Friday, November 30, 2012

space alien name art activity

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 Bear {4 yrs} can spell his name aloud and recognize it in written form.  so, it’s time to start working on learning to write his name.  {please note that the following project was done twice.  once with his real name and once with his nickname for blog purposes… and he was thrilled to do two of them!}


to start off, i folded two pieces of construction paper in half and wrote each of our names on them.  then i cut out around the names.  once the papers were opened up, it provided the shape that our aliens would be.  this was the only part of the activity that was structured.  after this, Bear had full control over what materials to use and how to use them.  i set out a large tray full of various craft supplies for us to choose from. 
  

decorating the name aliens was fun for both of us… every now and then i actually make my own version of projects with Bear.  for the longest time, i stopped because he strived to make his look just like mine.  this only caused frustration for him and a bit of heartbreak for me. 


once they were done and the glue dried, we put them up in our preschool area.



for more space-related activities, check out this Space Monster Math with Playdough post i did at Learn with Play at Home.

as well as these:
Mm is for Moon: Tot School from Train Up a Child
Mm is for Moon: Kindergarten from Train Up a Child
Moon Buddy from Let's Lasso the Moon
Thinking Creatively from Play Dr. Mom
Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me Activities from Inspiration Laboratories






Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Practicing Colors & Patterns

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A few weeks ago, Bear was having a bit of a rough time with his dad gone for work.  When we got a package from Safari Ltd, his spirits were instantly lifted.  We got the On the Road Toob, one of their many great mini-figure toobs.  The set contained: a mack truck, delivery truck, police car, firetruck, school bus, car, truck, motorcycle, and four-wheeler. 
 
I couldn't get the tube open fast enough for Bear.  He loves anything with wheels, so this was a perfect surprise for him (as you can see by his smile below).  He also *loved* the catalog and later on, set to work circling items he'd like to add to his animal collection. 

   

After he had a chance to play with the vehicles awhile, I set up a color-matching and pattern activity using the vehicles.  For color matching, I used crayons that corresponded to the vehicles, I had Bear "park" the vehicles they matched.  (I rubber-banded the black and white crayons together for the two vehicles that are both colors.)

   
 
After he matched colors, I used a few of the vehicles and crayons to create a pattern out of the crayons for him to reproduce with the cars. 
 
 
Anything with wheels quickly becomes a favorite in our house, and these mini-figures are no different.  Because they are so durable, Bear is even able to play car wash with them without any paint wearing off.  We have also used quite a few of our fave Safari Ltd figurines to turn our train table into a zoo safari and the People at Work Toob to explore community helpers.  I think it's safe to say that we'll be adding more of them to our collection soon, judging by the many, many circles in our catalog. 
 
Take a look at all of the amazing fun and educational products Safari Ltd. offer on Keep in touch with them on  Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter
 
 

 
 
Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.
 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this product free froSafari Ltd. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

world hello day

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it's world hello day!  and what better way to celebrate than to explore all the ways people can say hello! 
below is a free printable that you can use in your classroom/homeschool room.
it is formatted to be printed up to size 11x14




Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Making Foil Prints from Train Up a Child

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i love allison from Learn Play Imagine.  she's a dear bloggie friend of mine, even though i can't for the life of me remember how it is we came to be friends.  we agree on so many points in how we mother our children.  with 4 boys (twins included) she constantly amazes me with what she is able to do each day.  she has this awesome series called Child's Play 101 where she gives a ton of ideas based on activities like sensory bins and playdough. she has a wealth of resources on her site and i'd love it if you ventured over there after you read her guest post.
~andie
 
My three year old loves to paint.  I mean he really, really loves to paint.  We paint almost every single day, sometimes multiple times each day.  While he is perfectly happy to use the same brush and paper every time I enjoy mixing it up.  I set out different objects to for him to paint with, so we can see the prints left behind.
 

While homeschooling my five year old (JZ) I set up trays for my three year old (J-Bug) with fun and educational activities.  He can freely choose which tray to do when.  He almost always reaches for the tray with paint first.  For this tray I took foil scraps from a previous project and manipulated them into different shapes to see how we could paint with them.  I left the foil and two colors of paint on the tray.


J-Bug really enjoyed rolling the foil ball across the paper.  I knew this would be a big project, so I spread out a long sheet of butcher paper.


