Here, Maite built a structure for Cesar to play with his animals. It’s interesting to see the different ideas people implement with the same building materials. Our previous structure had steps and bridges, this one has a yard and gates. Playing with different people, Cesar comes into contact with different possibilities, different expressions from which he can learn, grow, develop and make his own.
When it comes down to learning and education, there are a lot of different views on what is appropriate and what is not. Children are being taught too many things too early, Children need more play and unstructured time. Children need to be taught earlier, they need more structure.
As a reaction to our overzealous educational system, many parents believe it’s better to ‘let their child be’, ‘not bother with learning to read or math’ and ‘just letting children play’. Where learning, such as reading and math are seen as arduous concepts which we should not depress our children with ‘just yet’. In an attempt to let go of the old and introduce the new – we may leave behind the old structures, but our perceptions are still with us, and taint the ‘new’.
Whenever I introduce something to Cesar which I believe or perceive to be under the banner of ‘educational’ or ‘teaching’ – he is not interested and I am met with great resistance. Say I want to show him a word (that I perceive as being a ‘difficult one’), he will quickly be distracted and want to move away. So I took a step back and asked myself what it is that I am doing different in this situation, than in other situations – where his learning or absorption ability runs smoothly and can integrate new information easily. When I introduce him to someone new and say their name – he gets it. This person, this face = that name. When I show him or introduce him, I just ‘say it as it is’.
I don’t go ‘hmm, this person has quite complex facial features and kind of also looks like that person and their name is quite unusual I wonder if he will ‘get it’’.
Whenever we perceive something as hard and difficult to comprehend, and then try and have someone else take in this information – we create our very experience, as we act out this expectation unconsciously through our choice of words, voice tonality and body language.
In showing him a ‘difficult word’ for example – my sounds would become louder, longer, repeating myself often, and have a sort of ‘belittling’ look on my face.
Cesar loves words, shapes and counting. Not because they are ‘educational’ – but because words, shapes and numbers are everywhere around us. Just like balls, dogs, people, toys,…
Recognizing and reading letters or words – is just as easy as recognizing a person and being able to say their name. It’s when we make a ‘thing’ out of it, make it more or less than what it is – a point of separation is created and we’ll be in conflict with the object, being or concept in our world.
I had to challenge myself (and still do) to drop all expectations of what is hard, easy, educational, fun, relaxing – as for Cesar – there’s no distinction. There’s just things around him, and stuff to do – whether it’s reading, playing with a toy or cleaning – it doesn’t have to change him or who he is.
The School of Ultimate Living is a great platform to explore your relationships to words, to see them for what you have made them to be, to deconstruct and redefine your relationship to words so that they form the building blocks of your life, your potential – and live the best version of yourself that you can be.
One of the things Cesar has done with me throughout his lil lifetime, is lying on the ground and inviting me to come lay next to him. I had a lot of resistance and excuses at first: it’s cold, it’s dirty, it’s uncomfortable… But anyone who knows Cesar, knows he is persistent and uncompromising – and so he would keep insisting, asking and inviting – and so eventually I started lying down with him on the ground. And the first thing I noticed, was how nice it was. How the ground was cool but not cold. How it had a grounding effect. How it gives you different perspective on things, just because you place your body in a way where you see things from a different angle. Some days he falls asleep on me on the floor, other days we just lay there,gazing into each others eyes – really seeing one another and end off with a nice giggly chuckle.
Thanks Cesar for your persistence and insistence to share your experiences with me!
Cesar likes to experience was others are experiencing, so here he went to lay next to Snowy on the porch and would wave flies away from her face as she’s taking her nap.
Sometimes he will put his food bowl on the floor and eat from it like a dog.
I remember my parents walking into me once in the garden where I was grazing on all fours and asked me what I am doing. ‘I am playing mule’ I said.
The swimming pool was always the time and place to play dolphin.
Animals always seem so peaceful and grounded that it seemed more fun to copy and emulate them over adult humans.
Now that Cesar is a bit older his attention span is growing where he can focus and direct himself to do a specific task for a longer time before getting distracted and doing ‘what he wants’.
While we are cooking, doing dishes, cleaning – general points of every day maintenance which many would call a ‘chore’, I instead decided to direct the points as being GAMES.
A game will always have a particular end goal, plays out in a particular framework with particular rules which need to be followed for the game to work and to reach our end goal.
When I instantaneously came up with the idea and started applying it, showing to Cesar how it works – I realized I was in essence transferring my understanding and definition of a word.
What does ‘doing dishes’ mean? How do you practically carry out ‘doing dishes’? When he goes off course (say he starts putting sliced food in the organic waste bin instead of the cooking pot), I can show him that he is not playing the game anymore and how his action is now not in line with the game, how it impacts and compromises the end result we are aiming for within the game – and so is in essence deviating from the definition of the word (eg. cooking).
He has been very receptive to this approach and does not ‘react’ or ‘take it personal’ that he cannot just follow his impulses but needs to stick to the framework provided. When he keeps deviating it is usually that we have been doing the activity for quite some time and his attention span has been stretched out. Then we stop with our activity and do something he wants to do for a while and pick up on our game at a later time.
