Wednesday, September 26, 2007

No food wars here

When we began unschooling we decided not to limit food choices or quantity for Ian. I grew up in a house where I had to eat everything even if I didn't like it and now I am a very (very, very) picky eater. My husband grew up being able to make his own choices about what he wanted to eat and even where he wanted to eat it (when he was 4 and 5 he didn't like his food to touch so he requested separate plates and utensils for each dish). Nowadays he will eat almost anything.

This may just be a coincidence. I don't really know. I am half convinced that I am a super taster like the They Might Be Giants song and that might be why I am so picky.

We trust Ian and we feel that only he knows his body. Only he knows when he is hungry and when he is full, what his body is craving and when to stop eating.

It has been a joy lately to watch him make food choices. The other day right as we sat down to a meal of pork chops, bread and salad he told me he wanted mint chocolate chip ice cream. At first I was hesitant to give it to him. I started feeling angry because I had just spent time making this nice meal and I wanted him to eat what I prepared! I took breath and realized I wasn't letting him make his own choices (and I was being silly) so I fixed him a bowl. He sat down happily with us to eat his ice cream. When he was nearly finished, he pushed the bowl away and announced, "I want to eat my dinner now." Wow! I didn't expect that one.

Today he asked for gummy bears. I put a large hand full in a bowl. He ate a few, I ate a few. He soon handed me the bowl and said, "I don't want these anymore." I put them aside in case he wants them later. He might. He might not.

I am just amazed at his choices at 3.5 years old. I am 30 and I don't have that much willpower! I suppose for him it's not willpower though. He really just doesn't want any more. He knows that if he does want more they are available and no one will tell him that he can't have them. Freedom of choice makes all the difference in the world.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Ebay happiness

While we were at Live and Learn (I know, I know, I need to write a post about it!) Ian spied an egg and spoon race game on the raffle table. He really wanted it and mentioned it a lot. Buck and I tried to put lots of tickets in the bag to increase our odds of winning but we didn't win. Ian was pretty disappointed so we talked about ways we might buy it at home. I looked at Target since it was the Play Wonder brand that they carry, but they didn't stock it anymore. I found it on ebay but the auction had just begun.

At the end of the week we won the auction and the coveted prize arrived today! He was overjoyed to have his toy arrive and I was too! We quickly opened the box and began playing. We have found lots of uses for it besides just having egg and spoon races. The spoons can be lined up, the eggs can be cooked and served to mom, the egg shells can hold treasures, the egg shells can be stacked.

I am so glad that we are living this unschooling life. A couple of years ago I would have just dismissed his idea as just a temporary want and I would have disregarded it. I never would have gone out of my way to find it for him unless he kept "bugging" me about it. Even then I might just tell him that it was too bad that we didn't get it and we just couldn't find it without even looking for it.

I will be forever grateful to people like Sandra Dodd and Pam Sorooshian for putting information about radical unschooling out there, for living it and for continuing to write about it. Our lives are changed forever and definitely for the better. Of course we have day-to-day crap like everyone else but life with my kid is so much more fun and peaceful than I ever thought it could be!

Oh, and of course Hi-Q joined in on the egg-spoon fun. He is always a part of our play!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

It worked! Episode II: Water and Popcorn

Once when Ian was having a hard day I asked him what I could do for him to help calm him down next time he felt out of control. He told me I could get him some water to drink. We got to test that one out this morning. He was upset when I got back from my run and I wasn't lying next to him anymore. His anger started escalating and he really seemed stuck in his discomfort so I asked him if he would like some water. He immediately stopped yelling and said yes. I got him a drink, he took one sip, and within about 2 minutes he was smiling and telling me that I was his sunshine! I swear that my kid has the best ideas!

Around lunch I asked what he wanted to eat. "Copcorn!" he shouted. I made a big bowl of popcorn and put his in a special Shrek bowl. We cuddled under "Big Blue" (a blanket made by my grandma that is both big and blue) and watched "Goonies." It is amazing to me how much joy there is in our house when I simply listen to Ian and say yes. If he were in pre-school he couldn't ask for popcorn for lunch and we definitely couldn't cuddle every day.

While we were in Lowe's the other day a cashier told me to value this time with him while I can. She said that the day her son went to kindergarten was the last time she was allowed to hug him, and her 13-year-old daughter won't even talk to her. I just told her that I do cherish the time I have with him, but I don't worry at all about him not wanting to spend time with me. And I don't.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It worked!

In my never-ending quest to be a better mama and a better person, I ask my son for advice on my behavior. I figure that he is one of the best people I know so I bet he will have a good idea for me.

Last week I yelled at him for some stupid thing that I don't even remember. After I calmed down and breathed I came back to him and I apologized and asked him, "What do you think I could do next time I start to yell at you so that I calm down and don't yell at you?" He smiled and immediately told me that I could, "sing the sunshine song!" The 'sunshine song' is "You are my sunshine" and it's one of our favorites. I sing it to him pretty much every day and if I forget he reminds me to sing it.

So, yesterday he was eating mint chocolate chip ice cream on the couch and after a while he told me that he spilled "a little" on the couch. I don't mind a little spill here or there so I wasn't mad until I saw that the whole underside of his diaper was green and so was the couch. I started thinking all sorts of terrible and selfish things in my head and I started to yell. Ian jumped off the couch and sort of started crying. I stopped, though, after about 3 seconds, took a breath, and then belted out, "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine...." By the end of the song he was cuddled in my lap and I was kissing the top of his head and I was marveling at my wonderful son. Best of all I was truly not angry anymore. IT WORKED!

Now if only I can start singing before I yell next time I will be set...

Friday, September 14, 2007

For Evie

Here are the 2 Dad Can Do projects we made today. The wand is all finished. I decided to add jewels to the tip of my wand.

The Simpsons d'oh-nut is a work in progress. I have assembled it, painted it, and applied the sprinkles. After the paint dries (it has been drying for hours--I think I will turn 31 before it is dry!) I will cut out a bite and then paint some purple doughnut goo coming out.

Thanks for the idea and the website, Evie!

Saturday, September 01, 2007


Marin --

A person with a taste for acorns

'How" will you be defined in the dictionary?' at
Hey! This is true because oaks are my favorite trees and my degree is in forestry. I have never liked the taste of acorns though.......