This past week has been incredibly busy for me, my family. It has finally stopped today and I am looking forward to this upcoming week with not too much on the calendar. I am really into books that force us to think out of the box from the status quo toys, " Elmo, Mickey Mouse, Dora, etc" and make us channel our childrens energies into more creative, unhibited play. I do not think there is anything wrong with branded toys as my sons have a slew of Thomas the Train Wooden Railway sets and trains. However, I read in this book once that when children are only given toys that they have seen on tv, videos, etc...they loose that ability to make it their own. They no longer desire to give it , it's own personality but rather the personality that was chosen for it by the producers or creators of the product. I kind of go in spurts of what is my passion to read and research about. For awhile, it was just focusing on the lost art of play. I try hard for my kids to do puzzles, play dough, color, read, dress up, go outside. Do not feel condemed if you have a playstation, but I personally feel that my boys, especially, will have so many opportunities for those types of games that I would rather get down at their level and play " Rat a tat Cat", " Silly Faces" or" Go Nuts" ( just a few of my millions of favorite games with my babies) .
I love watching their faces discover, to go outside and explore and learn. To build confidence outside the confines of a television. Do my children watch movies, absolutely, but for the most part, there are exceptions, it is a very small porportion to what else they may have done on that particular day. I encourage you to allow your children to explore, to not stock up on the branded toys but rather invest in some quality NON noise making toys and watch as your children light up. I am a huge advocate AGAINST the pressure to enroll your child in many different activities. I was not always like this, I wanted Jayden and Austen to be in everything. They will be involved and enjoy being involved at church, soccer, co ops, etc. However, I highly recommend the " The Hurried Child" as well as " Einstein never used Flashcards". These are great books that really put into persepctive how we, as Americans, force ourselves into the mindest that we needed to always be going and doing and being involved.
I am fighting hard against that; especially after this week. I love being busy to an EXTENT. I do not want my schedule filled every day, every hour. I want my children to be able to play together and not live out of a van. Is it so important that we enroll our babies in sports at 2/3 or that we foster a loving relationship with them and delay the enrollment to , gasp, 7/8???? Just some food for thought. I do enroll my boys in soccer and they are not 7/8 but we also say no to some things too. We need to use our time wisely. Especially those of us who are homeschooling. This is such a critical and important time, not only in our childrens' lives, but ours as well. Enjoy this time, don't spend it being overstimulated and feeling pressure from society to have your child enrolled in the highest this or the best this. Spend your time cuddling up and reading together, simmer some homemade hot cocoa on the stove, pop some old fashion popcorn and breathe. Laugh. Realize this is life.
I encourage you to be wise with your time and not waste it foolishly. Many times, when God calls us to our families we are able to say no to some things now so that we can open our hearts and say yes to many things now. I have trusted God with this area of my life and feel such an immense peace that I do not want to use this precious time of staying at home filling it with as I like to call " fillers". A perfect example as of recent. My children and I are members our cities science center. We were able to go get a preview of the robotic exhibit as well as SID the Science Kid( I told you I was not completley against branded things) . Well, Sid was arriving mid afternoon which meant that we delayed arriving to the museum until smack dab in the middle of nap hour. Oh joy. We drove an hour to the science center, spent the time amongst hoards of children, lines, and parents trying our best to get a chance to do some hands on activities. My oldest son melted down only about a thousand times, and he does NOT do that often. My middle son was amazing and my daughter ran away countless times, throwing herself to the ground, me picking her up, her squirming to get out of my arms, all while we waited IMPATIENTLY for Sid and a simple picture. I was irriated, tired and grumpy. My children were as well and we snapped a lovely picture of the boys with SID as Riah screamed from stroller and left immediately to enjoy a silent hour ride home.
I say this to make this point, was it worth all the hassel, the driving and the stress just to "do something" Sure Sid is great, but we spent about 5 seconds with Sid and about 4 hours of high stress with my children, traffic and a slew of people. My conclusion is no. This was one of those times where I chose to do something not based on what was best for my family or myself but what I thought sounded like a good idea, a great opportunity. It turned out frusterating and deflating. What have a I learned, once again, priortize my time, spend it in prayer and say no to opportunities, there are not such things as "once in a lifetime opportunities" if it is not the right timing. We drove home, the kids all fell asleep and I stopped and bought myself a java chip frappuccino...ahhh, now that was bliss!