Today has been a lovely day for less structured learning here, and I'm digging every minute of it.
I think it's mostly due to autumnal equinox approaching; every year I feel my soul unfurling and flying around with joy as summer's heavy hand loses it's grip and the oppressive heat wanes. I'm a child of autumn and winter, for sure, and the air becomes electric and bright and alive for me in the month of September. :) Some of my most joy-infused
memories are of lingering outside or traveling to a small social gathering or concert right at dusk, when the sky turns sleepy and purple against the outline of leafless black trees. Homes and hearths light afire with stories and laughter and good smelling smells. Books and food and trees and music and life become magical and mysterious for me again, and the world is pregnant with possibility.
So, today, to my great delight, it was cool enough to throw open doors and windows and send my
kids out to play under the overcast sky with hoodies and flip flops (ah yes, we are southerners) where they climbed trees and gathered pine needles for tea and balanced on logs and played in the dirt and tested fate while launching themselves from swings in motion.
They came in, made tea, ate some English muffins with honey and butter, listened to a chapter of a book, and then went right back out into the damp gray yard and played for another hour or two while I ordered books for this fall. Now, they're lego-fortress building while 2.5 year old city-smashing Evazilla is conked out on the couch, soggy skirt/dirty feet and all (smart kids).
(As an aside, book shopping makes the child-nerd in me ridiculously happy. I like the library, too, especially for fiction, but for fact books, it's so nice to have them on the shelf for a rainy day. That's how my bookshelf rolls. :P Childbirth, herbal books, psychology, history, childhood development, science of cooking, aromatherapy, massage, encyclopedias, divided by subject. It makes me feel deliriously satisfied. Nate has volume upon volume of weather pattern books, airplane mechanics books and books on general flight. We keep weeding out the ones we don't use in hopes of simplification, but, of course, sneaky little buggers that they are, books keep slipping their way into the house and making us grin. We realize we're nerds. We're self-aware. We fly our freak flag high.
I'm nice enough to let the kids use a shelf or two in the dining area, and their shelves there tend to be fact/reference, too. I remember pouring the pages of the same books, over and over, as a child...my favorite was a book about unsolved modern dinosaur reports. :P So, it makes me stupid-happy to find good books and order them discount for the kids, as a mom. (Julie the Rockhound, Jurassic Poop, Boy Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs, Maps and Globes and Glow-in-the-Dark Constellations won out for this round of half.com shopping...god, I love that store). Nomi's into animal books right now, and Esther likes themed cookbooks and astronomy. )
Today was SO much better than being cooped up indoors. Of course, we had all the usual mishaps that come with having small people in the house. Poo where it shouldn't be, spilled water, chalk art on the kitchen cabinet. But it was hardly noticable compared to the unexpected bliss of endorphins stampeding through ours veins. The absence of stifling hot humidity will do that to a soul. Cool humidity is a welcome change. Just having fresh air cycling through the house improved my mood in a huge way (I remember feeling similarly when it was nice enough to open the class windows at college, and now whenever I can roll the car windows down comfortably..instant clarity of thought and ability to recognize what is actually important, and what is not).
It sparked some good thoughts on why children whine less and play together more cooperatively outdoors, which I'll blog about next, for posterity's sake, for Nate and I to have for reference.