Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Unschool Monday: Support

"It takes a village to raise a child"

Sarah & Nell
This morning Harri ate left-over lasagne for breakfast, a lasagne gifted to us by a friend. For lunch she ate roast potatoes and gravy brought to us by Sarah who came to play.

Sarah and I got to exchange adult conversation, (including a discussion about doubting our abilities to successfully unschool our children).  Meanwhile Harri and Lou played with each other. When Harri needed my undivided attention (something she doesn't always get now that she's a big sister) Sarah held Nell. When Nell needed both my arms to hold her and my breasts to feed her, Sarah tended to Harri. 

We had been inside all day, so Sarah helped us get our things together and we strolled to the park, Lou on her back, Nell on my front and Harri walking by my side, holding my hand. 

Sarah & Harri
Harri was in heaven at the park, and thanks to my mei tai I could play with her, while Nell slept. And when I couldn't play with her, Sarah was there.

Back at home I tried breastfeeding Harri to sleep, but it ended in (my) tears. And when I started to fall apart, overwhelmed with the guilt, frustration and pain that is the reality of feeding my almost-three year old at the moment, Sarah rubbed my arm and said "How about we go play at my house, Harri?" which delighted my daughter. A possible tantrum moment (for both mother and daughter) was transformed into a moment of happy kisses and cuddles good-bye, all thanks to the thoughtful kindness of a friend.

With them gone, the baby and I were able to finish cleaning the kitchen (my goal for the day), sit down, and write this.

Not every day is as smooth and enjoyable as this one was. Sarah is no live-in Nanny. Some days Mummy, Toddler and Baby cry in unison over my inability to meet everyone's needs every minute of every day. Some days the three of us wish I could stretch that little bit more and feed one child while changing the other's nappy, burp one child while painting with the other, pace one to sleep while making lunch for the other. But I'm human and I come with physical (and emotional) limits. And most days, these days, I reach those limits. But not today :)

It truly takes a village to raise a child (let alone two). A couple of weeks ago I sought the counsel of an older, wiser mother of three and she begged me to remember that "it's not supposed to be like this." She reminded me that I'm "supposed to still be lying in bed with Nell, resting, while Harri runs between our huts, being cared for by all the women in the community." What bliss that would be!

I'm grateful that despite living in isolation from my sisters, I have managed to find a group of gold-hearted women committed to creating a village in suburbia.
My Rainbow Squish

We're joining in with Owlet for Unschool Monday.