Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Indoor Winter

I've tried to start this blog several times and then wasn't sure where I was going with it.
On one hand I just want to complain.
On another hand I want to try to find a way to be positive about things.
On another hand maybe I'm just trying to find people in the same situation as me.

Toby is....opinionated.
To put it gently.

But more than opinionated, he's sensitive.
When people say that someone is sensitive, the idea that first comes to mind is that of someone who is babyish and touchy. But its much more than that.

He's sensitive in that he's hyper-aware of things that other kids may breeze through.
He can't watch movies with bad-guys because he gets really really concerned about why they're acting that way. It startles him, and then he asks why they did *thing*, and then I say that it's because that character thought it was the right thing to do for them, but we know that it's maybe not the best or nicest solution. And instead of accepting that he goes… but… WHY? And I explain that that's just the way that character was written, some stories have characters like that.
But…. WHY??
And then he looses the plot line and asks to turn it off.
And it's not like we're trying to watch Avengers or anything… this is like…Finding Nemo. Or Rio.

Other things like getting dressed are a huge chore for him. Clothes have to fit right and feel right and not have tags and his socks have to be pulled up just enough, but not too much that he can feel them snug on his toes, but not too lose that they feel like they're slipping (there's about 2mm difference between these two).
Since last year was the first full year that I have not physically dressed him, he's become very independent and opinionated about what he wears.
For instance, he has been wearing shorts since last April.
He'll wear 'work pants', but he wants nothing to do with his winter pyjamas in our freezing cold house.
I guess he has a very high core-furnace, because he seems to be functioning.
He just keeps telling me that he likes the feel of his bed sheets on his legs and gets too hot at night with other pyjamas on. Which is fine… but then he doesn't want to change in the morning.
This has spilled over to outdoor clothing.
Last year's snow pants were 3 inches too short, as was his coat. And boots (ok maybe not 3 inches). So we bought new ones.
This was fine for a while, but then his mitts started slipping out of his sleeves. Last winter he left them permanently like this, risking frostbite on his wrists, but this year it was the end of the world, since we hadn't gotten used to the snow yet.
So new mitts were bought.
This fixed things for two plays outside, though the play usually still ended in tears even when I tried to cut off the games before that happened.

Then it got warm again. We had a freaky warm spell in December where he asked if he could wear shoes to town instead of boots and I said yes, cause there was no snow. Anywhere.

After that everything fell apart. The next time it snowed we tried to go outside and I couldn't get his pants folded right to fit in his boots. I did it 5 times, convinced him that it would get better once he started moving, finished dressing him, turned around to get my coat, and turned back to find him in tears and undressing himself.
The next week he wanted to go sledding, so we tried again. I told him that last year he wore his pajama pants with socks over the cuff so it didn't feel weird in his boots. He didn't believe me and didn't want to try.
This happened about 4 times before he convinced himself that his boots didn't fit, and no other pairs of boots would ever fit. And all of his socks were terrible. And he was never changing out of pyjamas ever again.

We are now down to one pair of socks that he will wear, a new pair of shoes that he barely tolerates, a jacket (with t-shirt underneath, no long-sleeved shirts allowed), and a cap.
No mitts.
No winter coat.
No toque.
No boots.

Yep.

I was really really frustrated and angry at first. Just when I think I have him figured out, he comes up with some other unmanageable trait.
But eventually I had to admit… he's fine.
If he's cold in the house (which is rare) he will put on a sweater, or slippers, but rarely both at the same time. Sometimes he even wears his toque cause his head is 'so cold'…  but he can't wear it outside...
We're only outside long enough to walk from the car to whatever building we're going to, so if he chooses not to wear a proper hat he will be cold but he won't die.
I tell him frequently that if he doesn't like it, I brought his toque. He doesn't complain after that.
I worried about exercise because he's a very active kid who is now spending most of his time sitting and playing with Lego. But we go to the store several days a week where he does nothing but run laps around the store. Literally.
I finally relaxed a little more when I came across this article about kids with Sensory Processing Disorder. I don't want to jump on the 'he has a disorder' wagon, but it's nice to know there are other people struggling with similarly exasperating issues. Please do read the article, because I want to just quote the heck out of it… but it's better to read.

