Around the Yard

I'm on a roll with pictures, so here are some from around the yard. Spring is in full bloom now and the garden is coming along. While we're at it, why don't we play a little round of "Which one of these pictures doesn't belong?"

 

If you are a cup-half-empty kind of person, you might feel indignation at the sight of a burning wood stove in late May. If you are a cup-half-full kind of person, you might think, Hey! Best of both worlds: flowers in bloom and cozy fire!

Which one are you?

Photo Dump

I've been pretty lazy about posting pictures here, so I figure I'm due for a big old photo dump. Auntie M and cousin J visited this weekend, so I happen to have dozens of adorable kid pictures. As you'll see, the weekend was full of gardening (or rather, watering), biking, expanding the chicken coop (with a very patient Dave), walking in the woods, roasting hotdogs and marshmallows, and bedtime sillies.

Mom, this post is for YOU.

Reverence

Earth who gives us all this food
Sun who makes it ripe and good
Dearest Earth and Dearest Sun
We will not forget what you have done.

I decided to try out an A.L.M. Writes prompt for today’s post, and for May 18th the word is “Reverence”. This word is timely for me. The concept of reverence has been on my mind, stemming mainly from a parent evening on the role of Christianity in Waldorf education.

I love Waldorf education – no need to go on and on about that here – and one of the aspects I love most is the thorough study of world religions, both historic and present. The curriculum does not provide a Christian religious education, but it was developed by a Christian philosopher, and the concept of reverence, especially for nature, is woven into all subject matter.

The question I have been turning over in my mind as I think about the role of religion in Waldorf education is, where is the line between reverence and worship? I am comfortable with reverence. I am not comfortable with worship.

Reverence is defined as deep respect for someone or something. Worship is the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity. So it seems to me that the underlying feeling or act of reverence and worship is the same, but in the case of worship, it is directed towards a deity. 

What is a deity, then? In addition to the typical “god or goddess” definition, deity can also mean “one exalted or revered as supremely good or powerful”.

I don’t personify the sun, water or Earth, but I would categorize them as supremely good and powerful. They are good in the sense that they allow for life; yet they hold amazing power, both constructive and destructive. In other words, I find in them that same balance of good and evil that exists within every society… and every human.

Therefore, the fine line between reverence and worship hinges on whether the sun, for example, can be characterized as a deity.

I love the simplicity of the snack time verse our children brought home from school; it has also become our dinner blessing. We feel it is important to teach our children respect for nature and gratitude for all that we have.

But I’m not sure if our blessing is an expression of reverence or worship.

 

Settling in...

This month at VTmommies I write about the transition into settled life… Anyone else feeling this shift as well?

As the dust settles around our latest (and hopefully last for a long time) major life decision — moving to Vermont — it is hitting me that I have entered a new stage of life. It is no longer about forging a path, but rather, living the chosen path. This is it. This is our house. This is my family. This is my job. From here on out, any big changes will be unexpected, and if there is one, there is a good chance it will be unwelcomed. For the first time in my adult life, my life as it is now is what I hope it will be for many years.

Read the whole thing here!

Seasons Inside

I like to try to mark the changing seasons inside our home… nothing extravagant, just a few toys and books, and some nature items. Even though it is subtle, the kids notice and are now starting to ooh and ahh over the treasures that reappear for only a month or two each year. This year, especially, I found it refreshing - therapeutic, even - to pack away the winter objects and bring out the spring, even before spring actually got to us. A needed reminder that it was on its way.

Right now, we have this as our centerpiece,

as well as my favorite flowers, of course.

I try my best to stay on top of rotating the monthly poem from John Updike's, A Child's Calendar, although we had April's page well into May.

And the seasonal table. It's a dark picture because the only time it looks neat and tidy is at night when no kids are around. These treasures get used for all sorts of things. This week, Alexandra has been packing them (and many other things) into the cooler and lugging it around on pretend picnics. 

