Saturday, September 28, 2013

Rain or Shine: A Childhood In Nature











A few days ago I told a Mom who has teenaged children about Rafael's picky eating, and she said: "You know what I think kept my kids healthy when they were little? Getting outside every day no matter what weather we had. Even if it was pouring rain, we put on rain coats and boots, and got out into nature."

This made me smile, because it's exactly what we do. Unless one of us has a fever, we are out in the woods every day, jumping in puddles, building stick forts, looking for mushrooms and salamanders, and balancing on fallen trees. 

My floor is covered with little leaves, burs, and bits of earth just hours after vacuuming, but it's part of the deal. My son and I get ticks, bruises, wet toes, and mud in our hair. That's fine. 

Recently I had the opportunity to sign Raffi up for daycare, and I considered it for a few days. I thought about what I could do with the time he would be there...creative projects, exercise, gardening, photography. I considered what it would mean for him: learning to integrate into a group of children; learning to be apart from me for longer periods of time; playing with children and making new friends. I wondered if he would eventually get bored staying home with me and if I was possibly keeping him from socializing with children his age. 

Then one morning we were out in the forest, lugging big sticks for a fort, when I stopped to show him a cluster of mushrooms. As he knelt down and began asking a plethora of questions, full of enthusiasm and curiosity, I finally made a decision. He would stay home with me another year.

I was reminded that this opportunity I have, staying home with him, able to raise him and spend time with him, is so incredibly precious. There are many years ahead when he will learn what teachers and other children have to teach him. Until then, nature and I have quite a bit to share with him. 

I had a silent, inner dialogue with my son...saying to him, "These years are for you. I am dedicating them to you." And it felt so, so right. 



xoxoxo

13 comments:

  1. What lovely photos of your forest that you wander daily. Wise mother you are! This time is so short--enjoy your little one! ♥
    Martha Ellen

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  2. What you wrote in this post is very beautiful and inspiring. Thank you.
    Raquel

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  3. Beautiful reflection Dawn agree with you in every way .love the pictures;)

    enjoy your Sunday . Mary

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  4. Rafael is such a lucky little boy to have a mom like you! I can honestly say you will not regret keeping him for another year with you..if I could turn back time, I would keep my kids home with me, and push aside the fear that their peers would be ahead academically. They are now 12, and 9, and as they get older, they are spending more time away from home...and I miss them terribly! Enjoy your time with him, because time really does go by really fast.

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  5. Good call!! I was blessed and lucky to be home with all mine till they started school and I do believe it's why they all turned out so well! :) Enjoy every minute!!

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  6. I couldn't agree more. I went to preschool at 4 (three mornings a week for 2 hours), but I am just stunned by everyone who sends their 2 year old to "school" (i.e., really daycare). It is crazy. I know everyone has a different situation, but if you can, being home with your young children is best, I think.

    My brother and I went to daycare for a few weeks right after our parents' divorce. And even though it was owned by a friend of my Mom's and it was considered a "great" place, we hated it. I mean hated it. To this day I remember how upset I was. Everyone's experiences are different, but I just don't see what is so wonderful about daycare if you have a loving, great Mom or Dad who is home.

    Raffi is a lucky little boy!

    Elise

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  7. I was able to stay with my three little girls in their early years and it was wonderful. I think it was extremely good for them and I know the bonds that were created then stay with us today.
    We took everyday events and turned them into learnings.....
    You're doing a beautiful job Dawn!

    Joann xo

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  8. I was home with my son and doing what you do until he was 3. Then he went to preschool, I volunteered to work there and they soon hired me. I shared my creativity with the other children as well as my son and it was wodnerful.

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  9. Thank you all so much for your encouraging words!

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  10. Lovely little post...and it has made me realise that when I have a child one day I want to live some place with beautiful outdoors too...xxx

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  11. Good for you! That is what I did and I now have wonderful, but VERY busy, 11 and 13 year olds. Enjoy every moment when they are young!!

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  12. It's so nice to read this! It's hard as a mom to give up a full time career, money, free time, etc. but it's so worth it to get to have so much time with your son! My son is four now and I've been home with him the whole time. Nothing can replace that time, they grow so quickly! I constantly get questions from other moms about when I'm going to put him in pre-school, etc. but for me & my son this has been the best decision! I love being outside with him every day & getting to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together!

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    1. I also was wondering if you've heard of waldorf school? they say kids don't really need to start academics till age 7 & that before that it's mostly about free play, imagination and getting out into nature, reading about this way of thinking made me realize that my son will still learn just fine even if he doesn't have years of pre-school!

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