the home.  We will not introduce any formal learning until Mannchen is six or seven years of age.  If you have any questions about what Waldorf education is and why I know it is best for our family, please don't hesitate to ask!
So, that's that.  Hopefully it's something we (I) can stick to over the next several years.  I want my children to have a rich, consistent rhythm at home so they will wake with a peace in knowing what to expect each day.  
I leave you with a few pictures of the beauty surrounding our days:
Lavender and hydrageas

Corn and volunteer squash/pumpkins

Corn in the other garden.  This corn is organic from a reliable non-GMO source and was planted before the other bed of corn.  Both are sweet, white corn.  We use the same compost material for each garden.  Kinda creepy how much quicker the conventional corn grows.  Maybe non-GMO organic grow slower, but I'll stick with them in the future.  I like knowing that my food is growing the way God designed it to grow.  I trust him a good bit more than science that hasn't been followed for long term effects.

Carrots - the kids are so excited about these since all we can see are the tops.

Flowers galore - on the table.  Thank you Trader Joe's for $3.99 pick-me-up-on-a-rough-day sunflowers - I didn't plant my own this year due to the move.  The hydrangeas and herbs (greenery) are from our yard.

Flowers in the living room.

Flowers in the bedroom.
More flowers in the bathroom and kitchen, but my camera is being moody and wouldn't work with the lighting.