I will quote this though: "For parents, avoiding certain situations can seem like an easier prospect than dealing with the potential fallout, not to mention the waiting judgment of a bystander"

We avoid large group play dates where I know he will get over-stimulated, even if he appears to be having fun. The fallout at home for the next two days isn't worth it.
We avoid long day-trips/car rides. His comfort level in the car lasts for about an hour, and even if we reach a destination just fine… it's the getting home again...
We avoid situations with loud unpredictable noises like parades, fireworks, or concert performances.
We only engage in play activities where I know he's appropriately dressed, and won't be either left-out, or try to join in and inevitably be miserable (which in his head it still not worth dealing with the clothing).

So, I'm sorry if we cancel play-dates unexpectedly.
I'm sorry if you come to our house and he throws a fit because he wasn't expecting anyone to come at that exact moment.
I'm sorry that we haven't been to any outdoor play activities this winter.
It's nothing personal… it's just how we need to function.

I've made peace with the fact that we will not be going outside this winter. It's not worth stressing over. Next year may be the same or different.
He's going to be one of those people who walk around in shorts and a t-shirt in the winter.
He's going to be one of those people who has a really hard time adjusting to change.

As long as I can realize that now, maybe I can come up with the tools to help him on his way.

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Mess

Our living room is a mess. It's always a mess.

This was last year. Lots of play, but lots of mess.

This is what it looked like last week. Not it's worst, but it was in amongst other cleaning/re-organizing projects that were going on.

After all the Lego was cleaned up and the floor vacuumed , I went to make dinner and came back to this:

All the Playmobil was... everywhere.
(Also note that 90% of the Playmobil is over 15 years old and belonged to Shannon and I)

"What are you doing?!" I asked, trying to keep a good humour.
"Building a farm" said Toby.

And upon closer inspection, amid the apparent chaos was a series of very thought out tableaus.

A very busy pond complete with Mallards, geese, fish, lily pads, frogs.....and lobsters...

 A rabbit hutch enclosure with flowers to munch, water bowls, and a thicket for hiding.

A very busy orchard tree where the squirrels and owls hang out.

A barn yard (originally a circus tent) with cows, pigs, ponies, and goats)

 And a baby calf nursing.

The beginnings of a Home Depot, complete with garden centre.

Guy harvesting all the apples that fell on the ground into crates for the market.

Chainsawing down a tree because it's old and close to the house and they don't want it to get hit by lightning.


 Gas station down to road from the farm.


 Apparently this is me planting things in pots, while Anthony and Toby dig a big hole in the garden.


The house is under renovations, so all the furniture got taken out and drop cloths were put down.

Apparently this is also a farm that people can come stay at and learn about farming.
There was a big introductory ceremony where they all shook hands and the kids ran off to play.

Home Depot now has shelves and product.



And a very precarious sign.





Even though I know he's playing, I still feel like everything is in a constant state of mess.
That's why I documented this, to prove to myself that there is a high level of organized play withing the chaos.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Small Talk

I'm an introvert.

Sort of.

I've recently been introduced to the term 'ambivert', which is kind of a limbo area between introvert and extrovert. You possess all the introverted qualities of needing a personal bubble and quiet time and preferring to be an observer, but you also occasionally REALLY enjoy being at a bar or a concert or having deep multi-hour conversations.

One thing that rang very true for me was that, even though us ambiverts enjoy talking, engaging in small-talk is very hard and tiresome and riddled with anxiety.

I like rambling. Hence why I blog (and why they sometimes get wordy and carried away.. sorry about that). So I find it hard to keep my feelings contained to short answers and not get in to divulging information that other people really don't care about, or that I don't need to share with someone who used to go to college with my grandparents who I haven't seen in like 10 years.
I begin to feel that small-talk is like lying.
And I have a hard time with that.

