Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Making sense of it all!!

Finally the finished dress!!

I think the Little Miss approves, which is great news!!

I start at the Waldorf on Thursday this week. This may all seem somewhat of a change of allegiance, but I have always felt that for the early years ie: birth - around 3, Waldorf is a wonderful environment for children to be in, so it isn't, I am as reinforced as ever about Montessori.

The group I am running is a parent and toddler group and we all work together in the room, making bread, doing handcrafts and observing the children, allowing them the freedom and independence to join in by first observing themselves and then participating. We also play games in a circle and share a snack together.

To me, this isn't too dissimilar to the Montessori environment that my children then moved onto bar the presence of the parent. I have often felt that this wonderful nurturing, parent-secure environment that is created for the first two or so years at the Waldorf, neatly merges into the need of the child to move onto more independence away from the adult and thus lies the prepared environment in the Montessori. I realise this is over simplistic, but I feel that there is some complement to these two very different educational methods as well as some very different ideas too.

This weekend I completed "The Silent Journey" at the Montessori. We spent the time observing all the classes (Toddler, Primary, Lower El, Upper El and the Middle school) in silence, reflecting on our observations. The second part of the weekend was spent being shown and being given the opportunities to use the materials in each of the rooms. It was a very humbling experience. I felt like I was almost being shown something forbidden as there was this strange sense of awe and almost loss looking at things that I had no idea how to use and then, after being shown how the tools produce the formula or results etc, having that real "a-ha!" moment! I have to say, I am actually envious of the opportunities the mini Beehives have at that school!

So returning to my original point about the morphing of Waldorfian ideas with the thoughts and philosophies that Maria Montessori had, I really feel that the idea of parent supported groups for babies through the time they would begin a toddler program, for me working in the Waldorf environment, neatly includes the need for attachment, the need of the child to observe the parent, the need to explore and be curious in a safe environment, the use of simple toys and the stretching of the mind, emphasis on sound and voice and a natural prepared environment.

Waldossori?? Not sure that anyone would buy it!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Crisp, sunny, winter day, what better thing to do than go to the playground and burn off some energy?
Only, not if it is 21F with a windchill of 18!!!!
One of my less intelligent ideas was carried out yesterday with LMB and Master Beehive the younger. Master Beehive the elder was on his way back from a camp-in at the Boston Science Museum with Mr Beehive, so I decided we needed "out"!! All children were suitably dressed in attire that would put the Michelin man to shame whilst I, in my infinite wisdom, decided that "clothing was for wimps" and donned merely a couple of sweaters and scarf, pair of gloves (and trousers too natch!) and of course, the obligatory shades, but no jacket or hat.

Such a nice day, let's go to the playground at the beach right?............. WRONG!
The playground at the beach has the wind at the beach and the wind at the beach comes gusting across the Sound at the beach. On pulling up at the playground, I notice lack of other human beings and excitedly tell the children they have the whole playground to themselves..........of COURSE they do, what other nutters would be out in this weather.............well, other than one family..............who were British.
As we all sat in the small pocket of sunshine drinking hot chocolate from a flask and eating ginger biscuits......we were the united front of English eccentricity.........you would have been proud of us!!!!!!!

On warming up my dead fingers, I managed to finish these next two projects which I am pleased with. LMB loves her new funky flares, and my sewing machine simply adores his new quilted cover (bastard, like he needed to smugly share that info with me after I had sat at the beach in the freezing cold!!!!)

Today we were going to make some bread for lunch as we are off from school, but last night the oven decided enough was enough! After ten years of service, he decided to bow out with a somewhat spectacular fireworks display running around the lower element! I think my slow cooker is going to step into the spotlight this week until the new kid arrives!

Oh and finally, I have a new job!! Just an itty job that fits in perfectly with my schedule. I will be running a parent and toddler class one morning a week at the Waldorf school at the bottom of the road! I can hardly call this work, making crafts and baking bread with lots of friends each day.....pah, I have such a tough life!!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Saturday project

It is amazing what you can do with a spare couple of hours, some remnants of fabric and a pair of cheap jeans.....

My new toy arrived the other day and I have been itching to try it out. My head is spinning with all the ideas I can finally put into practice, so here is the first one which came to a total cost of $7.00 to make, yes, that included the jeans from the consignment store!!

My next project is the first of a few very early Christmas presents- bugger the January sales now - and then I am going to attempt a summer dress for LMB. Watch this space....

Friday, January 18, 2008

Anyone for knitted yoghurt?

