Picnic at the park, Child’s Play style!

You know what I enjoy, and I mean really really freaking LOVE, about unschooling? The chance it gives my kids and I to explore who we are as people without the fear or care of what other people think.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I used to live in fear of other people’s judgements to the point that I would prejudge myself before anyone else got the chance.

But a funny thing happens when you decide to live a life full of passion and interest…you get so filled up with happiness, what other people think doesn’t matter so much anymore. So, for instance, we have our picnic at a local park. (It’s been in the 80’s, yo! In March, yo!!)

picnic at the park.

The first thing you may notice is my son with the bunny face. It’s a mask a wonderful flickr friend, Marie, sent over to me after I kept remarking how totally awesome it was. And it is. totally. awesome. Golfer loves to wear it on walks. Or while picnicing. People don’t seem to know what to do when they see a bunny face coming at them, and I love that Golfer is totally fine with weird looks coming his way.

More hidden is Naturalist’s Cloak of Awesomeness, which is a full length black cloak with silver lining that we made last year. She wears it everywhere, and if there’s something that freaks people out more than a bunny face, it’s this cloak. She asked me one day if I ever wanted a cloak when I was her age, and I said absolutely yes. Then she asked me if I had one, and I said absolutely no! She asked why not, and I said, ‘because I never could have faced the kids at school, I cared too much about what they thought!’ I was so happy when she couldn’t understand what I meant.

Sassy is looking sideways at Golfer, as if she has no clue why he’d do something so silly as to wear a bunny mask. In reality she’s wearing her pants backwards, just like she wears all her pants. If she wears pants at all, which isn’t often. In the bag in the picture, Sassy has brought all her library books about butterflies and ladybugs. We read the ladybug book just in time for a ladybug larvae to land right on her hand! Talk about excitement!

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Showing a greater maturity than I’ve seen in the past (sorry all you squished bugs, that you had to pay the price for her exuberance…) she let the larvae go on it’s way. But I can tell she regretted the fact.

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And me? Well. I like to make people put on my aviators so I can take reflection shots.

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I also take my red bench everywhere I go, so I can take pictures of people standing on it.

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You can imagine what we must look like walking in the park…cloak of awesomeness flowing, bunny mask wearing, red bench toting, backwards pants walking group that we are.

I. love. it!

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45 Responses

  1. I love the confidence evident in these acts of self-expression!! Very refreshing.

    I’m still working on being ‘me’ and trying to let my kids be themselves, as much as possible (which means for example my son, 5, rarely does anything to his hair, wearing it Peter-Pan style).

    • Peter Pan hair on 5 year olds…my favorite!!! I’m trying to convince my 10 year old son to go Peter Pan for a while ;)

  2. I love the mask. I too have a back to front clothes wearer. It makes me smile when he realises he’s put them on the right way round and then changes them!

    He’s five, nearly six. May be it’s an age thing?

    • I love the switch around, too, LOL…Sassy is nearly 6, maybe that has something to do with it if you deal with it as well. I wonder what 6 will bring!

  3. How wonderful, spontaneous, and free!

  4. I love this post. It takes courage to be yourself and let your children be themselves. You are one brave, awesome mama.

    • it does take courage, especially when as the adult you can look at the faces of people around and read what they’re thinking!

      YOU are one brave, awesome mama! I hope we get to meet up one of these days!

  5. this post makes me smile. :)

  6. Yo! :-)

  7. It is reassuring for me to see a mom accept and embrace their kids exactly how they are, having the courage to live a life of joy without being dampened by the self or world critic. It gives me hope.

    Also? cloak of awesomeness = win!

    • lol, unschoolers embrace the cloak like no other! It’s a true test of awesomness to see how people react ;)

  8. Love it. Totally love it. Yay you!! :D

  9. Love it all!

    I remember Nic going in to Target once wearing swim shorts, cowboy boots, tie dyed shirt, cowboy vest and army helmet. I adored it. He doesn’t do much of that anymore.

    Ella loves to wear her biggest, most beautiful and fluffy princess dress, or her leotard wherever we go.

    Giving them, and myself, that freedom is just priceless.

    • oh my–leotard. I totally forgot, before there was the cloak, my daughter would wear a leopard leotard everywhere. LOL! Big fluffy princess dresses melt me!

      Totally priceless :)

  10. I’ve always gone my own way, but deep down I’ve also always cared (painfully much) what people think. I’m so grateful when I have people around me who think well of what I’m doing.

    I love the pictures! (My favorite is Sassy bummed. Her eyes!)

    • I also care(d) painfully much what people think. Some days I’m better than others. For what it’s worth, I think WELL WELL WELL of what you’re doing! :)

  11. LOVE IT . GREAT POST. YOU HAVE TO FEEL IT TO KNOW IT.

    i HAD SOME WHAT SIMILAR EXPERIENCE WHEN I WENT TO PARK WITH KIDS AND WE HAD OUR TIME FILLED WITH FUN AND PHOTO SESSIONS.