"Hi! How are you doing?!"
"Just fine, how about you?" Actually I'm not all that fine, I've been pretty sleep deprived lately. Full of anxiety for unknown reasons. My son's been pretty moody lately so it's kind of wearing us all down. And I just asked how you were because it's habit… I'm still not really remembering your name, though I'm sure I should know it.

"Congratulations by the way!"
"Oh thanks!" Wait, why did you say that… are you referring to me having a kid? That was like 6 years ago...Have I talked to you since then? Did I do something I forgot about? Did I get an award? Oh, wait, you must be talking about taking over the toy store… we'll go with that and hope I'm right

"How is all that going?"
"Pretty great, yeah it's been a lot of fun!" I'm really hoping you're referring to the toy store. And it's actually been pretty stressful lately just trying to keep up with everything. Another reason I've probably been not sleeping properly. There's a lot on my mind.

"And how's little Toby doing?"
"Oh he's pretty good. Smart kid. Growing like a weed" He's fine today, but yesterday he was not fine. not fine at all. He harbours a lot of low self esteem and anxiety that turns to aggression. I'm not sure where it comes from. We manage, but it's tiring to stay one step ahead of it all the time.

"He must be in school by now right? How old is he?"
"He's 6, and actually we're homeschooling" *Braces for potential reactions to 'homeschooling'*

"Oh…homeschooling eh?"
"Yeah, it's going pretty well… we're having fun with it so far" I'm only really homeschooling out of survival. He had a really hard time adjusting to getting up everyday and leaving the house. He's been responding better to homeschooling, but I sometimes feel like he's not getting enough stimulation. Other days he seems to find enough to learn about of his own, so I try to cling to those days and remember that he's 'only' 6.

"Well it was good to see you again! Say hi to your Grandma for me."
"Yeah, will do!" Since I don't really remember who you are, I'm not sure which Grandma you're referring to, and I don't call either of them 'Grandma' so that just makes it more confusing. I'm realizing now I didn't ask you a single question for this entire conversation so it probably seemed like I was a lousy conversationalist. Sorry about that. I'm going to go look really interested in this thing over here so nobody else talks to me and asks me all the same questions and I have to repeat all this over and over and over again.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

I'm Still Here

So... it's been a while.

How have you been?

Me? Well, I'm ... ya know...

Tired.

That seems like such a 'mom' thing to say right? The cop-out answer to the 'how are you?' question. "Oh, ya know, tired". Maybe even a feeble laugh for good measure.

The fact is, unless your kids are quiet, well-behaved, love-to-sleep angels... like..99% of the time...which isn't actually healthy for kids to be like... then you will feel that nagging, exasperated, swelling, weighted feeling that is simplest to express as just... 'Tired'.

One would think that this should pass after toddler-hood. It did for a while. But child-hood seems to have brought forth a whole new set of obstacles.

Let's try to remain positive for a moment...
- Toby sleeps through the night. If he wakes slightly, he falls back asleep.
- He doesn't nurse. There was a time when I was sure he'd be in college before he stopped.
- He has only twice had a bathroom accident, when he was first toilet training. Never since. He wakes up early and creeps to the bathroom himself.
- He gets himself dressed. He knows what clothes he likes, picks them out, matches them, dresses himself entirely.
- He eats lots of good food. Always has.
- He's all about safety gear. Hard hat and eye glasses and ear protectors always when doing work. Even if it's pretend work with Lego.

But even so... as I said... there are some new obstacles.

Yes he sleeps through the night, but I must be the one to put him to bed. Always. Don't be late. Don't think about going away for the weekend. Cause he just won't sleep. Or he'll cry til he passes out, and not in a good way. He's smart enough now that he knows I don't actually go to bed when he goes to bed, I go downstairs. And heaven forbid if I'm not there when he has a once-in-a-blue-moon anxiety attack.

