Chris asked the attachlings how they would like to spend the day. The first caveat, though, was that it had rained so much in the previous few days, that we needed to think of ‘inside’ fun.

Nic and Theo decided, quite quickly, that they’d clamor for a trip to the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore. So off we went.

This was our first trip to Baltimore since moving to the house…which meant that the trip was that much longer.

But doing something you haven’t done for a while gives perspective. You see all around you with ‘new eyes.’

We  just started going to MSC in January, and yet, how can Nic have outgrown it already?! The Kids Room is great for Whinnie and certainly much used and appreciated by Theo. But it’s ideal for those 8 and under (for my Indy friends…sorta like PlayScape) not those who are about to turn 10. The good news is, it’s fully enclosed. So while Chris and I play with Whinnie or Theo, Nic can go around and explore, make friends, do his own thing. He’s completely trustworthy. Not only is he not going to leave the room without a parent…he also is going to play well with others and not become one of ‘those kids’ — you know, the ones that you try to keep your younger children away from, because they are rough or disrespectful. I am glad that Nic is worthy of this trust and independence.

I spent time while Whinnie played at the water table really listening to the parents around me. Whinnie is such a serious and focused child at the water table. All she needs of me is to stay nearby…she has the rest taken care of.

It became clear to me that a good 80% of what parents say to young children in a venue such as this isn’t for the children at all…it’s said for the other parents.

Lest you think that the point to this post is complaining, it’s not. It’s really about my own ongoing process of learning to listen more, talk less and really understand the impact of my own words and actions as a mama.

I have always talked too much myself. I am trying to do a large bit of self-rehabilitation on this one. I know that my intent was good, but the process has left Theo and Nic to be pulled into their ‘heads’ too much…when what they really need is to be IN the experience with the whole of their senses.

So, I am learning to talk less and then only as much as I need to. A look, a few words, a gesture, these things communicate just as well, without taking the whole experience to a linguistic exercise.

So I look around me at how other people parent. This is not so I can pat myself on the back. This is so I can really hear how my words might sound to my children. This is so I can get outside myself and learn.

Onward with my reading. Rhythms of Learning is, at 350ish pages, a long book. I must read when I can, mull over the words, and understand it deeply. This is the only way to ascertain what parts resonate and what parts don’t. Everything I am and must be is poured into this thing called ‘family’ on a daily basis. All outside influences, regardless of how revered by others, must pass through this filter. I will keep that which works for us and let the rest flow away.

And there’s still cooking, cleaning, homecare, child care and knitting to be done along the way.

I remind myself that it is good and proper to be this busy…especially if it is in service to this home and it’s much-loved inhabitants.


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