Ask Kytka Archives: August 2002
Q: My baby has begin to crawl and is into everything. What can I do?
(Guest Author Netty answers this one with her experiences and insights.)
A: This is an interesting topic and one that brings to mind something that I had not thought about for a long time. The first LaLeche League meeting that I ever went to was after I already had a child that was old enough to go with me! In fact, the topic of discussion was one that my son found interesting! me: “do you want to go play with the others?” him: (whispering o me) “I want to stay here with you.” My heart was pulled in knowing what was “good for him” and what others were telling me “it is good for children to….”) He was about 3 or so.
Kytka’s note: see how many mothers feel this intuition vs. following the crowd. My advise, ALWAYS follow your own heart and intuition.
He had been born at home and nursed until almost 2. These were friends of mine that I had known, but I had never attended any of the meetings as we were just out of the ‘organized’ groups. I realized just how “out of it” we were when they began discussing (much to the interest of my very aware ‘toddler’) snacks for children. . . things that they could eat easily themselves. I don’t remember what the others said (okay, I confess – I do, Vienna sausages, jello and cheerios) but when I contributed that my son enjoyed using a hammer and cracking his own almonds (our friends grew almond trees and these did not have a hard shell, but he enjoyed using the hammer and wooden board, the nuts also were not real hard, because they were very fresh), they were all suddenly silent. They must have been thinking something!!??? I really don’t know what exactly because none of them said anything, but rather changed the subject. I later realized when I started asking myself what it could have been….they were scared about choking.
Kytka’s note: parenting is like everything in life in terms of human behavior. We either come from a place of love, which includes an intrinsic trust of the Universe or a place of fear, where we falsely believe that “dangers” can happen so we live a life of “less than”, crippled by the fear.
They commented about other foods and their fears. I became aware of that later, or thought that must have been it. I even thought how silly of me to bring that up and “unsafe” to suggest for them to try it or something. It was really just our ‘thing’ and I felt it was ‘unfit’ or ‘unsuitable’ for them and I should not have said anything. I have noticed that my other children, that have come along since, did not enjoy cracking nuts or eating them anymore. I have not encouraged it neither consciously discouraged it. We still have the nut bowls but I do not hand it to them nor sit with them to do this together as I did with my oldest. Things have changed, our house is bigger and our younger ones learn from the older ones, also, not always from just me. I don’t know what impact that or other “social” experiences like that had on my son. He didn’t begin to choke or anything like that, but I think I did begin to be more “watchful”(i.e. fearful).
Kytka’s note: Do you see how even one subtle suggestion can alter a change in a child’s behavior and imagine, these things occur day after day, moment after moment during the child’s early years, forming their personalities and whether they take risks in life, or sit on the sidelines. Hence the reason the early years are so important and a parent understands what harm less than desirable exposure can do.
Sometimes I even wonder if we were setting a bad example for other children. I did realize that not all children had the same closeness with their parents. In fact, very little of the parents seemed close to their children. They seemed more interested in measuring what each child was or was not doing and then comparing the notes. When someone felt their child was behind, I could see the parent looking at the child in a sad or judgmental way. Meanwhile, I was not really that interested in the parents or their comparing. I was happy to be right there with him. I remember that when he was hammering, our house was small, we had no other children, it was him and I and this was part of our daily activity, and it never bothered me. Again, many variables would obviously make this not a “safe” activity for others to follow our example. Yet in the hands of my son, this was a useful tool used with respect and care. We didn’t have accidents and broken things because I gently modeled the tool and then trusted that he would use it with the same care, which he did. Another time, not too long after this, I went to visit a family with one young daughter the same age as our son. They had a plate of cheese slices and crackers for all of us. My son, who had never had dairy products, began to quietly proceed to eat all the cheese on the plate when we were not watching. At this meeting, people were asking me lots of questions about Waldorf philosophy and I was involved in discussion with them and then realized the cheese was gone. He quickly admitted that he had eaten it all. me: “all of it?” him: “I liked that.” Again, not understanding then what I do now, I immediately began again doubting myself and thinking that he must be “calcium deficient” or something else must be wrong.
Kytka’s note: Ah, the dreaded labels. Do we really need labels on what is wrong with us or our children to gain some significance in our lives? Diagnosing without facts and full research or understanding, eager to “belong” even if by wearing this “label”.
Well, I began to gouge him with dairy products. We added many dairy products to meals after that and he became hooked on them. His eyes and hearing never were quite so clear and bright anymore, but rather began to gain a ‘clogged mucus’ condition which took its place. Other symptoms quickly followed and instead of learning about all the beauties of bright clear crystal colors in nature, we began to learn about mucus and allergies. Then, one morning, it dawned on me that I had taken on something other than what was from within guiding me to do what was right for my son. Again, I was led astray by the fear or the following. Again I was lead to a bad experience from not listening to and trusting him or myself. I’m sharing this because I believe that his is another type of “danger” that we can become too paranoid about. What our children eat or do not eat. Is it enough? Is my child getting enough vitamins, minerals, etc. Are they growing according to guidelines… And when it comes to foods, we follow right along, listening to the “experts” and we take that on, again rooted in a fear that they are not getting something in their diet. Identify the fear and you will be free… accept that you and your child are unique. Get over the judgments and the hundreds of thousands of voices of expertise and just move on. Trust YOUR messages and how your child communicates with you and that inner guidance and be free! I am finally free! Now I will say that it was hard and I’m not being negative, but just aware in telling you that it is so easy to fall prey to what other people say or do. What ‘news reports’, or ‘doctors’ or ‘experts’ or whoever says that we must think and do a certain thing for the good of our children. We must know what is right for us and we do know but we take it for granted and sometimes we discredit ourselves and say or believe that others know better. But how can others know? We must know. We do know.