I'd love to hear how you mark the seasons in your home!

 

Happy, bickering children

My kids have been fighting a lot lately. I blame it all on my mom, I’m pretty sure she’s been wishing fighting children on me since the days (years) I spent torturing my sister. Even if it isn’t actually my mom’s fault, it isn’t really any one kid’s fault either. Based on my observations, there are two typical scenarios. 

One is when Clara tries to play with Katherine when Katherine doesn’t want to, usually because she is deeply involved in a complex, seven-year-old craft project. Upon being rejected, Clara starts teasing Katherine in a singsong voice: Katherine doesn’t like chocolate. Katherine, who LOVES chocolate and can’t bear the thought of anyone thinking otherwise about her, reacts in a loud screech: I DO love chocolate! Stop saying I don’t!! It just escalates from there, with the chocolate theme being quickly replaced by the poop theme, Katherine and Clara getting physical, and little Alexandra imitating all the bathroom words, delighted with the commotion.

The other scenario involves fighting over some common object, such as a stick. One kid wants the exact stick the other kid has. There is screaming, tugging, pushing, crying - over a stick that is exactly like the thousands of other sticks at their disposal. From my adult perspective, this is so ridiculous I almost can’t bear it. I have to remind myself that it is about the interaction, not the stick. They must really want, or even need, to fight. Maybe it is a developmental process they have to go through in order to learn the social skills they’ll need throughout life.

In the first scenario, I think my role is to help preserve Katherine’s space to do her own thing, by herself. After a full day of school, she needs some down time. Clara, who really wants to play with Katherine, needs a little redirecting. Perhaps an art project of her own.

In the second scenario, though, I think I should back off and not assume my role is to prevent the fighting, or try to impose my adult logic onto their developing kid logic.  Besides, my logic seems to wash - unheard - right over them, (Me: “Kids! There are thousands of sticks right there! Why don’t you just find another one?” Them: blank look, followed by “No! I want that one! I had that one first!”)

So my new strategy is to step back and let the bickering run its course, staying just close enough to it to make sure no one is scared or getting hurt. Maybe if I give them space, they can find their way through and develop those social skills a little faster. Even if they don’t, it will probably be more pleasant for me to be on the sidelines rather than throwing myself into battle.

In addition to stepping back, I'm going to start focusing on the moments of harmony. It's easy to  overlook how much fun they do have together. If I look at it objectively, I might find there really is a nice balance

See? Two pictures of happy sisters right off the bat.

TV-free week results

TV-free week is over. We made it through. I wondered if my productivity would increase given the extra time, but sadly, I have to say it didn't. I got about the same amount done each day and still stayed up just as late. I would say the same was true for Dave, and his office did not get cleaned and organized.

We also missed our end-of-the-day time together watching the characters in the teen dramas I love work out their complex life problems within 40 minutes. Instead, we spent it each at our own computer trying to catch up on work/email/writing/reading. Maybe to really get the benefit of TV-free evenings, we'd have to actually go computer-free. I'm not sure we could pull that off, though, since we are committed to keeping screens off while kids are around. 

But maybe we can cut down to just a few nights of TV a week. It's all about balance, right? Besides, if I can get into the habit of getting into bed a little earlier on non-TV nights, maybe I'll manage to read more than two pages before falling asleep - and actually enjoy reading a whole, entire book for a change… Teen drama and chick-lit, of course.

 

Mother's Day Off

I think Mother's Day should be renamed Mother's Day Off. I am really grateful that I get to spend most days with my kids. But I have to admit, I struggle with the pressure to spend Mother's Day with my children. All week long people have been discussing their Mother's Day plans… Oh, we're going to brunch and then for a family bike ride… Every year we spend Mother's Day together in the garden, as a family… My kids are going to surprise me with a special outing… That all sounds lovely - mothers spending a delightful day basking in the presence of their children - but honestly, what would make the day really special would be to have time to myself.