Instead of teaching him an emotional interpretation of the word as a ‘burden’ or ‘chore’ where you immediately feel yourself going into a ‘low’, showing him and teaching him the word for what it is and how you practically carry it out (and finding ways on how to improve!) has been much fun for both him and myself. He enjoys participating because whether we are doing dishes, cooking, cleaning, dancing, throwing balls for dogs, going for a walk – he doesn’t differentiate between ‘work’ and ‘play’ – as all these actions are the same in that they are all physical activities, but they differ in the type of physical activity that is required of him. He is the one dragging the broom out of the laundry room, he is the one running to the sink BEGGING to do dishes, he is the one populating our room with cloths to wipe everything clean. And when we are doing an activity and it’s the adults deviating from the game – then he will point it out and demand we do it properly. Sometimes he will be throwing a tantrum and be really upset and I will ‘not know why’ – until he points out what I missed, I correct myself and he settles down.
Other times we will be busy with a particular activity and he will be reactive, frustrated and uncooperative – and I myself will be reactive and frustrated to his behaviour. Then I start explaining to him the Game we are playing, and as I am explaining it, I realise that I hadn’t even properly defined and clarified the game for myself – which he was picking up on. Because I wasn’t clear on the game we were playing, the parameters and the rules – this left a void inside of myself which was impulsing a sense of directionlessness, which Cesar reacted to by: being directionless in his behaviour.
As I explain the game to him (and myself) and align the definition for myself, I reach a point of stability, grounding and direction, which instantaneously spills over to Cesar who immediately aligns himself.
Words, really DO create our Worlds!
With Cesar having lots of energy and eager to learn and explore – we must constantly push ourselves to be creative and create new things for Cesar to give him something to focus on and investigate. Our first tent was us simply sitting on our bed with my head creating a little tent space, but this quickly became too small. We have some plans to build Cesar an actual tent in the room, but we still need to get some more materials. Now we created an interim tent, with his old cot, which we made into a little couch as the base and an old sheet and some sticks to keep it up. So far Cesar is enjoying his little space!
#toddler #parenting #creative #creativity #explore #tent #play #hideout #mother #motherhood #parenthood
For a long time I haven’t been cooking or baking much for myself because my attention would be diverted to Cesar, or I would be successful in cooking / baking – but not getting to the dishes which means someone else has to do them. But.. what’s happening in this picture now? ?? That’s Cesar playing with and putting away the last of the dishes I made dirty from making crunchies. And him being so into it that I had time to make and drink a cappuccino. With babies and toddlers growing up so fast and going through different phases one after the other, you have to constantly shift and change your lifestyle to cater for the ongoing development. It’s been an interesting road in having to constantly shift and adjust how and where I spend my time, never knowing for how long things will be this way, always having to be open and flexible. For the most part it’s been rough, very rough. Parenting a new life takes you to the depths of your physical abilities and rattles the core of your mind. I’ve learnt so much, more than I could have imagined. But I’m also totally ready to drink cappuccino and have Cesar help me out with dishes. Imagine the possibilities. ….
We’ve been blowing a lot of bubbles lately. Tonight Cesar kept pointing at one of the bubble bottles, pleading for some more bubble time. Inside myself I went “what? Not again!” But instead I took a deep breath and said ‘Ok,let’s do this’ as there was no reason not to do it other than me simply not wanting to. We ended up having lots of bubble fun for more than an hour. Instead of ‘just doing more bubbles’ I started paying attention to how the bubbles would change with how I would change my breathing and different ways of blowing. Making really big bubbles I had to actually use my abdominal muscles quite a bit to get a lot of air in my lungs and keep the blowing steady. I had to practice blowing just gently bit more to push the bubble out floating before it would get too big and pop. As the bubbles were getting bigger and bigger Cesar got more and more excited – fun for the both of us. After this simple bubble blowing awareness sessions breathing was a lot more grounded and stable as I was still holding my awareness in my abdomen and lungs. Who knew such such a tiny decision would give you your day’s work out with some added grounding!
Expect the unexpected on the adventure that is #parenting.
#toddler #baby #bubbles #breathing #awareness #exercise #beyondcomfort #desteni #eqafe
Cesar asked Gian this morning to put up the boxing bag.
We had to add some rope so the bag could hang a bit lower so Cesar could have a better reach. Cesar enjoys punching and pushing the bag at different intensities and then quickly runs and giggles away as the bag comes swinging back to get him.
Sometimes he’s too slow, sometimes he’s focusing on our facial responses to him – checking if we’re as excited as he is about what he’s doing, that he forgets to keep his focus on the bag which then bashes into him and sweeps him off his feet… Babies and toddlers love to learn, and here Cesar is learning all about the world of physics. He’s not just “punching a bag”, but playing with how hard he can push it, how hard will it swing? Can he get away fast enough? What if he pushes again as the bag is swinging back and forth? And of course he learns about his mind and physical consequence: What happens when I am too busy trying to get a positive reaction and am no longer aware of my physical environment? KABOOOM!!!