Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Parents sharing stories

I found this wonderful site today full of the personal stories of a writer I found it quite inspiring; as a parent I could relate wholeheartedly to many experiences shared...
Parenting Express gives a voice to parents and others who care for children. If you write creative nonfiction, poetry or fiction about your experiences of giving birth and the challenges and rewards of raising the next generation, we want to hear from you.

The transition from child to adolesence

My little baby is growing up right before my eyes - as the mother of a ten-year old girl I have been so aware this last year of her transition from child to being on the thresh-hold of becoming a young woman - it comes with great joy as I watch her blossom and unfold the beautiful person she is becoming and also with a tinge of sadness in saying goodbye to the innocent days of childhood.

Austrian philosopher, Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education, states, "In the ninth year the child really experiences a complete transformation of its being, which indicates an important transformation of its soul-life and its bodily-physical experiences."

Around the age of nine, children seem to leave the magical, imaginative world that they have lived in and "wake up". This happens as their identity and individuality starts to develop – Steiner observed this the “I forces” coming towards the soul.

If you observe you nine year old you may notice some fundamental changes – they may become more self-conscious, begin to form one on one friendships as opposed to playing in a larger group, become aware about being different to others, and may become more critical of their parents (especially the mother!) – there can be a lot of questioning and even a sense of lonliness.

Another inner process that can happen at this age is that they have an experience of their own mortality – now it may not be expressed in this clearly defined way – but you may find your child around 9 has an experience of death or illness that makes them aware of this part of life for the first time in a conscious way. For instance, they may have a dangerous fall when bushwalking and say to you: Mummy, I could have died.

I also noticed an interesting change in play – although my daughter still does continue with some imaginary play – she is beginning to collect things:

these little Japanese Momiji dolls

suncatchers, and “useful but weird objects – a box full of bottle tops, feathers, paper clips and all manner of bits and pieces.” Here I sense a search within her to “define” herself – to explore her own personality, likes and dislikes and what makes her different from someone else.

It's a good time to begin after school activities - learning an instrument, art-classes, girl guides, sports etc. Often society pushes us from a very young age to do this, but the younger child needs time and space to explore the world and develop their own imagination, while the older child needs to explore their emerging individuality and their new found talents.

It is a beautiful time to watch your child emerge from the cocoon of childhood and spread their wings and explore who they are becoming. And it is a journey of trust, as a parent, to allow them to become who they truly are and not impose upon them who we are or think they should be…

Some additional information can be found here.

Friday, January 23, 2009

50 Things about Me!

1. I got this idea from another blogger and it seemed like fun!
2. I started Honeybee Toys when my youngest daughter was four years old because I hated all the plastic landfill out there.
3. My clearest memories are of childhood. Children live in a magical, imaginative world - we should cherish it.
4. I drink alot of tea.
5. I am NOT crafty. But I appreciate and love the work of all the crafty mum's out there.
6. I enjoy painting mandala's when I have time.
7. I live in a mudbrick home and love it!
8. I love gardening and French provincial plants mixed with Australian natives.
9. I have two mums - one I grew up with, one that gave birth to me - they are both inspiring women.
10. I have a dog, two cats, a rooster, four hens and several goldfish - the children promised they would feed them all, but I still have to remind them EVERY day!
11. I have a spiritual view of life - I embrace all.
12. My husband makes me laugh, and laugh's at me a lot!
13. He keeps me grounded.
14. I have a soft spot for Bono and U2.
15. When I was 7 I had a pet blue-tongue lizard, it lived under a prickle bush at Venus Bay.
16. I have a possum living on top of my clothes dryer and it eats the cat food.
17. My two daughter's go to a Steiner school and thrive.
18. I am surrounded by an incredible and supportive group of friends.
19. I don't like ice-cream that much.
20. I'm a published author - Growing into Gardening with your children.
21. Before becoming a mum I worked in publishing as a Managing Editor.
22. I once met a man called Mario Schoenmaker who changed my life, forever.
23. I cry at movies all the time.
24. I am inspired by people that make a difference in the world.
25. Swimming in the ocean is the best.
26. I love bushwalking and don't do enough of it.
27. I always stop to look at the stars on a clear night.
28. My favourite books are the ones I read as a child: The Secret Garden, Little Women, The Diary of Anne Frank, Heidi.
29. I really get into reading to my children.
30. Everynight since my girls were born I have sung to them or said a prayer. It is our favourite time of day.
31. I have always wanted to bake bread.
32. I love living in Melbourne and the changing seasons.
33. In our house, birthdays are a 3 day festival.
34. I didn't discover doula's and birth assistants until I had already had my babies - what a difference that would have made.
35. Red wine is definitely better when shared.
36. I KNOW life goes on after death.
37. Everynight I light a candle and connect with that which is greater than me, and yet within me.
38. I am one of those people who likes the Sound of Music.
39. I have a special Dad who taught me how to put a worm on a hook, build a kite, grow a cabbage, skin a rabbit, drink froth on beer, paint a fence, camp under the stars and see the world.
40. I believe that the world is our mirror - what you see reflects who you are.
41. I don't get enough exercise.
42. I would do almost anything for a foot massage.
43. I read Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom - that was inspirational.
44. I love the smell of Christmas.
45. I think there should be more creative architecture in this world, and less destruction of our incredible natural world.
46. I like fancy dress parties.
47. I believe in reincarnation.
48. I don't care if my kids get muddy, as long as they're having fun.
49. I believe in freedom for every human being on this planet.
50. Some of the saddest and hardest times of my life have turned out to have taught me the most...there's always a light shining in the darkness, sometimes we just need to wait until it shows itself.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Tale of Despereaux!