    AND PEOPLE WERE SURPRISED TO SEE ME ( AN ADULT ) ENJOYING A CONE ICE CREAM ALL ALONE WITH MY KIDS RUNNING ALL AROUND and playing like they have gone mad.

    To be frank I liked the annoyed faces as much I liked our time there . May be there is a freak in me !
    ( my caps lock was on. Sorry for the mess up. :) )

    • love the cap locks, really got the ‘PLAYING LIKE YOU’VE GONE MAD!’ message across LOL

      I think we’ll have a grand time with our kids together when I manage to make it to India…or you here to California!

  12. I love the reflection shot! I think the park is the perfect place to do crazy things. I love not just going to play on the equipment but to bring lots of fun stuff with us.

    I like the bench idea.. cute to have something like that consistenly in photos :)

  13. I sooooo wanted a cloak too! From about age 12 to, um . . . now. lol At 33.

    I love that unschooling frees us from the social fetters of school. I’ll never forget watching junior high kids walk down the sidewalk past my parked car one day a couple years ago just as school let out. I don’t think I saw one. single. smile. Even the kids I knew from church looked depressed. It was heart-wrenching!

    • It’s never too late to make yourself a cloak!

      social fetters are strong, I’m also glad she’s free of all that.

  14. As you well know, I’m all about the cloak and so wish I had the support Naturalist does to just go with it.

    Even now, I have two cloaks, three hooded capes and a mantle (shorter than a cape) just sitting in my closet (all I made myself), that I only have the guts to wear on Hallowe’en or when we go camping.

    One of these days I’m going to draw on her inspiration and wear one to the grocery store.

    The freedom and confidence you are giving your children to embrace themselves is immeasurable.

  15. You guys are such an inspiration! Love the kooky self-acceptance! Yours is my favorite blog. Hands down.

  16. This got me thinking. My 10 yo son wants an earring. What should I say? I think he needs two of them.

    • thank you for your compliment, above! :) And…hmmm, earrings…I got my daughters earrings for her when she was 10 and thought she was old enough to make the choice…why not for your son, right? Just keep the dialogue open about how different people *may* react so he’s not surprised!

  17. i love it. i spent most of my teens/20s/30s as an artist, musician, recording engineer, art director, creative director. i’ve been around creative people my whole life, and i tell you, it isn’t that weird to to me to see someone wear a cloak or a mask in a park. ;) but no, it isn’t ‘normal’. hee. we are not mainstream. that is one of the reasons we have this life anyway. not to be forced into a mold, a box, to be average, mediocre, like everyone else. to be extraordinary, alive, free, creative, and dynamic. now THAT is interesting!

    • Oh Denise, I love what you said, especially this part:

      “we are not mainstream. that is one of the reasons we have this life anyway. not to be forced into a mold, a box, to be average, mediocre, like everyone else. to be extraordinary”

      I didn’t live a free, creative life like you did from the start. I was trying so hard to be normal and mainstream it’s not even funny. I only found this life for myself through unschooling, and it’s been such a liberating journey!

  18. In my late teens I sported a mohawk. That was a tad over twenty years ago.
    At forty-one, I wear dreadlocks. :) Full circle, maybe.
    My son wears his clothes backwards. And his shirts most often are wrong-side out, so that the print of the tag is front and center (extra sensitive means no tags, you know.)
    I’m with Denise – I think unschoolers do the way they do because they can Do no other way…. have to be alive, creative, and free.

    Though I will say, Secret Agent, that mask would freak me out. I was also always a little worried too about what, exactly, the Easter Bunny was. Bunny masks are up there with monkeys, for me. Even sock monkeys freak me out. :)

  19. You remain one of the awesomest families we have ever met, my friend. That is one sweet bunny mask! Looks like you are having an awesome time ;o) I love reading your blog.

  20. Over the past couple of weeks I became aware of your blog (we, too, are unschoolers), and have been enjoying reading about your Family’s adventures… This post struck a chord with me, as we are a Family of avid picnickers, and my 3-year-old is an insect fanatic! Thanks for sharing these slices of your life with the rest of the world :)

  21. I love her cloak of awesomeness. :)

  22. You and your family totally rock. You give me inspiration and confidence to relax and forget about others. It’s none of our business what other people think of us anyway, since they are often too consumed with what they think others are thinking of them!? What?

    I would come sit beside you in the park anyday!

    • There’s a great Jack Johnson song about that very thing, have you heard it?!

      Park day, anytime!

  23. It’s an exceptional day in our house if we’re all wearing underwear with our skirts.

    Just sayin’.

  24. I would so find a way to play with you if I saw you having a picnic – I’d send matthew over to say hi – and believe me, if no one responded he would loudly say “MOM, I said hi, and they didn’t say hi back? why?” but I have a feeling, your kids would start to run with him…nothing better than finding friends on a walk!

  25. [...] made sure to bring up the bunny mask, figuring that maybe it wouldn’t be so eerie and out of place if we actually used it on [...]

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