I didn't feel this way last year; I remember wanting nothing more than to spend all day with my kids - but I was working full-time then. I can also imagine wanting to spend all day with them in a few years, when time together might be little rarer. But during these early years when I am home with them, a day off would be nice. 

However, I have a hard time saying this to my family, especially when the kids are excited to make the day special. So we spent the morning working in the garden, then went to our local bakery for coffee and cookies, and headed to our favorite picnic spot for lunch. I did manage to break away for a bike ride by myself during rest time, and we finished up the afternoon working on the chicken coop. Dinner was a cookout over the bonfire, with roasted marshmallows for dessert (of course). The weather was perfect - another beautiful spring day.

Except for the bickering over a swing on our picnic (note: there were four swings and three children) that resulted in a four-year-old tantrum and made the day feel annoyingly like every other day, it really was a lovely day, even if it wasn't a day off. 

And now, because tv-free week is OVER, I get to go watch T.V. 

Happy Mother's Day!


Around the neighborhood

Today I am sharing a few good reads from around the internet. Weekend reading, if you will. Enjoy!

In response to the article by Tal Fortgang,  Kristen Howerton wrote an important post on the concept of White Privilege, what it actually means, and why we should take time to understand the concept. Here is an excerpt of her piece:

Being told to check your privilege has nothing to do with apologizing for being white. It has to do with being insensitive to the life experiences of others. “Check your empathy skills” might be a better phrase, but nonetheless, it’s not an attempt to shame someone’s race, but rather to point out that someone is refusing to acknowledge privilege differentials.

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Another interesting read is this piece about addiction to the internet (thanks to Shel for sharing it!). I don't consider myself an internet junkie, but I sure could relate to a few of Glennon's responses to the list of addiction warning sign questions. I will be thinking twice about the time spent at my computer. Here is an excerpt:

Are you preoccupied with the substance?

     Yes. I feel fidgety and unfocused whether I’m with or away from my phone – I feel unable to be present in the moment.

After your involvement with the substance, do you feel badly about yourself?

     Yes. After time on my internet/ social media accounts I often feel empty, competitive, anxious, icky, untethered, somehow “less than.”

Is your involvement with the substance negatively impacting your relationships with others?

     Yes. I find myself tuning my children out to “check” my social media accounts. I often choose to scroll through strangers accounts rather than engage with my husband.

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And I am especially proud of this. We can and will improve gun safety in our state and our country. If you are local and want to learn more, let me know. 

… a year-old group, called Gun Sense Vermont, has launched what will likely be the most well-organized, well-funded push yet for gun reform in this state. It’s the same group that was behind the passage of three gun-related charter changes in Burlington on Town Meeting Day. And the group’s president, a Brattleboro mother named Ann Braden, says Gun Sense will bring the same organizational prowess to passing legislation that gun-rights groups will bring to defeating it.

Hammock Time

Today was another beautiful day. I felt the pull to be outside all day, as though I’ve been severely deprived of warm sunny days for a long time and am fearful they will disappear again. Hmm.

Also, I am becoming slightly obsessed with the space that can no longer be called “apple tree clutter”. The more I clear, the more the vision evolves; it now includes a “nature playground” with tree stumps, a log balance beam, a rope or tire swing, some sort of monkey bar thing from one tree to another, and most definitely a mud kitchen. I have to remember to pace myself… this should all happen over the space of years, not days.

But I wasn’t going to write about the apple tree clutter space, or even the garden, today. I was going to write about a rare moment of doing nothing.

In the late afternoon, pretty much as soon as Dave got home from work, the fatigue of having been outside and busy all day caught up with me. Or perhaps that is when I allowed myself to acknowledge it. So I decided to take a minute to myself in the hammock. It was blissful… slowly rocking, blue sky through the green pine branches, birds chirping their early evening songs. I would have fallen asleep, except that it really was only a minute because that is how long it took the kids to realize I had escaped, come find me, and climb into the hammock with (on top of) me.

