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Teaching Is The Best Way To Learn!

A few more days, and then this childplay page will automatically redirect to http://www.freeplaylife.com 🙂 And then I’ll have a party and eat lots of ice cream and jump and shout! You all are welcome to join me. It’s bring your own ice cream. And, while you’re at it, bring enough to share with me…

New post about unschooling, learning, and teaching over at freeplaylife!

I also blogged another self portrait shot about being our own superhero. I’m my own mighty mouse…who are you?!

Failure IS An Option.

New post up at freeplaylife! With an action video, ooooh!

Guess Where I Am?

Alright, the countdown to redirecting traffic to the new blog, and making this childplay blog just a figment of your imagination has started! In 5 days I will begin redirecting, but when I do, I’m not sure any new blogs will show up in your feeds or on twitter…so head over to freeplaylife.com and sign up for the new RSS feed/facebook page/twitter account!

Meanwhile, I’ve put up a new blog all about our new home!

and, of course, I’m doing all this while at Starbucks, using their free wi-fi. Mmmmm. I don’t need double peppermint hot chocolate anymore, now in this sunny climate it’s all about the shaken lemonade with passion tea. OMawesome!

Photo on 2010-07-06 at 15.57

Happy 4th, 1880’s style!

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Our 4th of July plans, written on the shiny new blog that will replace this one in a week…so head over there and bookmark it/subscribe to the RSS feed so you get all the new updates as I post them! Isn’t moving such a pain! Luckily, all you have to do is click a few buttons instead of pack boxes and physically move to another address!

The Lesson of the Walking Stick.

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Blogged over at my new home, freeplaylife.com!

To not miss any updates about walking sticks, mommy/kid dates that end in vomiting, or lots and lots of fun, you can subscribe to the freeplaylife RSS feed and have new posts directed to your feed or your email. Isn’t that the bee’s knees?!

Art as Self::Self as Artist

6:52 of BAM!

I have some trickery afoot! In order to read this post, you’ll need to mozy over to my brand spankin’ new upgraded blog with a brand spankin’ new name and look and feel and taste and…and…and…well, I’m just getting over excited here. I can’t think straight. It’s been a labor of love to self host my blog and then design it all so it’s juuuuust right.

It’s still not perfectly just right, but if I waited for that then perfectionism might set in and I’d never think it was good enough. And I just can’t wait! Mostly because I migrated the content over a week or so ago, and don’t know how to migrate individual posts so I was losing all your comments! And we all know that it’s the comments that make this bloggy blog so totally awesome.

I could tell you all the cool new things you’ll see over there, but I think I’ll just let you find out on your own. Some things I haven’t gotten to yet, and other things I have but still don’t like, and other things I haven’t even been to yet…so bear with me while I iron out the bumps. Let me know what you think…but be gentle! I’ve spent lots of late nights learning about SQL databases and code and wordpress.org and I’m prone to tears when I don’t get enough sleep!

So! Go!

Here’s the Art as Self::Self as Artist post!

Here’s the home page where all the magic will happen!

Pick Your Poison: passive, assertive, or aggressive?

Due to no Internet reception where I am (again!) (does that make you wonder where in the world we’re at NOW?!) (after all this roaming around, I wish the whole wide world was wired for wi-fi!) (too bad Tesla isn’t around, I think he could have figured it out already…)

Uh, where was I?

Internet. Yes. I have none. So it’s back to iPhone typing, which I’ve established is tedious, especially when I like to blah blah blah all over my blog and say in 46 words what it should only take 5 to say.

So, this will be short. I got a hold of a sheet divided into 3 catergories: passive, assertive, aggresive. It’s what so many of you commented about on my post ‘No more Ms. Nice Gal’. Passive isn’t balanced out with aggression, but rather with assertiveness.

Any doubt that I am as passive as a wet noodle are erased when I tell you that in no instance to I leave the passive column. I must admit, I cried. Hard. It brought home just how much passivity (passiveness?) affects my life and happiness. Oprah would have called it my ‘a ha!!’ moment, but it was more like “WTF!!!”.

I am now more determined to practice doing things that are more in the assertive column. Already I am saying, “that doesn’t work for me” and “but here’s what I need…”. For example, tonight i said, “i need to eat cake for dinner, kids'” and thats what we did at a nice bakery down the street! Small steps!

This picture is taken with my iPhone, I’m not sure about the quality or size, so let me know in the comments if you can read it! If not, I’ll find a link.

I She Shix Fissiesh Shwim By A Shtarfiss.

Under the sea

There’s a particular speech issue Sassy has had since she could talk. It’s an adorable inability to pronounce the “sh” sound. So every word with “sh” in it has a simple “s” sound.

fish becomes fiss
wish becomes wiss
dish becomes diss
sure becomes ssure

Some people advised me to take her to speech therapy to fix it right away.

As an unschooler, that goes against my grain. If something isn’t a problem for her, then I’m not going to take her in to get “fixed” just because it’s a problem for someone else. Especially in the early years, when I want her to be confident and fearless and NOT worrying about saying things the ‘right’ way or the ‘wrong’ way. So, the speech therapy never happened, and for 6 years she went merrily on her way–totally unaware of the role the sound “sh” plays in words. We all cherished (or, cherissed) her word pronounciation, even if sometimes we couldn’t understand what she was saying.

