My Mom’s husband is my savior today – he took BOTH kids for a while, and I soooo needed a break. You see, Paul has taken one whole nap this week, and over the course of the past 5 weeks or more, has spent multiple days per week not taking a nap, though we go through the routine every single day. Every day, he falls asleep (except yesterday, I think, when he just seemed wide, wide awake). He still nurses, and so falls asleep on the breast, he stays asleep when I lift him up onto my shoulder, cross the room, but as we stand in front of the crib or as I lower him into it, he opens his eyes and that is that. It is very, very, very, very, very frustrating. Did I say it was very frustrating? It is. Not just because of the ‘wasted’ time (it feels wasted though I know it really isn’t, but I could totally be doing other things in those 45 minutes), but because it makes it very difficult for Elizabeth and I to do our school because he gets into everything and is very distracting. I am trying to employ different methods of dealing with him not sleeping, such as leaving him in his crib for a while to play and have a quiet time, or bringing him upstairs but leaving him in the Pack-N-Play for a quiet time, though he figured out how to get out of the Pack-N-Play today so my life is even harder now. I have also called around for some advice. Actually, if you have any, be my guest and leave it in the comments, ‘cuz I sure need it!
After some very teething-ish behavior the other night when Paul got up, I have deduced that he is probably teething – and has been, he is on his 4th tooth in these five weeks, two of which are molars. So, he can’t be blamed for his lack of wanting to sleep, eh? And if I stick firmly to the routine, he should fall back into it when it’s over. Because A 20-MONTH OLD DROPPING A NAP IS NOT AN OPTION FOR ME. So, please don’t leave that tid-bit of advice, because I won’t take it. Anyway, (do I sound frustrated?) before the teething-ish behavior the other night, I got wondering if maybe he is understimulated. He is very busy and quite bright, he was very responsive very early as an infant, but unlike the way in which I used to play with Elizabeth every day for hours, I think I have just been letting her entertain him because I think I need my house cleaner than it is or ever will be with two kids under five, or am lost in a thought that I need to get posted on my blogs. It’s great that they play together – and they sure do – but maybe he would like/needs a little more. The kids don’t go to a sitter because I’m here all the time, maybe we need some extra diversion, (that would be fun in Spanish).
I recall seeing a blog somewhere in which a mother had three young children, and she referred to her homeschooling activities as ‘preschool,’ ‘pre-preschool,’ and ‘pre-pre-preschool.’ I generally don’t think highly of pushing young kids into school, but it seemed like just a light-hearted title in which she did a more structured preschool with the oldest, and activities that included the younger ones as well. I got wondering if Paul might like to do a pre-pre-preschool, he’s only 1 1/2, but he might enjoy doing fun little activities together, and Elizabeth and I might be able to incorporate them into our school, in ways in which she can help me put together props like liquid kaleidoscope bottles and making our own rainbow crayons. Looking ahead, it might even make it easier to start school with Paul as he would be used to the routine of doing loosely structured activities all ready. I have also wondered if spending some extra time with him during the day might help him wean completely from nursing because I’m feeling like I’m about ready to be done with it. If nothing else, I would like to spend more time with him just to watch more closely as he grows. He showed me the other day that he can put a puzzle back together, rather than just pull it apart – I didn’t know that!
Why is this relevant to Seed To Seedling? I thought I might include it in my posts, because the blog is meant to be reflections to share with other readers but for myself as well, as a record to look back on. It is also relevant because I feel like all that has been going on is helping me see where my arrow is being pointed in relation to wondering whether to stick with our current curriculum or go a different route when we finish it up (see last week’s post, Is Our Curriculum Good Enough?) I am leaning towards going in a different direction, like with Global Village School. I was worried though that the Global Village School curriculum is too flexible for me, or that I would be too lazy or lacking in self-discipline to put it together well. Maybe I’m just scared that I will feel lost and not be able to make a proper plan, that I won’t be able to connect the dots that need connecting and Elizabeth will suffer for this or will be sent to public school. It seems silly written down in front of me, but it’s a very real doubt I have, even though I’m not lazy and am quite self-disciplined, and I have enjoyed planning our school as I don’t follow the guide precisely.
But a few things this week have made me feel like maybe I do desire to be able to have more playing space within the curriculum to change and shape and mold and tinker:
1- Elizabeth wanted to make a gingerbread house this holiday season, so I got some graham crackers, whipped up some homemade frosting and it worked! It stood up with four walls, and had a roof! In all honesty it kind of looked like a shack as you can see, but it was a standing shack! Actually, she was ok with a shack, and we kind of joked about it being a fisherman’s gingerbread shack because she had chosen Swedish fish as some of her candy decorations. This is important to me because it was not part of the curriculum, but something that Elizabeth wanted to do. I haven’t been terribly excited with the Christmas unit in MBTP because it involves Santa, and we have had the no-Santa talk, but there are definitely mixed messages coming in to her from every angle because no one else in our family (except my older sister) really supports the idea, and making Santa decorations with school hasn’t helped. But we had the materials, and she could see the images in the parent’s guide, so we did the Santa activities. I can think of some other good winter-time books that I would have rather done, although the book that was included in the curriculum was very pretty.
2-Contemplating doing the pre-pre-preschool with Paul and trying to incorporate those activities into Elizabeth’s school also makes me wonder if I do desire to have a curriculum that is a little bit more flexible, like Global Village, in which I decide what we will do. (Am I becoming bolder?)
3- I have learned to move out of my comfort zone with some of the activities in Moving Beyond The Page thus far. This week, an activity that was included in the unit was making play doh. Making play doh is something that I never thought that I would do. It was just something that I felt was too hard, too messy, has ingredients that I just don’t know what they are, etc. I just felt like I was not at all interested in making play doh. But it was listed as one of the activities in the Christmas unit, so I decided that I would give it a try. After numerous failed attempts at trying to find cream of tartar, I recalled that my grandmother had once made play doh with Elizabeth, so I called her to see if she could give me just the amount that I needed. She agreed. So finally, armed with all of the necessary ingredients, I went for it. And it was easy! I called my grandmother and left her a message to let her know that it was a success. Afterwards, she said that I sounded excited in my message – because I was, I was elated that I had succeeded in making play doh. Aren’t I dorky or what?! Perhaps I could move out of that comfort zone, especially while learning along side Elizabeth. Isn’t this part of what homeschooling is about?
Lastly, and in a completely different direction, I am contemplating dropping the “Reflections, Week…” in my post titles. Do you think this would make them better/more interesting, or do you feel neutral about it? Go ahead and vote:
Well, please leave me a comment if you have some sleep training advice for me on dealing with a 1 1/2 year old who does not want to take naps or go to sleep by himself. I hope you all have a very merry holiday! 🙂