Hanging out in the hammock with three kids squirming and kicking and trying to get comfortable is not relaxing – there are a lot of feet in the face – but it was pleasant. That time (the minute without the kids and the minutes with the kids) was a good reminder to slow down and enjoy the season… in addition to getting stuff done.

Apple Tree Clutter

Today was one of those brilliantly sunny, magnificent spring days. The kind we have been waiting a very long time for. Plus it was a “stay-at-home” day for me, as opposed to a “work” or a “drive-kids-all-over-the-place” day. That meant as soon as we dropped the big kids off at school, and had our second breakfast (eggs for her, coffee for me), Alexandra and I spent all morning outside.

I was anxious to get to my list of weeding/clearing tasks. You saw the pictures of the half-weeded hoop house, the big old garden bed that I haven’t finished turning over, and the berry patches that need some tiding up since the chickens have been spreading the hay and leaves all over the place, right? Well, I didn't touch those. I made the mistake of wandering by the apple tree clutter, and once that was on my mind, the pull to work on it was too great to resist. I decided to treat myself to a little pruning before weeding. I figured I had all morning, so I’d still have time to get to the other stuff.

Of course I didn’t, though. My little pruning project turned into a vision of a shaded space among the trees, perfect for building forts and creating imaginary lands. This vision will take days of clipping, sawing, and hauling overgrown tree branches (Auntie M, don’t worry, I will save some for your next visit!), which means I barely made a dent in it this morning. By the time Clara was due home from school, I was completely worn out… and feeling a little guilty that I hadn’t even started on the higher priority tasks. 

Luckily, Dave likes my vision, and I’m pretty sure his nod of approval means I should continue to work on it tomorrow. 

Garden Tour

Yikes! It's 11:30 pm and I haven't posted yet today… so in desperation, how about a little picture tour of the garden-to-be, à la SouleMama?

(Not sure why the captions are in all caps, but now it is 11:45 and too late to try to figure it out)

The big old garden bed that I have been slowly weeding and turning over. 

The big old garden bed that I have been slowly weeding and turning over. 

The half-weeded hoop house - with hardy spinach that spontaneously came back a few weeks ago.

The half-weeded hoop house - with hardy spinach that spontaneously came back a few weeks ago.

The fort. Every garden needs a fort.

The fort. Every garden needs a fort.

Plum trees. Our hope is to add one or two trees to our "orchard" every year. 

Plum trees. Our hope is to add one or two trees to our "orchard" every year. 

In addition to a big old garden bed and hoop house, the previous owners left us three lovely berry patches: raspberry, blueberry, and strawberry. We moved in at the tail end of strawberry season last summer, so I'm very much looking forward to fresh strawberries this year.

In addition to a big old garden bed and hoop house, the previous owners left us three lovely berry patches: raspberry, blueberry, and strawberry. We moved in at the tail end of strawberry season last summer, so I'm very much looking forward to fresh strawberries this year.

Apple tree clutter - Once I finish weeding and turning over soil, I get to go back to pruning. I think I'll start here.

Apple tree clutter - Once I finish weeding and turning over soil, I get to go back to pruning. I think I'll start here.

And, last but not least, the barn garden. Any day now this will be a patch of my all time favorites: daffodils. Then it will become the kids' garden space. Katherine wants to grow yellow peppers and pumpkins. 

And, last but not least, the barn garden. Any day now this will be a patch of my all time favorites: daffodils. Then it will become the kids' garden space. Katherine wants to grow yellow peppers and pumpkins. 

Capability

Night one of TV-free week was uneventful. I didn’t get anything extra done and, surprisingly, I didn’t feel like I gained extra time. I did go to bed a little earlier, but I wasn’t any less tired this morning. It’s only day one, though. There’s still hope for increased productivity.

On another note, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of capability, and I’ve come to the conclusion that children are far more capable than we give them credit for – or allow them to be. 

