Rhythm has eluded me for years. Alder was such an easy baby and he loved to be out wandering that we never had a reason to have a schedule, which was good with all the chaos that the last few years have been. Other than our work schedules the only anchors of our months was our weekend with family and our Monday (mostly) trips south to Northampton for coffee, walks and fabric. I only know that it was Mondays because I was always driving by the tobacco drying barns when All Tech Considered segment would come on.

But as the light shifts from summer yellow to autumn white I find myself needing to root down, at first this need was consuming me and I spent my time reading other people’s blogs and books on learning, nature and life. But what I kept finding in my reading was that it was all about the individual families there was no right way to organize my life that someone else could tell me. So I gave up reading and found other things to fill my time. Then, around the time the air got a little crisper, I realized that we had fallen into a rhythm on the days that it was just Alder and I. As we felt our way through the days there were parts that kept sliding into place at the right moment.

Walks are best for us right after breakfast, and after two we head to the sandpit. I never force these things but they come naturally to us. On days that we go to the library a snack and the playground after make for a perfect day. The only part of this non-plan that takes effort is having meals all together. Dinner especially helps to ground us for the next day. Some nights I am so tired that we revert to fend for ourselves but most nights there are three places at the table and we all sit down together.

He dresses himself

The other part of these shifts that has taken so adjustment for me is the introduction of videos into Alder’s life. Downstairs we have a television set up and we have a limited number of videos (mainly animated versions of story books, nursery rhymes or Kipper the Dog). The television doesn’t go on until around four o’clock and usually only for a half hour or so, but for us it is a good thing. It gives us both time when we can do nothing, Alder watches the video of his choice while I either go on-line or start dinner. Occasionally he asks for a second one but rarely does he get through ten minutes of it before he’s back upstairs playing or helping me. I am learning to be okay with this (I was screenless for almost ten years) but as we use it right now I think it helps us. There are lots of days that it never gets turned on, but it is there if we need it, and I keep reassuring myself that if it starts to get in the way of our life I can always unplug it and put it away.

What I have found is that as Alder grows his interest in activities last longer, now we can plan on two or three things over a day and the rest will fill up naturally on it own. Last year all of my plans would be used up by lunch and so would we, our response was to go out driving. Now we can happily spend two or three days a week at home without ever getting in the car. Something about this house has given us permission to slow down and start learning about ourselves again. This is a place of growth and learning.