In response to an e-mail received this week:

"I must have a word with you about this knitting obsession though - who knows where it could lead. I should hate for you to become lanoline dependant, spending increasing amounts of time sniffing and touching in wool shops and driving around the state in search of sheep to hug finally ending up in the gutter and throwing your life away. I think you should begin by putting a strict ceiling on the number of patterns, pairs of needles and balls of wool you have in the house at any one time. I will, however, give you a huge tip about the types of garments you should be creating for T, W and I (and more importantly R!!). You need to know that knitted swimming costumes, regardless of the quality of the wool or craftmanship, don't work. Please don't put them through the embarrassment of emerging like Persephone from the foam with a ton weight of 4-ply clagged round their knees and ankles suspended on flimsy shoulder straps. NOT attractive."

I wanted to have the opportunity to respond and say that I was not intending to make Mr Beehive too many horizonally striped sweaters with his initials on the front or knit too many all in one jumpsuits for my salsa dancing, gym manic mother. The thought hadn't even crossed my mind to think about bathing suits however, now there IS an idea............so

Frances - This one is for you:

I guess you don't want to hear about the arrival of my latest toy then???

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Frog Prince

Remember the scene in "The one with all the Thanksgivings" in Friends?
This was my own little Joey this afternoon!!

What a nutjob!

Am having a bit of a writer's block at the moment. I hope to be fully recovered in the next couple of weeks so ..........put on the kettle, but don't go anywhere!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Business of being Born



Look at the faces of the docs when asked how often they get to see a natural birth - they look like they don't even understand the question for a second!!!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Out of Hibernation

Early this morning, sometime around 6am, Mama bear was awoken by the padding paws of Father bear crossing the den toward the "great outdoors". Sleepily she snuggled further down in her nest pulling in baby bear closer for warmth, content that her other cubs were still snoring peacefully. The gradual light from outside the den was evidence enough that hibernation was over........at least for this year!!!

The first morning back after the holidays always feels like a huge shock to my system. This Christmas we haven't had any visitors and so have been just the five of us, hunkering down in front of the fire most afternoons, playing board games or watching movies, or, in my case, knitting*. We have only ventured out for essential supplies (yes knitting needles were one of these essentials!), to go to "Stew Lemons" as LMB delightfully calls it (well daddy does this place - I can't stand the shop!), to attend a badly run NYEve party for the kids when we should have remained home (perhaps this hibernation period has made us particularly choosy over the types of things we head out for??) or to walk the dog. It has been great fun! Mr Beehive has been off work for a whole week and a half - nearly the longest we ever have him home at any one time.

It hasn't all been fun and games however, Little Miss Beehive and Master Beehive the younger (primarily, but with his older brother joining in for good measure now and then) have been at loggerheads on several occasions that has had me ready to pack up and leave home, we have had WAAAY too many games of Star Wars for comfort (Mr Beehive has been even been drawn in to "feel the force" on occasions and I have lost count of the times we have been subjected to "Mary Pottums" by her #1 obsessed 3yr old fan aaggghhhh!!!

*With regards to my knitting, that I took up last winter as a curiosity or loosely termed hobby more than anything else, it has become an obsession!! I have finished one dress for LMB and nearly a cardigan this holiday and the sweater I started for MB the elder is in its last stages omg! I am already slavering over my next project (a cute hat with pigtail holes for my niece!) and the sordid thoughts of rolling around on the knitting shop floor on piles and piles of beautifully handspun, dip dyed alpaca wool........ahhhh the thought!! Mr Beehive, despite approving of my safe and sometimes wearable craft, is amazed that the cost of a button these days! It isn't my fault, the shop lures me in, sucks my inner soul (and my credit card), my good sense and feeds me patterns that say "simple", "easy", "any numptey can do this one" and then the profur these gorgeous bamboo needles that feel so ooooohhh! and the wool - ahhhh! - don't even take me there - I think I have moved over to the dark side, perhaps I should start trusting the force too?? - but it may be too late for me!! (of course, this obsession will only be understood by a fellow knitter - to all others of you I will appear like some crazed, unhinged person with an unhealthy attitude to playing with sheep offerings!!)

Now we are in a new year - funnily enough it doesn't feel any different to the last one so far, but there is nothing like an opportunity to tweak a few imperfections or have a good clear out of stale stuff, not that I am one for resolutions anymore, they don't tend to get much further than the 4th before they are broken or in serious disrepute!

So my only New Year's resolution this year is to not have any resolutions then I can't fail!!

However I do wish you all the largest dose of health and happiness throughout this year!!!!!

Yours 2008ishly
The Beehive