No, he doesn't nurse, but now he argues. I used to able to curb a tantrum by sitting on the couch and lifting my shirt. Now there's just screaming. He won't come sit on my lap. I'm not allowed to touch him, but I MUST pick him up THIS MINUTE. Without touching him. Or coming near him. Or talking to him. Or looking at him. BUT DON'T LEAVE THE ROOM. Sit here. Let me push your back with my feet. DON'T GET UP, WHERE ARE YOU GOING??

Yes, he's great with the toilet. But he must never ever ever wipe himself. Why? Because he might get something on his finger. And no, folding the toilet paper to cover his hand is NOT the answer. It MUST be rolled into the tightest tiniest ball possible. But since it's in a ball, his fingers might get dirty. Oh, and this ball MUST consist of EXACTLY 1/3 of a toilet paper roll. Cause, duh, any more than that would be a waste. But any less MIGHT let some wet through.

He gets dressed on his own... but that also means I may never ever have another opinion about his clothing ever again. We went to three weddings this summer. The first was a novelty, so he dressed the part. But in the car the jacket came off. After the ceremony the vest and tie came off. At the dinner the shirt had to be unbuttoned. We left in t-shirt, pants, and running shoes. The next wedding was granted a button up shirt, nothing more. The next wedding he refused to attend.
He has  yet to put on winter pajamas. He has been wearing shorts and a t-shirt since May. He insists he's warm, but maybe I could turn the heat up a bit... and bring him some blankets...and tea. Oh and also, those boots and coat he said he loved? Well, something has gone HORRIBLY wrong, and they can't POSSIBLY be the same ones we bought because they feel weird. Yesterday they we're too big, now everything is too tight. But we should go outside. Like now. But sorry no, those snow boots are unacceptable. Why aren't we going outside yet?

He eats lots of good food, but has suddenly decided he's picky. He can't eat anything apple-cinnamon flavoured, even though he used to love it. But he LOVES apple crisp. He will ONLY drink soy milk on his cereal, cause that's what Grampa has, but can't tell the difference if I put almond milk on when he's not looking. Fish is forbidden, unless it's canned tuna. Chicken is okaaaaaay I guess, as long as it doesn't actually resemble chicken. Like if it's chicken thighs all chopped up with some kind of sauce, we're good. But no strips of chicken breast. He loves baking cookies, and pretends to like eating them, but never eats more than one. Then the whole batch just kind of...sits. Spinach salad used to be be a favourite, but now it's awful. Just awful. Brussels Sprouts on the other hand... load em up.

He's all about being safe, but will happily walk through a construction site barefoot. But will then complain about all the sharp things in his feet. He needs the right gear for the job but won't wear weather appropriate clothing. Rain boots? In the rain? I'm pretty sure that's why flip flops were invented. Don't really care that it's 2 degrees out. But go out in flip flops onto dewy grass on a 30 degree morning?? Well THAT my friend calls for some rubber boots! Maybe even a raincoat for good measure!

So you see... I'm tired.
Not just sleep deprived, because I do actually sleep, but tired of arguing. Tired of trying to make myself stay very very calm and rational. Tired of trying to think two steps ahead of unpredictable. Tired of making plans, but knowing that they probably won't stick. Tired of being a mediator for myself and a 6 year old.

And with that, I disappear again.
Hopefully for not as long.
Depends how tired I'm feeling.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

First Day of 'School'

 First Day of School

7:30 am - Wake up... barely

7:50 am - Get actually woken up by Toby crawling in to bed beside me

8:00 am - Grumbly stomach forces me out of bed

8:30 am - Do dishes and wonder if I'm ever going to make the zucchini relish I've been saying I was going to make for two weeks.

8:35 am - Find lost Lego piece upon request

8:40 am - Resume dishes

8:45 am - Take apart stuck Lego pieces upon request

9:00 am - Get roped in to building Lego

9:20 am - Receive text message asking if we are free to play at the last minute.
(Yes, anything but more cleaning!)