These days it seems like most of our painting projects turn into finger painting.  My rule is generally: inside = finger painting is okay, outside = body painting is allowed.  My boys are good about respecting this rule and only need occasional reminders.  On this particular day J-Bug asked if he could step on the paint.  After considering it for a moment including scoping out the set up, I agreed to it.  Usually when we paint inside it is at the table or on a small piece of paper.  Since I already had the butcher paper spread out, and we were using washable paint I decided there was no harm.  J-Bug happily walked back and forth across the paper many times before telling me he was ready to get cleaned up.  While walking he described what he was doing, "It feel squishy between my toes!" "The paint is cold, Mommy!"  When he was done I carried him to the bath tub for a quick rinse.


Our projects don't always end the way I imagined, but we usually have more fun when I follow his lead.




 Allison is a homeschooling mama of four boys ages 5, 3, and twin 14 month olds.  Her education is in early childhood development.  Before becoming a mother she was a nanny for ten years.  She believes children learn best through hands on experiences and loves watching her boys explore the world around them.  Stay in touch with Learn Play Imagine via Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

7 tips for cooking with kids

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cooking with kids can be a fun way to bond, learn, and have fun. if you'd like to spend time in the kitchen creating yummy snacks with your child, try these easy steps.

first things first
good hygiene is important when working in the kitchen. help kiddos with long hair (like my boy) get it pulled back into a ponytail. after that, hands can be washed and the cooking can begin!

teach safety
i've set restrictions in regards to stove/oven use.  Bear gets to use safe utensils (we use butter knives instead of paring). while they may need a step up to see what is happening on the countertop, make sure that it is sturdy to prevent falls.

start simple
choose something that gives them the most opportunity to help.  if the recipe requires alot of adult participation, little attention spans may start to wander. some easy recipes are: snack mix, hamburger bun pizzas, or fruit salad (as seen in this post)

allow choices
try to use a recipe that allows for children to choose what they'd like to include. the choices listed above are great options as if numerous children are cooking, they can choose what ingredients go in their own food (i.e. no pineapple in fruit salad).

go healthy
getting children involved in the preparation of healthy foods actually makes them more apt to eat it. promotion of healthy eating habits can help establish nutritional food choices for life.


don't stress over the mess
spills and food slips will happen. you can have the kiddo help clean them up and move on. no use crying over spilled milk, right?

enjoy your food
after preparation, sit down and enjoy what you've made. talk with them about your experience and brainstorm what you could make next! 
 
 
Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

10 thoughts on helping your child to behave

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for those of you frequent readers, you may remember the previous discipline posts that i've shared with you.  (discipline with natural consequences and the stoplight discipline method).

but i've heard a few things in response.  the main themes being...
 
what if that doesn't work?
my kids are way too out of control for that.
i just don't know what to do anymore...
 

here are some thoughts from me on behavior management.  take them for what they're worth with a disclaimer that i'm not an expert, just a preschool teacher and fellow mommy.  i'm in no way trying to be preachy in this post. 

for me, there is a strong belief that we must teach our children to learn to regulate themselves, not submit to our will.  some children are more easy-going, some challenge us several times during the day.  the key is to find out what works for you and what is age-appropriate and mentally/emotionally supportive for the child.  
 

1. it's going to take some time to get a new behavioral plan in place.

2. you have to stick with it.
 
3. even if your child gets upset with you, he will still love you.
 
4. time-outs can work...sometimes...for some children.  if you chose to use them, here are a few suggestions to help make them effective:
  • designate a time-out chair/bench. 
  • time-outs should be no longer than 1 minute per year of the child. 
  • while they are sitting, give positive reinforcement every 30 seconds
  • toys can be put on time-out too (sometimes this gets the point across better... thanks, Lenka, for reminding me of this)
5. avoid waiting "until daddy comes home". by then, the child has likely forgotten their wrong-doing and will not connect the consequences with their actions.
 
6.  when all else fails...let the consequences happen.  obviously, i'm not saying let them do something unsafe.  but if they are misusing a toy, sometimes allowing it to break, will teach that they must be careful with their toys. sometimes a gentle reminder is needed "if we are destructive with our toys, they will break. then mommy will have you throw it away
 
7. stay calm, stay calm, stay calm.  smart as they are, children know how to get a rise out of others.  they aren't being manipulative, just exploring the parent-child dynamic. 
 