Last week our family went to catch the movie adaptation of one of our favourite children’s books of all time – The Tale of Despereaux. What a disappointment! The movie so lacked the subtleties and depth of character of the book. However, we used it as an opportunity to discuss the creative process of movie making with our kids and how they thought it could have been done better – they did say they thought Miggery Sow’s character was just how they imagined her!

If you haven’t read the book, then I can’t highly recommend it enough – a really great read out aloud book for children 6-10 years of age. The book opens with these words: "The world is dark, and light is precious. Come closer, dear reader. You must trust me. I am telling you a story", and it never looks back. It truly is a tremendous tale about love and courage, betrayal and friendship, darkness and light. The characters are rich and many-layered with great voices. My two girls and I would read it together on the bed every night and it was very hard to keep just to one chapter – we all adored it and of course I cried!!!

Kate DiCamillo is quickly becoming one of our best-loved writers and we will be stocking all her books in our stores: Miraculous Journey of Edward Tullane and Because of Winn Dixie – both of which we have also read and thoroughly enjoyed!!!

Water play!

Summer if finally here in abundance!! If you're family is anything like mine you will have had lots of water play over the last few days. We have a big saucepan sitting in our kitchen sink saving water, and the girls used it this week to do apple bobbing - they totally enjoyed get their heads soaked!!! I have been a little sentimental these last few days remembering my own childhood when we could run under the sprinkler and summer days just seemed to go on and on forever! While we can't indulge in sprinkler play anymore, there's still plenty of ways to cool down with water play. How about testing the loading capacity of these little boats. In order to do this, first step was to collect everything, that can be loaded onto the ships (stones, shells, coins,...) and drop it into the water (saved from the shower of course). Taking turns, everyone now has to take something out of the water and load it onto the boat. The one, at whose turn the boat will overbalance will loose the game. Lots of fun on a sunny afternoon.

Little walnut boats are fun to make too. Take half a walnut shell for the full, a toothpick for your mast, a small piece of modelling wax or clay to attach the mast to the hull, and colored paper for the sail. We've found some great ideas like this one in The Big Summer Activity Book by Anne and Peter Thomas available at our stores - it's a great investment and inlcludes tips on watching the constellations, bush walking and orientation, as well as heaps of inspiration for the beach and summer art and craft!

Friday, January 16, 2009

New Blog!

This year I am determined to start my blog in earnest! I love sharing parenting ideas with people as I meet them in my stores and hearing their inspiration and experiences too, so I thought this would be a great way to keep on sharing. But in addition to that, as a working mum setting up a new business over the last five years, I have noticed that I have taken far too few photos of my children lately, and they just keep growing before my eyes. So this blog is for me and my family too - to remind me to keep taking photos and enjoy every moment together!!!

I draw inspiration from many sources - the work of Rudolf Steiner is one - I see my work as a mother to nourish my children to be their true selves and trust all that is wonderful and unique about them!

Receive the children in reverence; educate them in love; let them go forth in freedom.
Rudolf Steiner