Posted by: Rachel | June 6, 2011

Expanding their Horizons

It’s a beautiful morning outside and I’ve already picked the strawberries and made myself the most delicious breakfast known to mankind: Graham crackers, fresh strawberries and milk. It’s also good any other time of the day, not just breakfast time. Lunch, for supper, for dessert, even a bedtime snack.

I love this stuff

So I’ve been thinking lately about one of my favorite things about Motherhood. I love teaching my children new things and opening their eyes to the world that is all around us.

Our family is planning a day-trip to Philadelphia to visit my youngest brother who lives there. I had told the girls that someday we could go there on the train because they have long wished to have a train ride. But we are going to take the minivan this time since we have some sightseeing we wish to do while in Philly. So the other day as the girls and I were going to an appt. we were discussing the upcoming trip and I told them we may not take the train this time, but that maybe we can ride the subway while we are there. And then I answered lots of questions about subways. I told them how they are underground, and Lainey thought that would be scarey. They wanted to know how you get down in the ground, and how you get on the subway, and how you buy the tickets since I told them you need tickets to ride. And so I told them all I knew from my vast knowledge that I gathered on the grand total of two (maybe three) times that I’ve been on the subway. And they were quite impressed, I think. When we got to our appt. Lainey said, ‘this ride was full of questions!’

Last week Alaina saw a picture in the newspaper of someone pole vaulting. She asked me what that guy is doing and as I tried to explain I realized how hard pole vaulting is to describe to a seven year old. But oh, how lucky we are to live in the wonderful age of YouTube! I went to YouTube and typed in ‘pole vaulting’ and showed the girls the best pole vaults of all times. And it wasn’t just the girls that learned something about pole vaulting, I did too. Some of those guys are AMAZING. Later that day we were out in the yard and Rhiannon did something that I thought was supposed to be a cartwheel but then she said that she’s doing what the guys on the computer did, but she doesn’t have a stick. How cool is that?! I love teaching them things like this and seeing them take the information and use it in their little happy lives.

On Sunday evening Alaina was on the swingset and she would twist her swing around and around and then when it would unwind she would spin like a crazy toy top.

This picture is actually from last summer. Here she has the swing all twisted up.

After one un-winding she said that she didn’t go very fast that time. And then my brains started whirling and I remembered how I once read about figure-skaters. You know when they do their twirls how they go around really fast and then slow down again. The article that I had read said that when they pull their arms in tight to their body they go around faster. To slow down they move their arms and legs out again. And I decided the same idea must work when you are twirling on the swings. If you don’t have your legs pulled in tight you won’t go as fast. So I tried to explain this concept to her; I don’t think it she totally understood but hopefully I planted a small seed of knowledge in her head.

Here she is unwinding the swing.

Being a parent is really one big teaching session. We try to teach them the major things they need to succeed in life: Respect, kindness, patience, love, ethics, etc. And while a knowledge of pole vaulting and riding the subway may not be essential to success in life, I love how they have a genuine desire to know about these things. They ask questions and drink in what I tell them (which they don’t do when I try to tell them about the science of cleaning up, or washing dishes.)

Something I would like to teach them is about different ethnic foods. I personally don’t care for lots of different foods but would like if my children would grow up thinking that not all food should taste like American, or Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. One week I made tacos and quesadillas. (Spell check doesn’t like Quesadilla) I told them the very tiny bit that I knew about Mexican food and showed them on our globe where Mexico is located. I had good intentions of also making Indian or Chinese cuisine and teaching them about those places but never got that far. I’m sure it doesn’t help that I don’t like Chinese food or Indian food. I remember going to an Indian restaurant with my friends once when I was in high school. I think it was the LemonGrass. I didn’t want a single thing on the menu. It all sounded yucky. But I guess if I want my children to eat it I better find something I like. So if anyone has any ethnic recipes that are good for children let me know.

I’ve never felt like the kind of person that just LOVES being a mother. Like my sister-in-law, she seems to have no life outside of her husband and children, I’m not demeaning her, just saying. But I think she loves it, I don’t think she wishes for more. And that will never be me.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my children and husband but I also have goals and dreams that could exist without them. The mundane parts of motherhood don’t fulfill me. Maybe that’s wrong but I believe it’s the truth. But something that gives me great joy and makes me love being a mother is seeing my children’s eyes widen as they learn new things, to hear the wonder in their voices, to see their brains working ovetime to process some new information.

ps. this was written several days ago, I just didn’t get it posted until now.

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