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Archive for May, 2012

Little Pearl’s third birthday is coming up soon, and I’ve been trying to think of a special gift. She does have a lot of toys already, mostly Montessori inspired (with an over-large side serving of Toy Story merchandise… sigh), and anything she doesn’t have here at home is probably at her grandparents’ house.

I was given a doll when I was four, who still sits in the top of my wardrobe. She is in very poor condition but I just can’t bear to throw her away. I want my daughter to have a special doll like that.

For a while I have been hoping to get a Piccoli Waldorf doll – she makes the most beautiful dolls but they are very hard to buy. This is my favourite (even if she is – choke – Disney Princess-inspired):

But the birthday is creeping closer, and despite several attempts over the last couple of months a Piccoli doll remained elusive. I love the sweet faces on the Piccoli dolls and the colours in their hair, so I went on an Etsy – madeit- ebay hunt for a Waldorf doll for Little Pearl’s birthday. I finally found this little lass several pages into an Etsy search –

– and she went straight in to the shopping cart.

Unfortunately, my newfound obsession didn’t stop there. I began wondering how hard they were to make, and if my rusty sewing skills could be resurrected for the job. So, in my typical fashion, I promptly went and ordered a doll making kit and DVD… you know, as if I actually had time to be making dolls.

I would really like to give Little Pearl a doll that looks like her though, with curly brown hair and hazel eyes. And part of the philosophy of the Waldorf-Steiner dolls is that they are handmade with natural materials and one of a kind. I can be pretty confident that any doll made by me will be one of a kind for sure, but I really like the idea of involving Little Pearl in making a doll especially for her. Also, I haven’t sewn or knitted since she was about six months old, and I want her to see how things can be made at home.

So it’s decided:our winter project will be doll-making.

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On Monday, my little girl walked into her new classroom without so much as a backward glance. And why not? In front of her was a new world of little people to meet, books to read, pictures to paint. Behind, a mother feeling a little sad, a little envious and a lot of hope.

We all parent in our own ways. When I was pregnant with Little Pearl, it was the attachment parenting literature that resonated the most with me. So when she arrived, she spent most of her daytime hours in a sling and her night time hours in a three sided cot by our bed. If she cried, she was comforted, and she continued breastfeeding well past the one year mark.

Well meaning people (at least, I hope they were well-meaning) assured me that my daughter would grow to be clingy and insecure using such methods; that she would be unable to manage her own emotions, or learn to fall asleep on her own. She would be a late walker from all that time spent in the sling, and she would be having a ‘breastfeed at the school gate’. And yes, under the age of six months, all those things were probably true.

But she’s more or less slept through the night from six months onwards, and she puts herself in ‘time out’ when her emotions get the better of her. She walked on time. She goes to sleep herself, after a little play with her dolls. And if she still has the occasional breastfeed, it’s never been at the school gate.

I write this not to suggest that attachment parenting is for every parent, or that it is the only way to parent, and certainly not to ascribe the miracle that is my daughter to a set of techniques. I write it to dispel the myth that a child raised using attachment parenting philosophies will be insecure and clingy, with a mama complex.

This week, my daughter took her first steps in to a world without a family member. She did it confidently and with great anticipation, without any thought of fear or anxiety. The only fear and anxiety was mine, that we had hit another milestone on the great journey of ‘letting go’ that is parenting. Now she will make friends without my encouraging smile, fall without my ready hand to steady her, and learn new words and skills without my teaching.

Just how it should be.

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