9:35 am - Bake banana muffins

10:30 am - Leave home

11:00 am - Learn about electrical circuits 


11:15 am - Discover that reading upside down is WAY better than reading sitting up


11:20 am - Finally get the circuit to work properly


11:30 am - Disappear and play make-believe games

12:05 pm - Look for the moon through the clouds... or possibly just spy on the construction equipment driving up and down the road


12:30 pm - Remember that it's lunch-ish time.
Spend an hour eating sweet potato soup, jambalaya, watermelon, and banana muffins


1:30 pm - Go outside at kid's request (and now that it's done raining)
Kids disappear and play games in the tree fort and on the swings

2:15 pm - We're presented with a garden harvest


2:30 pm - More harvest shows up at the table


2:35 pm - Break open some beans and determine that they are too far-gone to eat, but not ripe enough to harvest the seeds yet.

2:55 pm  - Find a dead mosquito on the table and study it up close.

3:00 pm - Go inside because it's now wet and cold. Have another snack of muffins.

3:15 pm - Kids disappear to 'rehearse for a play'

3:30 pm - Watch performance of 'play'


3:53 pm - Realize what time it is and remember that dinner is a thing that needs to be made at home.

4:15 pm - Actually leave

Home - make dinner and cut up zucchini to maybe get the relish done tomorrow...


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Growing Goodness

A month or so ago I read a piece about making a list of the top five things you want your child to learn.
This doesn't necessarily mean 'math/science/history', though not dis-counting those, but can also entail morals and values that are strong in your family.
It's harder than you think. There are so many things  you want your kids to experience, it's hard to narrow it down to only the top 5, especially when you drop the barrier between 'school subjects' and 'life lessons'.
While I have not narrowed down my list whatsoever, the one solid point, that I actually got from the original piece I read, was that I was my kids to know how to grow and prepare their own food.

At first you think, ok sure, how hard is it to stick a seed in the ground? You trying to turn them into a chef with all this kitchen mumbo-jumbo?

Maybe to some it sounds less important than knowing how to manage finances, or memorize the periodic table.

But someday, and I think we're seeing hints of this already, it's not going to be easy to find good, safe food in our grocery stores, if at all.

I was brought up living next door to my Opa, whose entire life has been agriculture. He tended kilometers of tomato greenhouses when he lived in Holland, and even ended up looking after his brother's gardening jobs when they skipped out to go swimming. When he moved to Canada all he knew how to do was farm and moved across the country earning money at what he did best. For years he worked on the Holland Marsh here in Ontario, and has become one of the provinces foremost experts on carrot and onion crops.
This spilled over into home-life where we would grow over an acre of experimental vegetable varieties each year that had to be kept in top shape in order for the trials to be worth it.
In his 'retirement' we still manage almost as much garden space, but mostly 'personal' experiments now with some new variety of potato or another.
I wasn't in the garden much when I was little. But I still watched. And Toby has a drive to just dig, so we were given our own plot when he was young. I knew a lot from watching, but still learned a lot.
Keep your rows straight so the irrigation hose doesn't have to jog.
Keep your rows even so raking and weeding the paths is easier.
Keep the dirt on the paths loose to prevent weed growth and not trap the vegetables in the ground.
Label everything.
Keep track of the day you plant every year.
When the food is ripe, pick it every day.

This style of farming may sound daunting. And I'd be lying if i said it wasn't.
Sometimes I wish I didn't know what I know so I didn't have to be so picky.
But the truth is, it works. Nothing fails. Everything tastes good.

This is what I want my kids to learn. I want them to know what real food is. I want them to know where food comes from so they understand how much work it must take to fill the shelves of a grocery store. ALL the grocery stores. I want them to be able to feed themselves and their neighbours if there is a food catastrophe some day. I want them to know that cooking is not terrifying. I want math lessons based on kitchen measures and garden hose lengths. I want them to grow good things as they 'grow good' themselves. I want them to know what sharing goodness feels like.

