Random notes from the road

  • You can learn a lot about your teenager when you listen to his iPod, played over the big van sound system for hours on end, particularly when you ask him why he chose those songs. My eldest is an uncurable romantic whose taste runs from Ben Folds to Frank Sinatra. All in all, a pretty good bunch of songs. My second child was particularly fond of "Eye of the Tiger" and Nah, nah, nah, Goddbye." He won't be the DJ on the way home;-) Patrick was reluctant to hand over his iPod for general listening. You can bet I'm going to listen to his entire playlist. My daughter's iPod could easily be mistaken for my own. Except, of course, mine was fully loaded with books. We downloaded SEVENTEEN books on tape at audible.com before leaving home. I think I fear boredom more than the children do.
  • We are so heavily invested in Leapsters and Leapster cartridges that we could have probably paid to fly down. It must be noted, however, that the children with Leapsters say that they were not bored at all after twelve hours in the car.
  • After listening to Christopherus downloads through South Carolina while Karoline screamed  I should have been  an even gentler, kinder mother, recommitted to quiet natural toys. That's what Waldorf has always done for me. One would think that. However, I pulled into a Walmart in Georgia and bought this blue elephant in an act of sheer desperation. Maybe I can sell it on ebay when we get home.
  • I need to learn to choose my words more carefully. As we were doing a quick rest stop break, I reminded the children that this was to be "real quick--we don't have time to dally." A child who shall remain nameless looked up at me with gathering tears. "What's wrong?"I asked (noting that this kid had been golden the whole way down). "I think I might have to poop and I just can't be real quick about it and I don't  know what to do!" We stayed a little longer than planned;-)
  • We celebrated the crossing of every state border with candy pulled from a secret stash. This was not my idea, but the idea of a far more intrepid traveler. I am quite sure Ben Feingold was spinning in his grave. It worked beautifully.
  • I don't think I will ever forget the glimpses of my ten-year-old daughter in the rearview window doing everything in her power to console her sister as tears ran down my big girl's face. Nor will I forget that when we finally got out of the van, Karoline clung to Mary Beth and would not come to me. Trips are all about relationships.
  • I kept playing up the Florida border with promises of the "the best orange juice you've ever had." I felt a bit silly when we walked into the Welcome Center in time to see the lady pouring orange juice into the dispenser. The same exact orange juice we buy at home...
  • No one missed the irony when I read the "Welcome to the Sunshine State" sign. Huge drops of rain fell from big black clouds at that very moment. It poured relentlessy all the way to our destination.
  • More irony an hour or so later when I remarked that I have a heretofore undiagnosed fear of bridges. Seconds later, the sign: Caution on bridge: Repairs Underway.
  • That sign had nothing on the one outside my aunt's house: Beware of Alligators. I'm having trouble getting Mary Beth to go outside at all.
  • My mother's house is beautiful. I never noticed before though how every table surface is glass. Note to self: buy Mom more Windex when we leave.
  • I think I could live for a week on fresh fruit salad.
  • The same ocean that was nothing but fearless fun when I was a child looks big and intimidating and fraught with danger when I'm the only adult on the beach and all my children are playing in the waves.
  • I wrote to a small group of dear friends about the nursing strike that followed our trip. I was assured of their prayers and offered advice. Down on the beach, on the second day, I held my baby who was terrified of the sounds of the surf. We  just swayed to the rhythm of the ocean while her siblings played. For hours. And then, I sat down, exhausted, into a beach chair, and Karoline turned to me and--finally-- nursed herself to sleep. When I went back to my bag, high up on the dry sand, about an hour later, I saw I missed two calls. One was from Texas and the other from Colorado--both worlds away from my my Florida beach, fussy baby and overfull breasts. And both voice messages were full of warmth and advice and empathy and prayers--right then--for Karoline and me. And I am quite sure, those prayers were answered. It's a big world; Godly friendships are bigger.

While I appreciate the beauty, the materials and some of the methods of Waldorf education, I am not a follower of Rudolf Steiner, his educational philosophy, or his religion. I am a practicing Catholic who is very clear in teaching the faith to her children. Please see this post for any further explanation of incorporating methods or materials that might also appear in Waldorf schools into your home. Take inspiration from what is good and what in in harmony with the true faith and leave the rest. If you can't discern, then leave it all alone.

  • Dsc_0478