I just started reading Beyond the Rainbow Bridge and quickly remembered why I put it down the first time I picked it up. The author is all warm and fuzzy recalling her wonderful mother's influence. Barbara Patterson notes how great her mom was at establishing rhythm and routine in the family's life; she turned her "everyday tasks into works of art. Even her laundry line looked like a painting: all the socks o the line matched, then came all the men's shirts hanging neatly side-by-side, then all the colorful kitchen towels flapping in the breeze." This is page one. I feel hopeless already.
Part of why I'm drawn to Waldorf education is in the hope of cultivating more of this intentionality into my life. Patterson says that she knew if it was Monday, it was wash day. When I was a kid, I knew it was Saturday night because Love Boat was on at 9:00. The rest of the summer went by in a blur; I usually went to bed and got up after 10. And I had a heck of a time sleeping (all that Pepsi in my system maybe, or just shot adrenals from early days of no breastfeeding and eating a crappy diet with an as-yet-unknown celiac body). There was not much sense of purpose or drive or quiet reverence for beauty unless it came from within me and in spite of my home life.
That's a little on the harsh side, but mostly true. So when I read this lovely description of Patterson's childhood, I feel like I need to sign up for immersion Waldorf parenting school: I want to experience what this feels like for myself. Patterson specifically says, "I did not have to learn to bring rhythm and good habits to my own children's lives and to the children of my classrooms. I already had them, inside. I had grown up with them." Yes, I've made it all the way to page two. Now can I take Bill and Ted's time machine back to Little House on the Prairie please, or will someone start a reality TV show that truly does advocate the simple life. (Of course all the cameras would need to be hidden -- the obvious presence of media would blow the whole experiment).
But seriously, what if you haven't grown up with these habits or well-tuned internal clocks? I guess you read the book, if you can stomach it, and you try to learn as much from your parent-child class if your Waldorf school has one. I probably would have made more progress if I'd done more reading now that we are almost halfway through the year. I did read the articles for parent meetings, even tracking one down online when I left the paper copy in the bathroom at school! I would benefit from more study, but I'm also trying not to force anything and just to trust that I will move at the pace I will move.
When my son stopped napping, I started thinking that next year I would have him do the afternoon program at the school, extending his day from something like 8:30-noon for three days a week in the three-day kindergarten preschool to 3:00 for two of those days (or maybe all three). At least then he'd have more of a model of calm and a group think nap/rest complete with lavender oil. And maybe if I had more time -- and more consistent count-on-able time -- to myself and for work, maybe I could better manage my household in a consistent way.
These past few days on holiday vacation have been nice, and I have found more time to stay in the moment, but I'm also waking annoyed because our son is waking early and wanting to nurse several times in the morning (Rudolph Steiner might not exactly approve of extended breastfeeding -- see this article from Waldorf Without Walls). I am impatient that my son is still so revved up and, well, impatient. But we were gone from home for a week in very different environments, so I should cut the boy some slack. He's not even three yet.
Anyway, I decided to log in to technology instead of read more. For now.