A Guest Post: Take Pause With The 10 X 7 Rule

I have a lovely reader who told me about a valuable tool she uses to “keep calm and carry on”.  It was so profound that I asked her to write a guest post and share her thoughts with all of you.  Thank you, Jennifer S.!

Take Pause

by Jennifer S.

"Our behavior is a reflection of who we are at the moment. Hating your child’s behavior is like saying you don’t love the part of your child that wants to behave that way." Author Unknown

My mother was a gem. She mothered me like a lot of others mothers did in the early 70’s – the natural way. Quite frankly, she mothered me in the spirit of Rudolf Steiner’s teachings without knowing who Rudolf Steiner was. My memories of how I was mothered, coupled with my inherent nature and my experience teaching Waldorf preschool have all shaped how I mother my 22- month –old- daughter. I’d venture to say to that I am doing an exceptional job. But I do have my moments. We all do. After all, we are mothers which typically means we wear a couple of hundred hats a week. We are allowed to be human and to have not so stellar mothering moments.

For me, the hardest part of mothering is not having that knee jerk reaction to behavior I consider bothersome or unwanted. I get in a tunnel sometimes and when my daughter does something that pulls me out of my mothering tunnel, I find that I react with an immediate exasperated sigh. I hate this. I do it more when I am tired and feeling like the weight of the world is upon me. (Which it is – I am, after all raising a human being!) I am conscious of the fact that I do this and I am also conscious of the downcast look on my daughter’s face.

I know mothers who do this very same thing and often times their reactions are even more extreme. Dealing with unwanted behavior (and by unwanted, I am referring to behavior that is annoying to us as mothers, not behavior that can cause harm to the child or others) is a daily, hourly, sometimes minute by minute challenge. So how can mothers put their negative reactions in check in an effort to be a peaceful parent to their child?

When I asked myself this question about a year ago, I thought back to my gem of a mother and some pearls of wisdom she provided me with long ago as I struggled with little ones both as a nanny and in a preschool setting. She told me to “take pause” and consider what impact your child’s behavior will have in seven different increments of time. I asked her what she meant by “seven increments of time.” It turns out that it is very simple and quite frankly works. When your child acts in a way that causes you annoyance, exaggeration, anxiety and the like, take pause and consider the following:

  • What impact will your child’s current behavior have on you and others in 10 seconds?
  • What impact will your child’s current behavior have on you and others in 10 minutes?
  • What impact will your child’s current behavior have on you and others in 10 hours?
  • What impact will your child’s current behavior have on you and others in 10 days?
  • What impact will your child’s current behavior have on you and others in 10 weeks?
  • What impact will your child’s current behavior have on you and others in 10 months?
  • What impact will your child’s current behavior have on you and others in 10 years?

For me, I usually calm down and am no longer irritated with my child by the time I hit “10 days.” I very rarely have to look much further down the timeline.

Taking the time to play out the effects of my child’s behavior is a calming moment in and of itself and it almost always makes me realize how trivial my child’s actions are and that it is some problem in myself that I need to address. Using this ten by seven rule simply lets a mother catch her breath before she expels it in an exasperated sigh (or worse!)

Honestly, my daughter is too young to know what I am doing but she watches me and realizes that I am taking a moment to push myself into a better parenting space. And she appreciates it. I know this because she will often give me a hug or a snuggle along with a grin that says “you’ll miss my antics when I outgrow them!” And she is right! I will miss her sneaking onto the top of the couch, just to fall off moments later. I will miss her dumping over the entire contents of the cat’s food bowl. I will miss her taking all of the trash out of the trash can. I will miss her unstuffing all of her cloth diaper inserts. I will miss her smearing her food all over the table. I will miss her dumping all of her water on the floor. I will miss all of these things and more because someday she will be off living her grown -up life and I will long for the pitter patter sound of her little feet followed by the perverbial “uh oh.” And I will wish that I had taken more time to savor those moments which caused me annoyance. The ten by seven rule allows me to do this because I ultimately realize that my daughter is just being her “age” and that I need to take pause and enjoy it for it is a mere fleeting moment.

It’s funny but I have seen similar concepts circulating around blog land recently. I would like to think that my mother was the mastermind behind this idea but hence, it really does not matter. What matters is that she gave me a tool to became a better mother. I hope that I have given this to you in turn. And on that note, I leave you with another great quote: “Believe in your child beyond today’s problem or behavior.” Author Unknown

Carrie here:  The other thing I love about this is the demonstration of passing on how we parent to the next generation.  Grandmother to mother to granddaughter. 