8.  provide positive and acceptable activities.  if you're needing to clean the kitchen, give them some rags and let them "help". 
  • avoid using the word naughty.  this word is generally used in the context of "You're being naughty."  phrasing like this labels the child, not their actions.  instead, phrases such as "poor choices" and "unsafe decisions" can be used.  i often use the phrase,
"I love you, but I don't like the choices that you're making."
 
9.  it's okay to take a mommy/daddy time-out.  if you think that the situation is more than you can deal with at the moment, let your child know.  "mommy is upset. you're upset.  i think that we both need to take a break to calm down."  sit down next to your child quietly for a few minutes until your heart rate has slowed down.  all too often we  (yes, me) react out of emotion, rather than in a way that we know we should.

10. remember that you are dealing with a child. words hurt...especially when you're little. words said in anger cannot be taken back. and it's never okay to hit a child.



know that i'm just an email away. shoot me a msg, facebook or tweet me.  whatever.  like i said, i'm not an expert, but i'm more than willing to talk to you, let you vent, or give you ideas from myself or my many other momma resources

 

 
Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Monday, November 12, 2012

in {her} shoes...Renee

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i've just recently met Renne through the Kids Blogger Network.  i'm so happy that i've finally gotten a chance to work with her.  her blog is the cutest... the name, her son Dimples, his dimples...everything.  some great posts from her are: Family Tree: Our Landmark, and Monster Slime Mess
 
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I rarely wear shoes! Don't ask me why. I prefer to stand bare footed inside and out, beach or bush.
Of course I own shoes, I have to wear them when I go shopping and take my 3 year old son Dimples to the park or where ever our Adventures take us.
 

So as you may have guessed based on my foot wear, life in my bare feet is usually messy, rough and unpredicted. I’d quickly just like to thank Andie for inviting me to take part in this wonderful “in her shoes” series, I love getting to know bloggers on a more personal level.
Hi there, I am Renee. I am . . . many things at the moment! Shall I start with Super Women? Just kidding, that is so far from the truth.  I am a Stay at home Mum to a funny and playful 3 yr. old 'Dimples', I am also expecting a girl in March 2013, I am Australian, I am a psychology student, my partner and I run a small business through the week and a farm property every other day and I love to blog about my Adventures with my very lovable son at Adventures at Home with Mum.


My Adventures as a Mum:
I feel my role as stay at home mum is the most important and my choice to be a mum takes priority. Everything else is a bit of a juggling act where something usually gets neglected (like the huge pile of laundry sitting at the foot of the bed that I have to sort). But that’s ok because the floors and the bathrooms can wait! Life with my boy won’t.

I strive to parent Dimples in a positive, unconditional, happy and loving environment. I would describe my mama-self as hands on, involved, messy, playful and creative that Dimples loves.



I have started a positive parenting journey which I feel is an ongoing process. You can never learn enough when it comes to your child so I am always seeking ways to better my parenting and myself. I often feel alone because positive parenting, yes-parenting, attachment parenting gentle discipline etc. are relatively new. I wasn't parented this way and neither was Adventures Dad so it is tough breaking the cycle and learning new ways to parent that aren't instinctual and don't come naturally.
It's a learning curve but I want to be comfortable with my parenting and know that I have done everything I feel is right by Dimples. That I have provided him with fun learning experiences and given him plenty of opportunities to grow, take lead, find interests and enjoy his childhood despite what others may think of my choice.  I am not perfect and find parenting the way I want to really challenging at times (I think that goes back to breaking the cycle again).


Adventures Mum Challenges:
I really wish I could say yes all the time, keep my cool and speak like an angel, never raising my voice and have Dimples skip along his day obeying every request while being a sweet happy well behaved darling.
That is definitely not the reality. He likes to get his own way (I wonder where he could have got that from?) he can be very persistent and stubborn at times. I think he is an especially strong willed little man and for that reason he likes to try to set his own boundaries. Boy does he try! The most recent excuse was "But I can't pick up my toys because I have a broken leg" as he lay flat on the floor holding one leg. Drama-King! There are the times where Dimples requests and excuses are just so imaginative and enthusiastic that it’s difficult for me to stay consistent and not give in to his adorability or break out in laughter at a very serious moment.
Being tested and pushed while remaining calm, gentle, non-punitive, non-threatening, no bribes or trickery and using natural consequences remains my biggest challenge. It is something I will always have to work on and be conscious about.  I think it’s important to remember that we all have bad days and there are always chances to better our parenting.

