A friend commented the other day that we shelter Alder. The comment rankled me a little I wasn’t sure why at the time but then Kevin and I were talking about it and he said it best. “Alder is three years old of course we shelter him.” If we didn’t shelter him we wouldn’t be doing our job as parents. What originally upset me with the comment was that I feel like we give him a lot of freedom, what we don’t do is arbitrarily expose him to things just because it’s what other parents are doing. I know as a boy he is going to learn about violence and probably enjoy it, but at three he doesn’t need it thrown in his face. Yes he will be late to coming to all of the violence of Television primarily because Mama and Papa don’t watch TV, sure we’ll watch a few videos here and there (and occasionally I will get sucked in on the computer for a few days to a series) but generally speaking we spend our media time with the radio and books.What really is upsetting about the comment was how television was equated to being out in the world.
So what does make up Alder’s world?
When we’re home it’s art projects, cooking, playing blocks, playing in the sand pit, and talking with Mama and Papa about the imaginary worlds he creates. A big part of his life is going out adventuring with Mama. We go on lots of walks around neighborhoods, sit in coffee shops drawings, visit museums and Open Spaces, spend time with friends of all different ages and interests. Of course there are trips to the library and the playground, and other kid oriented activities, but a great deal of our life is just doing the things we both like.
As he gets older there will be more opportunity for group activities and Alder will have more choices (currently he really wants to learn how to swim). But at this point most of his opinions about how we spend the day are preferences not to do something some days. And he most definitely does not like storytime at the library.
It seems that all have done here is quantify want he does and doesn’t do which really isn’t any description at all. His world is filled time and space to do what this thing called growing. His world is one where the corner of the kitchen is currently a house for his trains and the castle in his room is the barn while the farmer lives in the barn. It’s one where vegetables are cut in preference of color (although he eats most of them) and bread is mixed by his own two hands. It is also a world where one day we might be hiking up in the mountains is just as regular as going to galleries. His world is filled with all the things we love and it is beginning to have the things he loves as well.
Again I begin to quantify, I think that’s because Alder’s world can’t be described, each day it changes a little. It grows in some areas contracts in others. It’s the process of growing up that I see and I’m just trying to nurture it the best I can while also growing myself. We’re all on this learning trip together.