Monday, March 29, 2010

the best toy

I have purchased many beautiful wooden toys over the years. But really, nothing beats the cardboard box.

Friday, March 19, 2010


A couple of weeks ago when I was in Comox, I had the privilege of seeing all these mums and dads again with their new babies (we missed you Kelsey and Steve, you too Sean). This group took my class last October and it is always amazing to me to see women and men born as mothers and fathers. Birth truly is a transformation.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Today is my birthday and I turned 35. For whatever reason, this birthday feels significant. I feel like I am at a turning point in my life, in many respects. Instead of feeling terrified, I feel excited, clear and renewed. My dreams for my life are very clear, I see myself differently than I did in my 20's, even when I turned 30. I think the most poignant part of 35 is that it is the end of the self-loathing era. All those years feeling that I wasn't good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, a good enough mother, wife, friend....oh it goes now over. Sure I'll still have days when I feel down, days when I hate my jeans as though they have betrayed me by holding me a bit too close as I then blame the dryer. We all have moments like that. But moments and a lifestyle are two very different things.

The other day my mother called me to say that she would give me $5.00 for every pound I lost. I was speechless. In the past I would have felt a pit in my stomach, tears welling up in my eyes and witnessing my mind race about how I wasn't pretty enough. Ah, but this time it was different. This time I didn't take that on. This time I responded with "are you on crack?" And I meant it. Now, I love my mum, and I know that her heart is in the right place, she wants me to be healthy, but honestly, this has been going on since I was 9. For a long time I bought into that story, and now it is over for me. I could be upset about what she said, but actually, I am grateful. It feels like it was a "how much do you really love yourself?" kind of test and I passed. 35 feels like a metamorphosis. Funny how my birthday is less than a week from the first day of Spring.

So to celebrate this day, I spent it with my children. We had the best day ever. All I asked from my son for my birthday was "a day of kindness and co-operation" And they both gave it to me. Best present EVER. I took them down to Victoria and I bought a cute little vintage medicine cabinet for my bathroom, we ate at my favorite restaurant and then went to a couple of my favorite shops including this one. We were going to go to the museum, but my son asked if we could go to the park instead. The sun was out and I couldn't think of a more wonderful thing to do. So we went to the park, played in the playground, walked through the meadows, went for an ice cream and off to the beach. As we meandered home, we stopped at Goldstream and looked at the water, it sparkled in the sunlight and the moss hanging from the maples looked like magic. We came home, made a yummy dinner (including the amazing cake my husband baked from scratch for me) and now, kids are sleeping and I am so thankful for this day. This really was a Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I am a dreamer. When I was young it was endearing, as I grew older, some thought it became trite, almost inconvenient. I have dreams for myself, for my children, for my family. I dream about my career and what I really want to create, I dream about a beautiful home (which I am blessed to have) I dream about traveling and being blissfully anonymous. I dream about the kind of mother I want to be and escape from the mother I actually see myself as. I dream about having children that are fully embraced, allowed to have an unadulterated childhood, one where as adults they look back and know they are so wonderful because of it. Part of my dream has been that Waldorf education would be part of that.

Now that I am on the verge of leaving Waldorf, mainly for financial reasons, I am having to check in with my dreams and realize that they are also stories. This story that I have been living, the one that says Waldorf will keep my children safe, happy and held has really challenged what I think about myself as a mother and us as parents. While we haven't made a final decision yet, we are leaning towards French immersion for the fall. This process has really forced me to look deep within myself and see that I am actually a great mother. I love my kids more than life itself and will do whatever it takes to nurture, support, encourage and embrace them. While Waldorf education is a fantastic option for many, embarking on a new form of education doesn't change who I am as a mother, it doesn't change our family. We will still have a nature table, we will still eat good food, the Christmas Angels will still come on Christmas Eve and we will still keep media out of our home (as much as we can). We are still loving, caring, creative parents, Waldorf or not.

I had a dream the other night. Liam was 7 and going to his first day of grade one. As I stood at the entrance to the school, he and all his friends turned into Beluga whales. They all dove into the sea, free and transformed. As I stood on the shore feeling sad that he had left, I noticed a humpback whale going after them. It was clear that the children (whales) were in danger. As I stood helpless on the shore, my son and his friends managed to outsmart the whale and get away safely. They came back to the shore and turned back into children. My son, back into my arms.

Transformation and letting go is difficult for most people and this experience has been nothing less than challenging for me. I realize that part of the struggle for me is that up until now, I have largely been able to control his environment, what he is exposed to and how he has been embraced in these all important first 6 years. And while I don't know what lies ahead, I do know that my son is an amazing person. He is outgoing, curious, energetic, creative, deeply imaginative all wrapped into one sensitive little soul. The part that is hard is not really about what education he receives, it is about trusting that he will be OK. It is about trusting that the world is actually a good place for all of us. It is also about trusting that if a new school doesn't work out, that we are resourceful parents who will find another option for him. This is the letting go. This is about standing on the shore, holding the space for him as he embarks on a new journey, always supporting him, always there with open arms. They grow up so fast.

And so begins the journey.....

Thursday, March 4, 2010

what you didn't learn in prenatal classes

My son is now 6 and he will be going to grade 1 in September. Sounds simple, except that I don't know which grade 1 he will go to. We have been in the Waldorf system for 5 years now and mainly without question. It is a loving, nurturing educational system that embraces the child as a whole and meets their developmental needs without pushing them to do things they are not ready for.

Why on earth would I not want to continue in such a school? It is expensive. While it is one of the least expensive private schools around, it is still a private school and unfortunately, we are not millionaires.

So this week I began my search for a new school. There are so many choices, public, French Immersion, Catholic, Alternative, Waldorf, Montessori, home schooling, it is dizzying. Public is where I began since we are already in the private system and it it's time is coming to a close. There is a good public school close to home, so I went to meet the principal and he was nice. The school was nice. The library, nice. Inspiring? Not so much. When I asked about their outside time I was told that the BC government requires 30 min of physical activity a day. That could be in the gym, outside or are you ready?? An exercise DVD geared towards kids. I am still tripping over the words "exercise DVD" Why not just go outside? Do I now need to buy my son leg warmers as part of his school supplies? How did teachers become so disconnected from their students? When did Jane Fonda become an appropriate part of elementary education?

In a couple of weeks we are going to explore the French Immersion school. I hear great things about it, it's in a beautiful old building, great music and art program. But will it still nurture my son's belief in fairies? Will he be rushed into an academic machine that I am so afraid to throw him into? Or will he thrive, loving to learn, making new friends and enjoying the family vacation to Belgium that we could now take since we would no longer be paying for tuition.

Pregnancy, birth, babies, we all get through it somehow. Each phase has it's own challenges and for many of them there are groups, classes, resources to support you through them. Choosing the right school for your children in balance with the health of the family, now that's something I didn't learn in prenatal classes.