 
Adventures that make being a Mum complete me:
My best Friend told me when I was pregnant with Dimples that the good times always outweigh the tough times. This is true. No matter how challenging our day has been, the overwhelming love, closeness and happiness I feel as a mum snuggling up to her boy reading a good night story makes me forget about the extra frowning wrinkle I gained on that bad day. Tomorrow is a new day, let’s make it a better one and learn from the mistakes of today.
We do have lots of fun adventures and I love doing creative, messy, hands on play with Dimples. It is a joy watching him learn and grow. I love his imagination and some of the faces he pulls; I could watch him all day every day, who needs TV when you have a child? The lessons he brings to my life and the “completeness” I feel, outweighs any bad day by far and I can't imagine a life any other way.
There are the special moments that you wish you could capture forever, or pause. Like Dimples pleas to go for a walk to the park when it was windy as hell outside and predicted heavy rain, after begging and every excuse he could throw at me he grabs my hand all ready to walk out the door with his rain coat and beanie on.  He looks up with the most excited and expressional face, he says squeezing my hand so tight "don't worry Mummy I will hold your hand tight so you won't blow away in the wind ok?" that convinced me.

 

Values of Adventures Mum:
It is important for me to encourage Dimples self-esteem. I am a very shy withdrawn person, and so is he. I think this is fine and a good personality trait as long as you are happy with whom you are. So I think it is essential for him to have confidence and faith in himself and believe in his abilities so that his timid personality doesn’t ever stop him from trying new things, meeting new people, achieving goals or from standing up for himself.
Another important value I hope to instil in him is a positive attitude. If I were to draw a mind map, brain storm of what I hope for Dimples there would be "positive" in the centre which pretty much regulates everything else; giving, caring, open minded, confident, non-judgmental, happy, affectionate, thankful, considerate, strong hearted, emotionally regulated, healthy, ambitious, helpful, funny, kind, resourceful, willing, strong initiative, and able to look at the bright side of things no matter how bad they might seem “because there is always someone who is worse off and would do anything to be in your shoes just for a day”.  



Adventures Mum in the eyes of Dimples:
"Fun, Cuddly, Mumma”.  The first thing Dimples said was that I am a girl, I go like this . . . (He flutters his eye lashes at rapid speed doing his girl look) and I have flowers in my hair and I have a big belly. After asking him to close his eyes and what he thinks Mummy is on the inside, not right now but all the time, he came up with a few.   By the way, I do not flutter my eyelashes like an old style soap-star.

 


 
Thanks so much for reading what it is like to live in my shoes, I hope you get a chance to check out some of the Adventures that Dimples and I get up to over at my blog.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Chalk a Story from Making Boys Men

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sometimes there is something that you see on a blog that catches your eye. the first time i visited Making Boys Men i noticed that under every post, Hannah gives her readers a Mess Rating of 1, 2, or 3 paint splat icons. here are my faves... 1 splat: Window Painting, 2 splat: DIY Scratch Art, 3 splat: Spaghetti Painting.

~andie


Hi, I'm Hannah from Making Boys Men and I'm delighted to be guest posting here at Crayon Freckles. Crayon Freckles was one of the first kids craft blogs I started to read and Andie has been a huge help to me as a novice blogger so it's a real privilege!

I have three boys and a while ago I had a rare moment alone with just the oldest, Bud who's 4. I let him choose what he wanted to do and he requested some chalk drawing outside.





So, following his lead we started drawing and he started to tell me what to draw and began creating a story around the picture (if you squint hard you'll see some trees, a river then at the top a park & a school!). Next up he wanted some children to walk to school so inspired by the chalkboard people at Picklebums and Nuturestore we decided to make some chalk people on stones.



He started chalking people on some large stones we had in the garden and I created some houses as requested.



Here's our expanding playscene...



.... and here's a close up.