Several weeks ago, Dave and I gave Katherine the weekly chore of waking up early on Sunday mornings to make pancake batter while Dave and I sleep in. We weren’t sure she’d be able to do it; it seemed like a lot to ask of a seven-year-old, but we figured we’d give it a try.

Well, she can do it, and it is by far her favorite chore, probably because we let her put chocolate chips in the batter, but also because it requires the most from her. Sweeping the kitchen floor is plain old work, but making pancakes for the whole family is a challenge and a big responsibility. She loves it. It is also an indication to us as parents that she is quite capable.

If she can make pancakes, then surely she can fill her own water bottle when she gets thirsty outside, and pour her own cereal and milk for breakfast, and put her clean clothes away, and the dozens of other things I tend to do for her without thinking about it because it is simply my habit to do so.

So now I’m starting to think twice when she (or Clara or Alexandra for that matter) makes a request or asks for my help. Is this really something she needs me to do for her? Surprisingly (or perhaps unsurprisingly), the answer is usually no. Slowly, we are shifting the habit of her asking and me doing to one of her taking the initiative to do it herself.

The shift has been slight so far, but I think we're both feeling a greater sense of freedom from it. It is also trickling down to the little sisters. Just the other day, Clara refilled her own and Alexandra’s glass of milk at breakfast without any prompting. A huge improvement over the typical “Mom! More milk please!

I wonder what else they are capable of…

Screen-free Week

This week is screen-free week. I've heard people chatting about it here and there, and it is the topic of discussion at this month’s parent evening at the kids’ school. But other than that, it doesn’t really affect us since our kids don’t get any screen time as it is. 

Dave and I, however, love watching TV. Yep, we make a point of depriving our children of any sort of electronic technology, and then we ourselves spend a good hour every evening zoning out in front of whatever pop culture has to offer – with teen dramas ranking among our (my) favorites. We may even qualify as binge-watchers when we stumble on a particularly riveting show. And by riveting, I mean the main character has long straight hair and a love interest. I can’t explain it, but watching someone with the hair I have always longer for fall in love with some near-perfect guy in a near-perfect world in which no one has to make grocery lists or sweep the floor is utterly relaxing.

But it is also a big old, mind-numbing waste of time.

So when Dave and I were going over one of our to-do lists today, we realized we’d never get to all of it… unless we cut down on our TV watching this week. As soon as the words were out, it occurred to us: screen-free week. Well, at least TV-free week since we both use our computers for work.

I’m not exactly excited about it. I look forward to this down time every evening. It is time to just sit still with Dave and take a break from reality, it pushes away the stresses of life, and it is easy, especially after a long day when we are both physically and mentally exhausted. I admit, I’ll miss it.

But I am curious to see how it affects our productivity. Will I get more done? Or will the usual amount of work just expand to fill up the time because I won’t actually have the energy to do more, even given an extra hour or two?  Will Dave feel less overwhelmed by his to-do list? Will his office finally get cleaned and organized?

I guess we’ll find out. 

Pruning and Weeding

I've never really been interested in gardening. I like the idea of growing food and I love a vase full of fresh flowers, but gardening has never been my thing. It is, however, Dave's thing. He carries our garden vision, and he has the knowledge and experience to actually make it happen. He says he'll need my help, though. 

We've been making lists for months - long lists - of the work that needs to be done in order to prepare the garden. Order seeds. Prune the raspberry and blueberry bushes and the apple trees. Start seedlings. Trim the lilac bushes down to get our bedroom view of the marsh back. Turn over the soil. Dig in the mulch, leaves, and compost. Weed. Build trellises. Clean up the green house. Expand and close in the outdoor chicken coop. Transfer and plant seeds. 