This past week we got out Python Path, Word-Ending Gamewhich we haven’t played in a while.

One of the word endings was -ash. So I helped her sound it out by saying, “See this “S-H”? That makes a “shhhhh” sound. She copied the sound, which was the first time I knew she could. “When you put the ‘a’ in front of it, it says, “ash”. She repeated it. Then I said, if this didn’t have the “h” on the end, it would make the “sssssssss” sound. So when you put the ‘a’ in front of it, it says, “ass”. She repeated it, and then started laughing. “You said ‘ass!'”

Ever since then, she’s put two and two together and is starting to differentiate between the ‘s’ and ‘sh’ sound. It’s a process in flux, however, and now she sometimes assumes that everytime she says ‘s’ should actually be the ‘sh’ sound.

At the aquarium, instead of saying, “I see six fishes swim by a starfish!” she said, “I she shix fissiesh shwim by a shtarfiss!” which I found even more awesome.

Reach out

Here’s to kids, aquariums, speech impediments, celebrating childhood, and loving the unique quirks of the people around us.

My New BFF…A Kinder, Gentler, Bitchier Me!

It’s the 5th week of a self portrait every week for a year. 2 weeks ago I discovered boundaries, and last week I discovered I didn’t need to be nice all the time. So far, those changes have been going pretty well. The boundary thing is tricky, because when you’ve spent your life not having any and then suddenly develop some, it changes personal dynamics with lots of relationships. So does suddenly growing a backbone and standing up for the things I need in my life, (or don’t need). My new phrase is “That doesn’t work for me.” It’s a nice middle ground between “well, I guess that’s OK” and “Oh yeah? F you!”

So really, I’m not bitchier, but I am becoming more assertive, and I like it. And I think, for the first time ever, if push came to shove, I really could be kinda sorta bitchy if someone started trampling over my newly grown boundaries. So that’s a start!

All of that has led to a kind of evolution of thought. Before, I couldn’t stand time to think by myself. I liked yoga for the workout it gave my body, but not for the meditative stuff. I liked to have lots of stuff going on around me, lots of stuff in my life, lots of chaos keeping me from having to sit still for a second. I’m beginning to see why. Because I never really valued my own self, I never really was at peace inside. I never really respected my internal dialogue, but rather judged it pretty harshly. Common thoughts:

“You don’t really need that”
“Don’t be so selfish”
“Why can’t you just deal with it?”
“If you were a better person, it wouldn’t bother you so much”
“You’re supposed to be meditating, why can’t you just stop thinking?”
“What’s wrong with you?”
“Stop thinking so much and just go do more important stuff.”
“it doesn’t matter, don’t let it bother you.”
“Just get over it. You are so weak!”

My own judgments betrayed me. If the inner me were a real live person, I couldn’t stand her harping and judging and meanness. I was no friend to me.

It’s like my brain was a room full of thought balloons trying to reach the ceiling, and I kept running around popping them back down with my hands. They’d always rise back up again, and I was continually forcing them down. Between the move this year, and getting rid of all the stuff that I kept around me to keep me busy, and moving around in the RV, and just general life stuff, I just couldn’t run around mentally anymore. All the thoughts and feelings just kind of rushed up and exploded like a balloon volcano.

At first, it was extremely uncomfortable to feel so much. But I started reading The Miracle of Mindfulness
(oy, you should see my book pile of stuff I’m reading all at the same time…)

There’s this quote in there:

“Feelings, whether of compassion or irritation, should be welcomed, recognized, and treated on an absolutely equal basis; because both are ourselves. The tangerine I am eating is me. The mustard greens I am planting are me. I plant with all my heart and mind. I clean this teapot with the kind of attention I would have were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath. Nothing should be treated more carefully than anything else. In mindfulness, compassion, irritation, mustard green plant, and teapot are all sacred.”

and I love it. I can allow myself to think whatever feelings or wants or needs I have without judging them. They simply are. What I choose to do with them is another thing, but their initial existence simply is.

“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).” – James Baraz”

Sometimes even the worst of emotions, when only watched without judgment, floats away after a while. It feels marvelous. It feels kind and gentle to myself. Consequently, at the same time that I am getting a little bitchier externally, internally I am softening up.

5:52

“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”
— Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times (Shambhala Library)

Be mindful, be gentle, be kind to yourself.

Happy Father’s Day!

I’m an hour past the midnight deadline to make this not belated, but the sentiment is the same….Fathers make the world go round!

There are tons of books out there on how to be a good father, hundreds and hundreds of pages of information on the subject. But it really doesn’t need to be that complicated. Just stick to the basics:

Hang out with the kids, and make sure you’re someone they want to hang out with in return!
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Always offer a helping hand when needed.
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Give hugs. And tickles. And your presence. Just give.
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If these 3 rules can be followed, then one day a letter will be written just like this one, which Golfer wrote for Hubby:
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There is nothing better in the world than to be, mainly, a great dad (in general) to your son!

(PS…Naturalist wrote her own card where she shortened “Happy Father’s Day” to “Happy F-day!” a la “Happy B-day!” I think she’s started a new Father’s Day tradition with that one.)