What kind of legacy are you leaving for your children in the way you parent?

Many blessings,

Carrie

Children Who Scream

( This post is NOT directed at toddler shrieking!  Toddler shrieking is a normal phase of development.  If you need help with toddler behavior, please see the Baby/Toddler Header at the top of this blog.)

This post is for children aged four and over who scream.

 

Some parents have developed the following general strategies:

  • A place for screaming:  Some families feel a screaming voice is an outside voice, and therefore screaming belongs outside on the grass. 
  • Making sure their children get their energy out in a physical way every day – please do remember that three to  four  hours outside is probably about right.  
  • They model respectful behavior for their children.
  • They work hard to make sure their children are not tired, hungry, over-stimulated. 
  • They make sure  they are spending time with their child and filling up the child’s tank in that child’s love language.
  • They work with their child’s temperament if that child is aged seven or older. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To me, there are several types of screaming during the ages of four plus  years: 

1.  Screaming during a complete melt-down.  If you need help in handling temper tantrums, please see this back post:  https://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/01/12/more-about-time-in-for-tinies/

2.  Screaming whilst you are talking to another adult in person or on the phone because the child really wants attention. 

Many times, we ask children to please not interrupt us.  However, when they do, we answer their request or respond to the request!  Sometimes this is necessary in cases of utmost urgency, but if your child is interrupting you with an issue that really can wait until you are done with your conversation, then you can politely request that they wait.  Tell that you will be with them in just a moment. 

Importantly, one can think about how and when to have adult conversations.  I think adult conversation is important for mothers in order to garner support for themselves, and I encourage all mothers to take time to meet with other mothers by themselves.  Play dates are often difficult to have adult conversation with four and five and six year olds as they may still need assistance with play dynamics. 

With children of all ages, you can make up little stories about animals who interrupt and what happens.  This is a nice sideways kind of way to address interrupting. 

Children that are older than 4 or 5 often love to be in the vicinity of adult conversations/phone conversations so they can listen in and hear what their parents are saying.  Many parents will schedule returning phone calls at night after their child goes to bed. 

3.  Screaming/whining which is really complaining. In this case, we model using our calm voice and we do not grant requests until a normal voice can be used.   Do not respond to a whining, screaming voice!  Explain to your child that you can help them when they use their normal voice.  If they continue to whine and scream, you may need to calmly repeat this phrase more than once (and yes, this is the hard part). 

Sometimes children are not aware that their voice even sounds screamy or whiny, so you can  model in your calm voice how you would like to be spoken to.  And please do consider instead of “Stop screaming!” to tell your child what you DO want in a nice, calm voice.  “Please use a quiet voice in the house.  Quiet as a mouse.” 

I would love to hear your particular challenges around screaming or whining children; let’s talk about this as a circle of supportive mothers!

Many blessings,

Carrie

How To Work With The Love Languages of Children

We took a brief look at “Loving Children In Their Love Language” in our past post and today we are going to delve even deeper into the five love languages and how to apply them to your children.

Remember, we want to use ALL of the love languages and be familiar with all the love  languages as mentioned in the book, “The Five Love Languages For Children” by Gary Chapman and  Ross Campbell.  However, if you can identify your child’s primary love language and keep the child’s emotional love tank filled, it helps decreased behavioral challenges and it helps you to think carefully through how you discipline.  The authors bring up such things as if your child’s love language is quality time and you are using time-out (and you all know I do NOT believe in time-out, please see back posts) as a way to discipline the child, then you are using that child’s love language in a negative way.  There are many examples in this book; I encourage you to get a book and read it!

To review, here are the five love languages and a few notes about each love language:

1.  Physical Touch – the authors note many parents only touch their children when necessary (ie, to help them get dressed, etc).  I like this quote: “Babies who are held, hugged, and kissed develop a healthier emotional life than those who are left for long periods of time without physical contact.”

Things you can do in this language:  Greet or say good-bye to your children by hugging them; picking natural toys (hhmm, sounds like Waldorf!); ask your child if they want to be held; holding hands whilst saying blessings or prayers

2.  Words of Affirmation – this means expressing love and appreciation for the child themselves, not words of praise for what they do.  This does include using words that encourage.