Over the winter, as Dave talked about the garden and the list grew, I wondered what my role in all of this would be. I discovered last fall that I love pruning trees. I mean, I really love it. In the same way that I get great satisfaction out of clearing clutter out of the house, I love clearing the tangle of excess branches and twigs off trees. So I volunteered to take on the raspberry and blueberry bushes, thinking that would be right up my alley. And it was. Well, I think it was - I guess we'll know for sure when we see how many berries we get.

Then, I took on the lilac bushes and the apple trees. I went into full-on pruning mode, climbing up high - one foot on the ladder, one foot balanced on a branch - perhaps going a bit overboard, until Dave gently suggested that maybe pruning is no longer the number one priority… and could I maybe get my "clearing" high from weeding, starting with the greenhouse? His seedlings are coming along and are just about ready to be transferred.

So yesterday I tackled the greenhouse. With Alexandra and Clara's "help", we cleared out the overgrowth of pansies, clovers, and dandelions. We pulled up the web of stubborn roots, turned over the soil, and raked it all smooth.

Turns out I love weeding as much as I love pruning, and I have found my role in this whole gardening thing. I am the clearer-outer. Maybe with time I'll grow to love the planting and growing part of gardening, but for now, I'm quite content keeping the space clear, tidy and clutter free.

One month, every day

The semester is this close to being done, which means my creative energy will soon be freed up and I can return to this neglected blog. I have a slightly unrealistic goal (challenge?) in mind… what if I were to write here every day for a month to try to get back into the swing of things. My friend Elaine does it every November for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and it's been in the back of my mind for a long time that I would like to try that too. November isn't a great month for me to commit to writing every day, but May just might be. It will be tricky to find time for it since the semester isn't actually over yet. But it is May 1st, and starting one month of writing every day should start on the first of the month, right? 

Also, I've always been a write-and-revise and then let it sit for a few days kind of writer, so this write-every-day idea would mean I'd have to write and hit publish. I'm not quite sure what that will look like. I'll probably end up boring you with the mundane details of life with three (bickering) children, and there will surely be many posts on gardening as I throw myself into our first attempt to grow a garden full of food. But here goes.  

Write and hit publish.

 

Night Owl

A Tale of Two Mornings

5:30: Wake up without the aid of an alarm clock because I naturally wake up at this time every morning

5:35: Hit the "brew" button on the fancy espresso maker

5:40: Settle in at my desk with a hot latte, complete with steamed milk. Catch up on email as I gaze out the dormer window, enjoying the view of the meadow as the first rays of sunlight hit the hills in the distance

6:00- 7:00: Go for a nice long run and then shower without children barging in and out of the bathroom

7:00: Wake kids and start the morning routine, refreshed from a full hour to myself

 In reality, I curse the alarm clock as it bleeps relentlessly at 6:30am, hit snooze and hide under the covers until I absolutely have to get up at 7:00am. Then I painfully drag myself out of bed, dreading the cold—although, I feel just as grumpy about mornings in summertime. Also, there is no fancy espresso machine or dormer overlooking the meadow. 

I wish I were a morning person, but I’m drawn to the night hours. I take advantage of the late, quiet hours to write, bake, organize, read, sip tea, and generally enjoy time to myself; all of the things that are hard to do during the day.  I happily – and easily – stay up past midnight, undeterred by the impending misery of morning. The open-endedness of night offers a great sense of freedom. The knowledge that the time spanning out in front of me will surely outlast my productivity is a big advantage over the morning hours, when I am all too aware that a kid could (and often does) wake up at any moment, interrupting whatever I had hoped to do.

I can get up early. I’ve done it before. In high school I eagerly bounced out of bed at 5:30am in order to play tennis. It was all I cared about and I would have done anything for an extra hour on the court. The other time was the final six months of grad school, when I worked frantically to finish my dissertation. I’m not sure I really slept at all during those months, so getting out of bed to get back to my computer was more of a relief than lying in bed in the permanent state of anxiety I seemed to be in when I wasn’t working.

