Thursday, November 19, 2015

bounce back on Thursday

Of course, you almost never appreciate feeling well (or almost well) as much as you do immediately after feeling lousy. The sun doesn't shine outside, it positively glitters!

We eat breakfast in the sun room.

farmette life-3.jpg

Let me explain that expression of his: it's an air kiss, which I sometimes get in these morning photos, though more common is an attempt to foil my photo taking with gestures that he knows just wont do! You cannot say that Ed is not a tease.

Second point: that jacket. Purchased at Farm & Fleet, of course. It serves as an all season indoor sweater and apparently it's sufficiently versatile to make do for a cool summer eve and for the dead of winter -- for cross country skiing, for example. Last week, Ed realized that a wash was in order and the thing shrunk (to say nothing of the rip that I see on the elbow). I suggested a replacement was in order. He showed me instead how he intends to stretch it out again. He is a stellar example of a person who does not believe in consumerism.

But, no time for Ed related musings. I'm off early to be with Snowdrop and since I really do feel much better (albeit a tad worn down), I agreed to a full day with the girl (as had been originally scheduled for today).

Let's start with a few giggles as the girl wakes up. Me, I'm laughing at her p.js. She's laughing because I'm rolling her around on the floor.

farmette life-16.jpg

Well, maybe not only because of that. She just woke up in a delightful mood.

farmette life-18.jpg

It's art class day and today's project involves trees. Snowdrop's artistic spirit hasn't quite yet been ignited by the class, but she learns so much and does things she just would never do at home and so there is no question in my mind that the class is hugely worthwhile.

A tree, Snowdrop! We're working on a tree. The green paint can be the grass!

farmette life-36.jpg

Leaves of fall, little one!

farmette life-44.jpg

And it's interesting for me as well. The first day had a few stand-in grandmas in attendance, but these days there are only mommies, nannies and me. And so I listen to this younger generation of parents chatting and I am just so intrigued by how different styles of parenting can be!

For example, I grew up in a pretty traditional, European type care-giving environment (the first three years of my life I lived with my grandparents in the Polish countryside and thereafter, I was in an all-day nursery school in Warsaw until I was ready for school). There was a code of conduct. I didn't like milk soup, but it was standard breakfast fare and if I didn't eat it in nursery school (and I often didn't eat it -- I really disliked it!), I would have to wait for the next meal to fill up on something else. Pretty traditional ways of dealing with a child's whims and inclinations, I dare say still practiced in many places on the other side of the ocean.

I was amazed in art class how quite a few parents/sitters proceed with their charges by giving choice. The kid always gets to decide: "do you want to put on an art smock? No? Okay, no art smock today." I am so surprised. The toddler has no clue as to the consequences of this. No art smock means mommy/sitter will have to navigate a very messed up kid all the way home. Perhaps these children are precocious and can keep their car seats/strollers clean and may even be savvy enough to scrub their own clothes at the age of two once they get home, but I doubt it.

And it continues. "Time to go home! Do you know what you would like for lunch?" Seriously? This is so strange to me! And I have to wonder, did this absence of choice in my life -- did it make me more repressed, less expressive, more constrained, less innovative, more within the box, less adventurous? Of course, having decided to leave my home country and move to America at age 18, and there earn my own keep as an au pair, I always thought I was plenty adventurous, but imagine! Had I more choice in my early years, perhaps I wouldn't have stopped at New York! Maybe I would have sailed on to Bali!

I think that it's good for me to see other ways and methods of working with children. It reinforces my belief that there are as many styles as there are parents in this world and maybe you can learn something by watching another do things in a unique and interesting fashion. Even though I can tell you right now that it would take a bit of convincing to get me to believe that a toddler should decide what he or she should eat for lunch.

At home, a second bath is definitely in order (when will I learn to skip the morning one on art class day!). After that, we practice stuff. Standing, walking, that kind of thing...

farmette life-45.jpg

Snowdrop hasn't taken her first independent (without support) steps yet, but we do agree that she has said her first word that is not just an utterance, but represents a cognitive realization that what she says has meaning.  Here's a hint of what it is:

farmette life-50.jpg

Her past babbling of mama and dada and nana we think may have been rather random, but her "at" (for "cat") we think is quite deliberate.

In the late afternoon, she and I pick up grandpa Ed at the farmette and head out again to our Thursday indoor farmers market. Past fields of gold...

farmette life-1-2.jpg

Yes, she loves Farmer John's cheese samples. I take a photo of her munching away, in front of our local Greek guy whose family makes olive oil back in the old country. We go through a lot of his oil (called Paeleon) and fussy as I am about olive oils, I do truly recommend his. (And I feel quite a bit of compassion for Greek people these days, especially since so many have themselves shown not a small amount of compassion toward those in more desperate circumstances.)

farmette life-6.jpg

The little one also admires the potatoes. She was very tempted to try one right then and there (she's not part Polish for nothing), but I told her she'd have to wait for me to cook it. Wait for Sunday dinner, Snowdrop!

farmette life-13-2.jpg

At the farmhouse, she is, as always, happy to come back to her familiar world of toys -- ones she doesn't see on a daily basis, but remembers with delight each time we are here.

She always pays a respectful visit to my collection of vinyl.

farmette life-21.jpg

And grandpa Ed is a toy of sorts... (Grandpa, that jacket has to go!)

farmette life-1-3.jpg

... and there's the newcomer -- the pinwheel.

farmette life-6-2.jpg

Snowdrop has had such a full day -- and so have I. I offer her comfy blankies and stuffies to rest with until her parents come, but she will have none of that. Her place of greatest relaxation is uniquely her own -- the ever familiar, bouncy jumparoo. Put in front of NPR's Around the Farm Table (a show about the small farms of our state) -- heaven!

farmette life-7-3.jpg

Whenever you have an unusually large set of Snowdrop photos (i.e. on days when I spend most of my waking hours with her), you can assume, correctly, that it was indeed a wonderful day.