The authors note:  “ The greatest enemy toward encouraging our children is anger.  The more anger present in the parent, the more anger the parent will dump on the children.  The result will be children who are both antiauthority and anti-parent.”

Also included in this category are words of guidance:  positive and loving guidance. 

Things you can do in this language:  encourage your child daily, and find the things your child is good at and tell them something positive whilst they are doing it;  call your child when you are not home to tell him you love him; leave your child notes saying you love him or her. 

3. Quality Time – this includes being present with each child individually and sharing thoughts and dreams and eye contact. 

Things you can do in this language: include your child in your daily activities and chores; stop what you are doing and make eye contact;  cook together; play with your children;  take family vacations together; hike together

4.  Gifts – “Yet for parents to truly speak love language number four-gifts- the child must feel that his parents genuinely care.  For this reason, the other love languages must be given along with a gift.  The child’s emotional love tank needs to be kept filled in order for the gift to express heartfelt love.”

My note is that for children who enjoy the love languages of gifts, these gifts do not have to be expensive store-bought gifts.  They will admire a flower from the garden left on their pillow, a unique small crystal, a feather you found, a picture you drew for them, etc.

Things you can do in this language:  make special snacks for your child, find things from nature as gifts, keep small gifts tucked away for rainy days or other occasions.

5.  Acts of Service- the authors talk about how parenting is the ultimate act of service, and that in order to do this, we must ourselves be balanced since serving is physically and emotionally demanding.    What is your own physical and emotional health like in this moment?

I thought this was a great quote: “the ultimate purpose for acts of service to children is to help them emerge as mature adults who are able to give love to others through acts of service.”

Things you can do in this language:  regular involvement as a family in volunteering; setting up play scenarios for your children to find and play with; assist a child in fixing something or doing homework together.

There is a whole chapter on how to discover your child’s primary love language; I highly recommend it! 

Here is a link to this book on Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Five-Love-Languages-Children/dp/1881273652/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1276710971&sr=8-1

Connection, love and helping the child make restitution are the big keys to discipline…Bring on the love!

Many blessings,

Carrie

Loving Children In Their Love Language

Many of you have heard about the book, “The Five Love Languages:  How To Express Heartfelt Commitment To Your Mate” by Gary Chapman.  It was a runaway success, and after that book Gary Chapman teamed with Ross Campbell to write “The Five Love Languages of Children.”

The thought behind this book is that each child has a “primary language of love, a way in which he or she understands a parent’s love best.”  When you read this book, you go through ALL the love languages, because children benefit from all expressions of love, and also because over time your child’s love language might change. 

I like this particular quote as to why love and connection are important: “In this book we will emphasize the importance of love in rearing your child.  The ultimate goal is to rear your child (or children) to become a mature adult.  All aspects of a child’s development require a foundation of love.  For instance, a child’s feelings of anger can be channeled positively when he senses a parent’s love.  He is more likely to consider and accept your suggestions when he perceives your love as genuine and consistent.”

The five love languages are

1. Physical Touch

2.  Words of Affirmation

3. Quality Time

4.  Gifts

5.  Acts of Service

Loving your child in their language on a consistent basis helps a child feel loved through the more challenging times.  Loving your child in an unconditional way and keeping that connection filled, but still holding fast to the boundaries you set, is very important.  These principles hold the  keys for good parenting; I have written about this time and time again on this blog.  Gentle parenting does not mean an absence of boundaries.

You are the parent.  You have more life experience with which to guide your children.  You should know yourself what boundaries there are in your own home and with each other.  Children without any boundaries do not grow up to do well in the world because they have had everything handed to them on their whim and demand.  You can be a gentle parent, an authentic parent, AND you can still do the hard work of keeping the boundaries you have set in your home.  In fact, this is a must for your children to grow up to be healthy adults.

However, your children must feel loved in order for these boundaries to work, and  love languages are a huge piece of this.  You can say you love your child all you want, but if they do not “feel” loved, that is their perception.  Love languages can be this bridge between your world and the world of your child.  It can help provide that connection that forms the basis of a healthy family.

In the next post, we will take a peek at the characteristics of all five of the love languages.  In that, you may learn something about your child, your spouse and yourself.