These two experiences triggered a super-human – but unsustainable – energy. Unfortunately, unlike a sports passion or graduation deadline, taking care of three small children seems to suck energy rather than inspire it. As much as I love my kids, the thought of waking, dressing and feeding them every morning does not drive me out of bed.

Nevertheless, I want to try to change. Our family is in the midst of a major schedule shift due to two new jobs having started, and it would be very convenient for everyone, particularly my husband, Dave, if I could magically become a morning person. Of course if I did get up at 5:30am, I would not be sipping my coffee as the sun popped up over the hills (or playing tennis or sitting down at my computer to write). Instead I would be emptying the ashes from the woodstove and restarting the fire, feeding and watering the chickens, scraping the ice off the car, making school lunches, and preparing breakfast.

But still, it would be nice if I got up earlier and less cranky to help ease the morning madness. In order to do this, I will have to go to bed earlier.

It will be a challenge to let go of my late night quiet time. I look forward to those hours all day. However chaotic and difficult the day of juggling work and three children may be, the prospect of sitting down alone at my computer while brownies bake gets me through. I need that time, perhaps not every night, but at least on a regular basis.

Therefore, if I do make this move to become a morning person, I’ll have to replace my late-night freedom. As long as I’m getting up early, I could carve out a chunk of time on weekend mornings. It wouldn’t be the peaceful quiet of night hours, but with Dave home, I could sit down alone at my computer, or go for a nice long run, and maybe even shower without children barging in and out of the bathroom. I could start the week feeling refreshed from having had time to myself.

Come summer, when school is out and the morning madness eases up, I can resort back to my natural schedule. Until then, to face early mornings, which will be difficult regardless of an earlier bedtime, maybe we should get that fancy espresso machine.

 

 

 

Spring Play

We have finally made it beyond slipping around the icy patch of driveway on bitter cold days. Sunshine + a (hopefully) temporary lake in the yard + leftover snow + thawed ground in a warm greenhouse = hours of afternoon fun for all three kids together. We are done with the late afternoon bickering that has nearly driven me out of my mind. I can open the door and out they go - with the ability to move around the yard and play. Today they enjoyed mud cupcakes, decorated with white snow icing and pansies. 

Winter is over. And guess what? All three kids fell asleep quickly and easily!  

Spring forward…three weeks later

A few months ago I griped about the Fall-back time change. The early afternoon darkness exacerbated the witching hour and it took us many weeks to readjust our routine. Today, I am going to gripe about Spring-forward… yes, we are still feeling the effects of the time change.

The wonderful, early bedtime that we finally achieved in order to cope with Fall-back has been compromised. When it was dark at 5pm, it could be whatever time Dave and I said it was. 5:57? Bedtime! With the darkness backing us up, the kids had no way to prove us wrong (especially since they can't tell time). But now Katherine and Clara eye us suspiciously as we try to convince them at 6:30 that it is already past their bedtime, and Alexandra pulls up the window shade as if to show us it is clearly not bedtime. It’s fun to listen to them chatter away and sing each other lullabies until their room is dark enough that they’re able to give in to their exhaustion, but by then it really is past their bedtime.

On top of the too-late bedtime problem, the extra hour of evening light also means we’ve lost our morning light. I rely on morning light to get them out of bed. Like me, they are not morning people, except on Sundays and school holidays, when they consistently wake up on their own at 6:30am. On school days, if it is dark out, they don’t want to get up – even with a 5:57pm bedtime.  During the winter months, I have to drag them out of bed. We were just getting to the point of enough morning light that 7am wasn’t torture for them. Now Spring-forward has set us back again.

I know this problem will resolve itself as the days get longer and the weather gets better. Kids who spend hours outside running free, climbing trees, and riding bikes are exhausted by 5:57pm no matter how bright it is; kids who are sick and tired of slipping around on an icy driveway and sinking into three feet of old, dirty snow in 12-degree weather are not. But for these weeks in between Spring Forward and better weather, the time change is brutal.