I wanted to have a booth at the farmer's market this year, but in the end decided it wasn't the right thing for us. What we're planning to do instead is be 'open' here saturday and sunday mornings with fresh produce and snacks and my sewing projects waiting at the end of the lane. Ideally we would have started already, but life has a way of getting away on you. In the next few weeks we hope to be back on track, and I hope that those in the area can come say hi :)


Thursday, May 29, 2014

The 'S' Word

Socialization...

Lately, while shopping with Toby on a weekday, I've been getting random people coming up and making a 'pleasant' remark about 'skipping school with mom today'.
I awkwardly laugh, while Toby pretends they don't exist, and say that we homeschool.
Surprisingly, over half the people I say that to think it's awesome and tell Toby how lucky he is (remember, these are random strangers who initially came across as being accusatory), and roll their eyes to me and say something along the lines of 'They make them start school too young anyways'.
The other half kind stand for a moment unsure of what to say and usually end up saying something along the lines of 'ooooh' and then 'Do you think you'll send him next year?' and then 'I guess, as long as he's getting enough socialization...'

I have to bite my tongue in front of Toby because I don't want to turn it into a big deal, or make him feel shamed, or embarrass myself. So I shrug and smile and just say we're having fun with it for now, and then leave quickly.

For one thing, I have no idea if I'll send him next year or not. It's kind of up to him. And asking a 5 year old to make up their mind 6 months in advance is a pointless burden. Yes, I'd like him to go. Yes, I'd like the time to myself. However, I wasn't really getting time to myself last fall anyway. I have to be up early, and at the school on time, and back home at a certain time, and it all flew by too quickly. Now we can stay home if we want, or spend the whole day in town if we want. I can work extra days or work late if someone's around to look after Toby, or because of the nature of my job, I can just take him with me for a few hours.

As far as the dreaded 'S' word...
My biggest fears going into this was socialization and math.
The math fear went away pretty quickly after reading some really re-assuring articles about primary math lessons (after that though, I'm still nervous), but the socialization worry comes and goes depending on how things are going. Some weeks I'm in knots over the fact that we haven't interacted with any kids in, like, forever. Other weeks I think....so?....he's fine.

Having one of the former-type weeks, I happened upon this blog on a website that has constantly been the soothing emotional back rub that I need on this journey.
If you're one of those people like me who aren't intending on clicking over to read the blog, It's on Simplehomeschool.net and it's a great eye roll at the notion that homeschool kids are missing out on being 'social'. Honestly I feel like writing more is redundant because that blog says everything I feel.

Anyway, I got thinking a lot about what socialization actually means, and why western civilization seems to think that the only way to get it is in a room of 30 kids your own age.

so·cial·i·za·tion

  [soh-shuh-luh-zey-shuhn]  Show IPA
noun
1.
a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values,behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position.

Hmm...Nothing about the necessity to be with 200+ peers while learning this.

I TOTALLY get how it can be good to be in situations like that for kids to get used to instruction and listening and dealing with chaos, etc. I know some kids crave being in a big group. And small parts of me still wishes Toby would just...go...but then I know how anxious he gets when confronted with chaos. I know That he takes his time eating good food, and can't finish his lunch in the 15 minutes they're allotted. I know he takes a LONG time to warm up to things.
Which, at the time, were all reasons I wanted him to be in school - to 'snap out of it'.
Now I see how happy he his daily and how much he's actually learned in the last year.

If socialization is about learning about identity, values, behavior and social skills....I think we're good.

Identity: Toby has started to be particular about what he wears, even down to his underwear matching his pajamas. He changes from 'play clothes' to 'town clothes' if we go somewhere in the middle of the day... a notion that used to make him kick and scream until mommy decided that we really didn't need that chicken for dinner after all, or finally gave in and dragged a dirty, barefoot, pajama-clad toddler to the grocery store.
He knows what he's in to and what he likes to eat. He has a favourite colour. He knows he's 5 and a half. He knows he's a boy and is drawn to very boyish things. He knows who everyone in his family is and who he is in relation to them.