Many blessings,

Carrie

Effective Use of the Temperaments in Education and Discipline

So far we have looked at the four-fold human being and had an introduction to the temperaments.  Today we are going to peek at HOW to use the temperaments as an ally in education and discipline.  As I have said in the first two parts to this post, this information was presented to our homeschooling group at a wonderful workshop on the temperaments given by our Waldorf Handwork teacher, Ms. Judy Forster.  She is so knowledgeable and wonderful. We are so lucky to have her as part of our group! 

So to start, a quick common question is something like this:  “Yes, I read all the descriptions of the temperaments and I still don’t know what temperament my child is.”

Yes, sometimes it is hard to tell.  It is easy to confuse the predominant temperament of a developmental stage for an individual temperament.  I have heard Waldorf teachers say typically two temperament predominate.

So, Ms. Forster gave us a tip that one place to garner an idea regarding your child’s temperament is in looking at how they approach handwork,   A choleric child will want to be done first with their handwork, and will make mistakes along the way because they are going so fast because they HAVE to be done first.  A sanguine child may have lots of holes in their loose knitting because they got distracted or were too busy talking, and are content to know that maybe the fairies will come and fix it later.  A melancholic child will take their handwork very seriously, they will be extremely detail-oriented  and will rip a piece of knitting apart for the one stitch that was off that that the handwork teacher  told them was okay to leave alone (but they can’t, so then they have to rip it all out when the teacher is not looking).  Their knitting is usually tight.  The phlegmatic child is hard to get going on anything, but once they get going, it is either hard for them to stop – they may end up knitting a rug-sized piece of something when the project was supposed to be small because they just couldn’t stop – or they may just be steady and be done first (much to the chagrin of the choleric child).   Those examples came  from Judy Forster, our wonderful and knowledgeable Handwork teacher.  Please see her Etsy shop here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/mamajudes

Here is an example from me.  I think the temperaments show in how your child deals with  social challenges.  For example, the choleric will be telling everyone what to do, what is fair and not fair, and may end up flying into a rage that they feel immensely sorry about later.  A sanguine child will know who said what and who gets along with who and will be flitting around like a butterfly and taking in everything that every person does.  A melancholic child will figure no one will like them, no one will pick them, and they think that  if they do get picked they will end up with a challenge (ie, disaster) that  no one else in the world has faced.  A phlegmatic child will spend most of the time eating and warming up and getting ready to participate, and by the time they are ready to join in, it will be time to go home.

Hope that gives you all some ideas!  Anyway, on to how to work with these temperaments most effectively!  People act as if our goal should be to eradicate the temperament that the child displays, but that is not the case.  All the temperaments have good things about them; perhaps the case is more how to balance and harmonize (which for most people will not completely happen until they are in their 30s), and also how to use the temperaments as an ally in parenting and education.

CHOLERIC:  Choleric children are actually  really fair and they have big hearts, so appealing to the choleric in that way helps. I once was friends with a very choleric little guy who would break everything.  When he came to my house, I always said something like, “You know, I love how strong you are and you are so fast!  I have this pile of ten oranges and I was wondering if you could squeeze them all by hand so we could have juice for snack.”  Worked beautifully.

When a choleric rages and breaks something, if the child is between 7 and 9, I would wait until the next day to talk to them about it.  Usually by that time they are so regretful they have punished themselves more than you ever possibly could.  The worst thing to do would be to get wrapped up in their anger personally.  You must be the wall for them to bounce off of. 

SANGUINE:  Interrupt their work and give them little tasks to do before they take off and interrupt their own work.  You are in charge of the interruption during homeschool, for example.  You need something delivered to a neighbor, you need the tomato plants watered, the dog needs something, whatever.  If you keep interrupting them, they will finally settle down to work!  Work on building up their endurance in this way – the first week interrupt their work so many times a hour and then the second week drop the number of interruptions and then keep lengthening the time that they are focused on a task.

Also, sanguine children love beauty, so be beautiful!  Put flowers in your schoolroom, wear something beautiful.  They will notice.  It will captivate them.  This is also a good way to work on this temperament if you are not naturally drawn to beauty in your daily life..say if you are predominately melancholic and pre-occupied with worry. :)

MELANCHOLIC:  Melancholic children have great sympathy, so appealing to what you really need and what obstacles you have yourself your day and if the child could just do “X” how helpful that would be.  I think the other place to work with melancholics is through story telling regarding perfectionism.  Donna Simmons has a good example of a story for a melancholic in her First Grade Syllabus, and there are many more examples out there.