Kytka’s note: Read that again… WE DO KNOW. Human beings survive and thrive on primal instincts and one of those is to trust what our own bodies and inner senses tell us.
And it is an ongoing process. We are learning to trust ourselves and learning to listen and to get clear. But when it is all “coming at you” – the fears, the doubts, the negativity, the peer pressure to conform and fit into a pre-shaped box, it is overwhelming and very hard to listen to the “still small voice” or even your own child’s voice. Example I know you will relate to: “Mama, can we pleeeeaaaasssseeee leave, I am tired.” I remember that I did not feel comfortable taking my son to “organized” groups and although we continuously over the years tried to fit in and find groups of people that we could relate to and the others also who could relate to us, we had a repeatedly difficult time. We were sometimes openly rejected by some groups and that was hard but apparently necessary. We came to be mainly supportive of one another and have learned to let others be who they need to be. We’ve come to accept that we need to let “groups” be, and to have compassion. It is easier at a distance, because if you get too close then it seems that the expectations begin to set in.
Kytka’s note: This is not isolation, this is self reliance and individual self esteem driving power. You do not need another for approval. Self esteem issues and challenges in later life are directly related to this.
Also, when people get organized too efficiently in groups, soon, it seems, those that do not conform are not welcome anymore. It becomes a “forced” unity (and thus begins dis-unity or dis-ease or dis-function or dis-cord!)
I choose to believe instead, the only true unity is in the Spirit of Unity and in that is Love that is unconditional and not governed by ‘outward’ nor forced “standards”. Unfortunately, not always have others learned this. Occasionally, we find there are those that have a need to seek to draw us into their conformity and seek to place upon us the “fears” and “doubts” that they themselves live with and do not see a way of living without such ‘security’.
Do we “need” to feel included?
Do we “need” to experience this grasping of ourselves by others?
Do we fear that we are being “left behind” or that our children will be without membership in their group?
Kytka’s note: Are peers (and peer pressure) that powerful that as parents we succumb and actually model this for our children?
The security of fear, again. Security of fear. How is it logical to have security in something that is fear? The great mystery of our culture. Fear seems to control and motivate people (for a time) and some people do not know how to live except by being controlled, organized, manipulated and led.
Self-government is for and by a free people. This is our heritage. Freedom is fearful to people, such as fear of the unknown (“don’t go there”), yet we know we must have courage and face our fears (what is there to be afraid of?). We dream of exploring the unknown, are inquisitive and adventurous.
Kytka’s note: Something within the human drive makes us continue to strive like this and it is in this striving that we evolve and grow. Yet with new media and a technological world, we are indoctrinated and trained from early on to follow. Follow the rules, follow the leader and the leaders today are primarily in their positions through less than noble means.
So what are the limits?
How can one know what one doesn’t know?
Kytka’s note: A dear friend of mine is a speaker who always shows the following diagram.
There is the small percentage of what we know. (ie: I know how to write, read, cook, walk, create scrapbooks, roller skate, etc.) Then there is a small percentage of what we know that we do not know (ie: I know that I do not know how to fly a plane, walk on the moon, walk on a tightrope, fly a motorcycle over huge vehicles and gaps like evil kanevil). The massive majority exists in what we do not know that we do not know, because until it comes into awareness – we do not even know it exists. And this is where the enjoyment of our life comes from, in learning what “this” is. And “this” journey is different for each and every one of us. Collectively, as we wander and try, stretch and formulate – we evolve and grow. This is the essence of Learning.. It is the lifestyle of learning, a love of learning. And isn’t that what we as Waldorf parents are supposed to be modeling for our child?
Living in subject to fear is comfortable for a time and we cannot go “there”, to discover that we are larger than the imagined spider under the bed! We get to learn that!
Dealing with a child who has fears is very educational about one’s own fears, isn’t it. But relax, because this is the blessing of having online community support and forums, discussions and a place like waldorf homeschoolers. A place where we can just share in truth and love because, let’s admit it – it is a veil of anonymousity and if we need to lurk to ask our most private questions, then be it. We all want to fit somewhere.
Not all communities are that way and can actually have a “negative peer pressure” even upon “grown ups”. But in Truth, we honestly do already have fellowship with one another and with all those that love and seek the Truth. In Love, we have support by the universe that operates orderly and harmoniously and all who seek to dwell in Truth and Love. We find the best support in that place and thus cannot help but encourage others to likewise know their liberty and Source of blessing. The Source is Love.
I would seek to return to that place of “safety” where there was innocent unawareness of the dangers (real or imagined) of other people’s fears and doubts. However, soon perhaps it would be necessary to discover it again. That is simply the “way it is” to thus avoid it, but even more importantly to overcome it… and learn that “the only thing to fear is fear itself”, “for fear hath torment.”
We are not meant to fear, but to identify it and overcome it with Love. So as we go forth in parenting, homeschooling and making the necessary choices along the path, my advise is go forth is LOVE and leave the fears behind.
Kytka’s note: In a world where everything is rapidly shifting, this is indeed New Paradigm thought and when enough people let go of fear and come from an inner truth, the scales will tip and this world will once again be a world of peace.
Special Thanks to Netty for sharing this post with us.