My Children Talk to Strangers

Yes. You read that title correctly. In fact, my children are encouraged to talk to strangers under most circumstances.

Today I took all four children (by myself – whew!) to a local grocery store where they have a children eat free night once a week. While I was waiting for our food at the deli, my children asked and were given permission by me to go and sit down in the seating area, with the general admonitions to stay together and to actually stay sitting once they found a place to sit.

So, anyhow, when our food was ready I paid for it and headed over to the seating area to find my 6 year old daughter chatting happily with a lady who was wearing her baby in a ring sling, the way I wear my little babies. I smiled at both the lady and my daughter while I continued about 10 feet away to the table where my other daughters were sitting, waiting expectantly for their food, which I delivered to them while also half listening to my 6 year old talking to the lady about her baby brother.

About five minutes later, my 6 year old joined us at our table and began eating. When they were all settled in with their food, my 8 year old started telling me about the lady they had talked to so I asked them a few questions. We have talked a bit about strangers, but I don’t really teach about “stranger danger” and I wanted my girls to have an opportunity to evaluate why they all had felt comfortable talking to this lady.

My first question: “Why did you feel comfortable and safe talking to the lady with the baby?”

I got several different answers, “Because she seemed nice.” “She had a baby.” “I liked her.”

Great! I told them that listening to that feeling inside them is one of the most important things they can do when deciding whether or not to talk to someone. I reminded them that any adult – not just a stranger – who asks them for help or tells them to do something without telling me, is probably not safe and they should let me know immediately about anyone who does those things. I reminded them that if they ever do get that feeling about someone, then they should, what? “Tell you or Papa!” there was a chorus of voices answering that question. That was an easy one.

I want my children to be comfortable interacting with people in public. They will be doing that for the rest of their lives, after all. Besides, anyone can become “not a stranger” simply by introducing themselves and it isn’t just “strangers” who are dangerous for children. Most of the time, children are abused by people who are very well known to them and to their parents.

That last point bears repeating: Most of the time, children are abused by people who are very well known to them and to their parents.

Because of that, I want my children to be very attuned to their “gut feelings” about people. We don’t force our children to hug or even to talk to people whom they are uncomfortable hugging or talking to. They have ownership over their bodies and they need to be able to say “no” now in order to effectively say “no” when they’re older and maybe getting pressured by dates or meeting people who might not have their best interests at heart.

So far, so good. This lesson about trusting their intuitions and watching out for “tricky” adults, along with the many other lessons they’ve had about “secret touching” and the teachings of proper terminology for body parts will hopefully help my children both in the short and long runs as they navigate a sometimes hostile world.

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Exactly, Just Exactly!

The poem below is exactly how I feel right now about my house and about my fourth (and almost certainly last) baby. I just want to snuggle and love on this baby boy as much as I possibly can before he gets big, which I know will happen too soon, and maybe won’t want to snuggle with his mama any more (I don’t even want to think about such a thing!).

The laundry and cleaning does get done eventually, but very gradually and on an as-needed basis. Snuggling the baby, homeschooling and spending time with the older children, and spending time with my husband are taking priority right now.

I can’t imagine that I would possibly ever regret spending more time with my lovely family when I look back on these years ❤

 

Song for a Fifth Child
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

Contentment

Ten years is a long time.

My tenth wedding anniversary recently came and went. It was about a week ago and I was sick with food poisoning for most of the day, but we didn’t have any elaborate plans anyhow so it ended up working out.

Ten years.

I was thinking last night and talking to my husband about the fact that it’s been this long. Ten years married and thirteen years since we started dating, because it was really our double anniversary, and here we are. Four children later. We’ve moved umpteen times and had more than a few vehicles and a ton of different jobs – although neither one of us has ever been fired. We’ve had a lot of joy, laughter, disagreements, and even fights; but a ton of love.

We know so many people who chose different paths in their lives, which is great. Our way of going about things would certainly not be the right way for everyone, but it’s worked out quite well for us.