The other key to a melancholic child is to just listen and to feel truly compassionate.  The child truly feels these things do not happen to anyone else on earth,  ever in the history of mankind…So listening, and then perhaps sharing something similar from your own childhood.  The melancholic child will be most interested in stories where the hero overcomes enormous hardship. :)

PHLEGMATIC:  To me, this group is the hardest.  They will sit like small little lumps for quite some time.  Our handwork teacher recommends ignoring that they are even there for a time being (which is hard without a classroom of children  to carry, I find).  Some of them will be motivated to do something if it has to be done before snack time comes.   I think rhythm is  a great help to the phlegmatic because transitions can often be hard.   When they say they are “bored”, give them full permission to be with their boredom. Encourage it.  :) 

The other thing I learned at the temperament workshop is that Fourth  Grade, when children are ten and obviously after the nine-year-change, is when one starts to see “Extraverted” and “Introverted” categories of these temperaments….So, for example, an “introverted melancholic” may be a child to watch closely in the school years for obvious reasons. 

The other little note I thought of is that if you feel you are predominately one way or the other way, what could you do to enliven the other temperaments within you?

Many blessings,

Carrie

Children Who Slap Faces And Other Fun Behaviors

(This is the tabloid edition of The Parenting Passageway today, you know, kind of like, Men Who Do Terrible Things And The Women Who Love Them or something like that…)

Let’s see…the fun behavior of the toddler…I am sure you all can help me out here with the behaviors and challenges!   Some of these  behaviors keep coming up over and over here when I asked for feedback regarding discipline challenges and also in My Real Life from mothers in my local area, so I thought I would address them here with a few suggestions and you can take what resonates with you.  Pick and choose, add your own creative ideas!  There is No One Answer, the Right Answer is the One That Works For Your Family!  Seriously!  As long as it is gentle and keeps to the boundary, then there you go!  Check out the toddler discipline posts under the Baby/Toddler header, several of those posts literally have every discipline situation that could come up with a toddler.

Here is a re-cap of some of the ones mothers have been asking about recently (but please do go look at the back posts!):

Face-slapping:

  • Set child down if you are holding them.
  • Turn it into a “high-five”
  • Tell the child that hurts and show them how you would like to be touched instead.
  • Watch out for signs child is getting frustrated in order to prevent  and use your tools of movement and channeling into work and help to move on
  • Know this phase is limited usually once the toddler  has more speech
  • Know this may take 500 times!
  • What would work best for your family?  Your ideas here:

Running away at the park or other public places:

  • Limit outings for right now. Sorry about that!
  • Bring a second adult who can help you corral your children
  • Many parents have a natural consequence in place, such as if you run away, we immediately leave the park.  However, a child younger than four and a half or five  may really not understand that very well.
  • Do errands at night or another time without the toddler.
  • Practice holding hands and looking for cars at all times.  Have a verse or rhyme that goes with the holding hands/looking.
  • What would work best for your family??  Your ideas here:

Child is stuck on a  “bad word”:

Sitting Still:

  • Figure about three to five minutes for every year of the child’s age, and really look  at your child.  Are they a “mature” acting three or four year old, or rather immature?  That will give you a clue as to what might be a realistic expectation.
  • Bring something with you to do for the small child.  Make up a special little “Sunday bag” for church, let them bring a stuffed animal or doll with them.
  • Practice times of sitting quietly at home for a story, thirty seconds before you light the candle for dinner, thirty second in silence after you say the blessing over the meal..
  • What would work best for your family?  Your ideas here:

Hitting, Kicking:

Ah, no one’s favorite.

  • You cannot let the child hurt you (or anyone else!).  If it is toward you, step away or hold the child if you can do it and be calm!  If the child is hitting someone else, they must come and be with you in a time-in.
  • Connect with this child during other times in a warm way.  Are they feeling poorly physically or emotionally?  This does not excuse the behavior, but provides a clue as to what they need!
  • If this is occurring during play dates and such, please think strongly about whether or not your small child needs this social experience at this point.  You can see my take on social experiences for the four year old in back posts, so you can guess what I think about toddlers from that….
  • Go back to your basics – rhythm, outside time, warm and nourishing meals.
  • If you need help dealing with hitting and kicking as part of a temper tantrum, please see here:  https://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/01/12/more-about-time-in-for-tinies/
  • Here is a back post on boys and hitting:  https://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/03/28/boys-under-age-7-and-hitting/
  • What would work best for your family?  Your ideas here:

Biting

Also no one’s favorite.