It was great to have him completely direct our playtime and also fun to see how great he is at story telling, this inspired a whole heap of imaginary play and was a nice one on one moment. Making a mental note now to create more one on one time with each boy.... who knows where it might lead!




Hannah is a British stay at home Mum to three boys under 5. She blogs over at Making Boys Men sharing their play, outdoor fun, art, crafts and general adventures. Making Boys Men can also be found on Facebook and Pinterest

 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Revolution 46: Cool Kids Shirts

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i'm so excited to announce our featured sponsor for the month of november: 
 
Ultra COOL Big Brother & Baby Announcement T-Shirts
 
 
Revolution 46
 
i'm a sucker for shirts with something to say.  that's why when i first saw REVOLUTION 46's website, i fell in love with lots of the shirts...especially the mustache ones.  their designs are available in several different color t-shirts and are created for both boys and girls. 


here are a few of my faves:

 
 If you Mustache I'm a Girl Onesie                        I've Got Dirt...               
               (available in boy, also)                   I'm Going To Be a Big Brother     

 
 
Big Sister Rainbow T-shirt                    2nd Grade Rocks Shirt  
 



if there is ever another little one in our house, one of these shirts is going to be the way that we tell the news to our friends and family!  but in the meantime, i ordered Bear a fun little brother shirt! 
will post on that soon!
 
shop REVOLUTION 46 here and or visit them on Facebook.


 
 
Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

**this is a sponsored post**

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Learning Numbers with Playdough & Pompoms from Learn w/Play @ Home

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one of the best things about blogging is the amazing and diverse group of women that i've had the pleasure of virtually meeting. Debs from Learn with Play at Home is one of those women.  she's so kind and so amazingly talented when it comes to creating activities and invitations to play for her kiddos.  i could list out soooo many of her posts that are my favorites.  but these are the best to me:   Water Bottle Fountain, Catalogue Number Find, Duplo Number Card Activities and Printables.
~andie

 
number activity, learn numbers


Today, we've combined 2 of our favourite play items and learning manipulatives, play dough and pompoms.

Together, they provide a squishy, sensory experience that is perfect for little hands that are learning about the world around them and practicing and developing their fine motor skills.

See how you can help your child practice their number recognition, counting and one-to-one correspondence with this fun, quick and simple activity.

This activity is suitable for children aged 2+
(please be sure to supervise any children who may still be inclined to put thing in their mouths)


learn 
numbers, number activity
Materials: You will need playdough, pompoms, rolling pin and pencil.



number activity, learn numbers
Roll out your playdough and using the pencil, draw (or have your child draw) a number as shown above.

Have your child identify the number. Talk about the number and ask questions. Where have you seen it before? What does it represent? Is it larger or smaller than...? etc

Using the end of the pencil, you or your child (depending on their level) can poke the corresponding number of holes in the playdough.


learn 
numbers, number activity, number fun
Using pompoms, have your child cover the line of the number to consolidate the recognition of it's shape.
Using fingers to practice the pincer grip or tweezers for fine motor practice

Have your child place 1 pompom on each hole and count as you go.

For older children, try larger numbers and as they place each pompom on the holes, ask them how many pompoms there are and how many more they will need. This starts to help children see the relationship between numbers. eg. In the demonstration above, there is 1 pompom and you need 5 more. 2 pompoms and you need 4 more... etc.


Use this same activity to help learn your name or letters

 
Giving of our time to our children is the best gift we can give them. Children will learn through their experiences whether you are there or not, but to help further their learning and to help them gain greater understanding and make connections between their experiences and everyday life, your presence, your questions and your insight can really make a huge difference.



I hope you enjoyed this simple activity and for tons more activities designed to help your child learn through play, complete with handy tips on how to simplify and extend to suit your child's development, please join me at Learn with Play at home
Happy Playing, 
Debs :)
 
 
Learn with Play at home is a site full of free, kid friendly activities, ideas and more, written by stay at home mum and Early Years Primary School Teacher, Debs. Here you can find ideas to keep your kids busy and entertained with handy tips on how to get the most learning out of each fun activity. Appropriate for babies through to school age children, with advice on how to simplify and extend each activity, you will always find something to suit your child and their individual developmental level. You can also play with us on facebook, pinterest, twitter and G+. See you there!
 