Our life may not be exciting or glamorous in the usual sense of the words, but it’s steady and comforting. Yes, our three oldest children were spending the night at a friend’s house last night and we just had the baby so we listened to amazing music, chatted with each other, and… cleaned the kitchen before falling asleep.

Extremely not glamorous, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world right now. It’s not easy, sometimes it’s downright difficult, but it’s so very nice. Also, we woke up to a clean kitchen, which is always pleasant.

So, all that to say that I’m excited to see what our second decade of marriage has in store for us! Probably no more babies, but a great deal of homeschooling and watching the children we have grow older. In the next decade we’ll have three teenagers and hopefully some traveling overseas. I should be a Certified Professional Midwife at some point in the next ten years and my husband will hopefully be making some passive income doing things that he loves to do – he’s setting up the framework for that right now.

It’s exciting to think about! Bring on our 30’s! We’re ready for the next decade 🙂

I Did It!

2013-Winner-Facebook-Cover

 

I “won” NaNoWriMo this November!

How did I win? By writing a 61,558 word first draft of a novel in a month. Yes. I did this while homeschooling my 8 year old, my 6 year old, and my 4 year old. I also have a 3 month old baby and an incredible wonderfully supportive husband, without whom I would never have been able to write 600 words, let alone 60k words.

So, I won. Now what?

For the past few days, I’ve been feeling flat and a bit down in general. After the crazy writing frenzy of the last month, I’m not sure what to do with myself now. Sure, there are plenty of things that need to be done, but there’s just something about having immersed myself in so much creative writing over the past month and now that’s lacking in my life.

That’s actually probably a large reason why I’ve started writing in my blog again. I need something to fill the void right now.

Really, what I should be doing is editing my novels – the 59k novel from last year and its sequel from this year. I have friends lined up to read my books. Apparently my premise sounds really interesting to several friends and they’re looking forward to reading what I have spent so much time working on lately.

Yet… I haven’t even started re-reading or editing. I’m not sure why exactly. It seems like such a daunting task really. I’m not very used to writing fiction and I’ve never attempted to edit something of this length before.

I’ve been reading about novel editing tips over the past couple days. We have plenty of printer paper that has one side used and the other blank and I’ve already decided that I’ll be printing off my novels using that paper. No worries about wasting paper at all – it’s recycling!

So, what’s holding me back? The fear of the unknown maybe? I think that I’m blowing this up out of proportion and that once I begin it’ll be fine. I love editing, generally speaking. I tend to be ruthless about typos and grammar and I enjoy nothing more than helping friends edit things that they’ve written, but somehow it seems different when it’s something that I’ve written.

I think that part of myself is worried that everything I wrote is just garbage. That there’s nothing decent in the entire draft. Then again, there’s no way on earth that I wrote 120k words of pure awfulness (I’m not being conceited – the odds of that kind of pure dreck would just be pretty slim) so there must be some good stuff in there. Maybe at least a few decent scenes or characters or plot points, if nothing else.

I’m just going to do it! I will print it off later today (yes, it is almost 2am right now) after a good night’s sleep and I will begin! I’m going to finish what I started and give my friends and myself an awesome story to read!

A Proud Mama Moment

My oldest daughter, my just-turned-eight year old, received everything she asked for on her birthday this year. Spoiled? Maybe. Although, given what she asked for, I feel as though I’m the spoiled one.

She asked for a dictionary and  a snake reference book. We found her two reptile books because there didn’t seem to be any that were only about snakes. She has absolutely loved and used them all since her birthday and I’m just as pleased as can be that she loves reading and learning as much as she does!

This is my child who was barely reading more than the words “cat” and “dog” a year and a half ago and who has devoured books as varied as Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Secret Garden, and Tennis Shoes in the past year.

I love seeing how much she loves learning and I love talking to her about the books I loved to read when I was her age!

I used to love reading reference books when I was her age too, and I still do, actually 🙂

birthday books

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