  • If it is biting at the breast, pull the baby close to you – this will block their nose and make them loosen the biting.  However, GIVE them something they CAN bite on.  A wet washcloth that you threw in the freezer works fine.  Biting is a normal behavior, it is just the object that the child is biting that makes it good or not good, so you don’t want to tell them never to bite!  If they are biting at the breast and it is usually toward the end of a feeding, try to catch them before the end and gently  remove  them from  the breast.
  • If the biting is generally part of just being aggressive, try this outside resource regarding the types of biters and such:   http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/linda_passmark.html
  • Never bite a child for biting!  That does not help.
  • Remain as calm as possible.  It is no fun when your toddler or preschooler bites another child over a toy, and it is not fun when your child is the one who was bit, but these things do happen and one must be calm.
  • If your child is in a biting phase, think carefully about your child’s level of frustration with social outings.  :)  If you frequently read this blog, you know where I stand on that!  The whole “playdate” thing really should not apply to children under the age of four and a half, but that is just my opinion. :) Take what works for you and your family.

Hope these ideas help your family think of what would work best for you in these situations.

Many blessings,

Carrie

Renewal: Rhythm

So, we will be taking these forty days between Easter and Ascension as our time to discuss all things related to the renewal of your life and your family culture.  For today, I want to circle back around to rhythm.

I think many Waldorf homeschoolers are feeling this sense of renewal regarding rhythm!    Melisa Nielsen had a lovely post here about “Rhythm Or Routine”: http://waldorfjourney.typepad.com/a_journey_through_waldorf/2010/04/rhythm-or-routine.html .   Everything she says is right on!  I especially liked the part where Melisa talks about developing our own will enough to STAY HOME.  When you have children under the age of eight, it is important that you firmly entrench children in the home.  It is important that they learn how to create their own play and fun at home instead of relying on going, going, going, to stimulate themselves and to change their emotions.

In a family, there is a daily rhythm, a weekly rhythm, and a yearly rhythm.  This is there whether you create it or not, so I feel it is worth it to take an intentional look at these areas along with parenting.

The yearly rhythm is celebrated through the festivals of the year and is seen as a yearly process of in-breath and out-breath. How you implement this is up to you, I find it lovely to celebrate with the liturgical year of our church.

For a weekly rhythm, one must decide how many days a week one is going to go outside of your home/yard/neighborhood (because even if we stay home we still go outside for many hours a day!).  This is important for small children, to be home,  and it is also important in homeschooling once you reach the grades..  If you are interested in homeschooling, I would say it is very difficult, if not impossible,  to throw homeschooling on top of a completely chaotic flow of events to the day, and also on top of a chaotic house that is cluttered and dirty.  No, your home does not have to be perfect, we actually live in our houses because we are home!  However, keeping the house up and running is part of the rhythm to it all, and in order to do that, we have to be home.  We need to plan when to get groceries, what to cook,  when to do laundry, when to run errands,  so that not everything is completely last minute.  Therefore, it is never too early, nor too late,  to create a bit of an order or flow that suits your family life.

For a small child, the weekly rhythm includes what PRACTICAL work takes place when and planning on your part regarding HOW they may be included.  In cleaning, can they scrub the bathtub whilst taking a bath?  Can they manually grind a cup of flour to add to more flour to bake bread?  Can they use water to clean the sidewalk whilst you plant flowers? 

For a daily rhythm, this is where one needs to think about the flow of the day for times of in-breath and times of out-breath.  For example, when will rest and meal times will be, and when bedtimes and awake times will be?  If the baby needs a nap, will they sleep in a sling?  If you put them to sleep in a room, where will your older children be and what will they be doing?  When are the outside times and when is it time to tell a story?

But most importantly, how will you show reverence and the sacred parts of life throughout these rhythms of life?  When will there be singing and joy, when will there be silence, when will there be time to go outside and look at one small bug or bird and listen and feel the wind?  Reverence and gratitude is the thread that winds itself through all of these yearly, weekly, and daily rhythms. 

Many blessings during these forty days of renewal,

Carrie