Monday, November 5, 2012

in {her} shoes...Lyndsay

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i'm beyond ecstatic that Lyndsay from Our Feminist {Play}School is guest-posting today.  i first found her blog through the April 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting.  after reading her post, Bath Time: Just Another Chance to Play, my heart soared at finding another momma whose parenting views were so similar to mine.  in the 6 months since then, i've gotten to know Lyndsay more and am blessed to call her my friend.  through her i have learned to practice an even more conscious level of parenting.  i've learned about what it means to be a feminist and how it affects me as a parent.  and i'll be forever indebted to her for that.  if you've never been to her eloquently written blog, i strongly encourage it, my friends.
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I am excited to be sharing 'my shoes' with such an eclectic and fantastic group of mamas, thank you Andie for including me and my words. I can't say that I always wanted children, they were a possibility that seemed to float across my radar with varying intensity depending on where my life was taking me. Before I had the pleasant surprise of becoming pregnant with Aodhan, I was quite focused on my career and traveling. I was living far from my home country and quite content to spend holidays in Italy, Spain and the South of France, with little more than a couple of novels in my carry-on.
But, the universe had other plans for me, and I became a mama. Despite not having planned for my son, I quickly switched gears and happily looked ahead to parenthood, and I knew almost immediately that the parenthood that I wanted to immerse myself in would be slightly different than what I saw around me. With some poking around on the internet, I knew that I was an 'attachment parent' and have allowed myself grow into the natural minded, gentle, child-focused mama that I am today. Although Aodhan is now half way through 3, I am proud of all the aspects of his infant and toddler hoods that shaped me as a gentle parent. This includes, but is not limited to: natural/home birthing, breastfeeding on demand and child-led weaning (he nursed until he was 3 yrs and 4 months), cloth diapering, baby-led weaning, baby wearing and co-sleeping. I allowed my son to guide me through the early months of parenting, listening to his needs and focusing on him as he figured out the world around him.
He has left the land of diapers, boobies, and baby slings behind him, but attachment parenting seems almost more important to us now than it was when he was still a quiet newborn. Gentle Discipline is at the crux of how I parent now. Being 3 means that Aodhan wants to push and pull at boundaries that I set out for him, and I acknowledge that. I work every day to find peaceful and gentle solutions that will help him figure out the path that will be the most pleasant for everyone. It means taking a good look at myself and a lot of deep breaths (because, yah, the kid is 3), but what I see is a little boy who feels loved and nurtured and confident in himself and the love of his parents. I am incredibly proud to be a feminist mama, and do everything I can to embrace and embody feminist parenting. That means fighting against gender and sexuality stereotypes when buying toys or clothing, it means pointing out the awesome job that a female mayor or CEO is doing, it means talking openly and honestly about racism, poverty and the many other issues that intersect with feminism. It means showing my son that I don't have to be a martyr to my family, and it means showing him that beauty exists in all bodies - fat, thin, old and young. I want Aodhan to grow up and be a proud feminist, because all men should be proud to be feminists. By including feminist values into my parenting, I feel that I am giving Aodhan the tools that he needs for interacting with the whole world, not just women: compassion, acceptance, open mindedness and a sense of curiosity. Watching Aodhan develop into such a gentle and loving soul has been the purest beauty in my life. Every. Single. Day. I am confident that the decisions I make to be gentle and child-centred have helped my boy possess the joy and happiness that seems to beam from his every movement. Challenges exist in parenting, as they do in any real situation, and for me they are more fleeting thought than imposing weights across my shoulders. I find it a challenge to carve space out for myself (what mama doesn't struggle with this?); I miss the time that I used to spend working on my writing, and I long for a night where I am not awoken by a foot in my face. But, these things seem trivial and passing when I think of the greater stretch of time that sits ahead of me, when I am no longer needed by my son. Hopefully, I have years ahead of me to lounge around in bed reading books and writing poetry. But these first few years of his new life? These will be gone in a second. It is a trade off I am more than willing to make. What 3 words would Aodhan use to describe his mama? If someone asked me this a month ago, I would have said: boobies, boobies, boobies. But, as he has (sniff) weaned, I think it would be more like: silly, cuddly and vegan.
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