Values: We talk frequently about acceptance and responsibility and the environment. It was Toby's idea to pick up litter on our road on Earth Day. He still comments (and has since he was two) whenever he sees garbage on the ground that he wishes people would just learn to put things in a garbage can. He's very helpful and caring. He knows the value of home-grown food. He's asked if we can plant a bee/butterfly garden to give a place for the bees to go that's not near where we play where they will be happy.

Behavior: I always said I'd never ever bring my kids to a restaurant until they were at least 6. I had witnessed too many meltdowns and embarrassing behaviors while out to dinner through my teens.
However Toby's first taste of 'eating out' began when he was about 9 months old. Yes, he crawled all over me, but then he nursed and settled down. Then I read him a book. Then the waitress brought him his own bowl of (free) cucumber slices to suck on. A few months after that he was introduced to the merriment of french fries. He's grown up knowing how to be patient and behave in a restaurant setting, without me ever having to raise my voice or threaten to never come back.
He frequently grocery shops with me and has always preferred sitting in the buggy to walking beside me because he can see things better from up high. Including him in this task has taught him to behave and be patient while things get done.
Behavior also isn't just about being quiet and patient. It can be about knowing when to run and be silly. He knows grass is for running. He knows slides are for racing and laughing. He knows that being among other kids means waiting his turn and not climbing up the slides or running in front of the swings.

Social Skills: While he still is hesitant to strike up a conversation with strangers (which is maybe a GOOD thing) he talks non-stop at home, using gestures, expressions, and eye-contact.
He has ALWAYS shied away from people in public, but as my mom keeps reminding me, I did too. I still do. But that doesn't make me anti-social and it doesn't mean Toby is doomed. He's only 5.
I admit I've been frustrated with him. Sometimes I want him to just acknowledge a friendly hello, or walk two feet away from me and play instead of insisting I be glued to him indefinitely. I think part of my reason for wanting him to go to school was so he would just not be touching me for a few hours.
The last two weeks, however, have been a pleasant surprise for me. After weeks of moodiness and clinginess and suspected growing pains, he's quietly transformed into this different person.

He gets himself dressed entirely on his own instead of flopping and whining on the couch that he needs me to do it. He goes and plays outside on his own which it a TOTALLY foreign concept in this house, and I love it. He spent the entire day with Anthony while I was at work and they even had a play date, in which Toby was allegedly polite and co-operative to the other kids/adults. Yesterday he walked away to find a table to eat at while I waited for our 'fast food'. He has never EVER walked more than a few feet from me in a restaurant, let alone wandered across a room of strangers without asking me to come. He did the same thing at a small grocery store we were in - he volunteered to put the buggy away, and wove through two lines of people to do so. He wanted to buy something at another shop we were in and used his own money and marched up to the cashier by himself to do so.
Like.... who is this kid? And can he stay around a while?

There's nothing in the definition of 'socialization' that implies you have to be in a giant group of your own age to learn any of these things. Yes, playing with other kids is fun and different than playing with your parents, but should that be a thing that's forced if they don't want to be in that situation?
Kids who end up homeschooling end up interacting with a more diverse age range of 'peers'. They learn early on about household responsibilities and how to carry them out. I think maybe they can end up having more respect for their elders and what they do, than you can ever learn in school.

I'm not at all criticizing those kids in school, or the parents who send them. I know there are certain things that you can't truly understand until you're faced with a situation. Up until last November I was adamantly against myself homeschooling. There was NO WAY it would work out.
There was also NO WAY I would ever co-sleep with my kids, before I had a kid...
There was also NO WAY I would nurse past age 2, before I had a two year old...

Different things work for different people.
This is what works right now.

And I think we're kicking 'socialization' in the butt.

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