Peaceful parenting for the mama’s soul

Peaceful parenting looks at children as growing human beings, fully worthy of respect. People have a great inborn sense of justice. Even young children want to feel respected, useful, valued and empowered. Very young children have precious little control over their lives. Eating, sleeping and potty training are almost all they peaceful parenting control. It’s no surprise then that these are the very areas parents often have the most trouble. Tantrums in public places are also a great way to get attention.

If these are areas of struggle for you, view it as a blessing. Your child is trying to communicate with you by the only means they have. They are letting us know, something is off. Maybe we are not providing a good role for them to follow, maybe they need more predictability in their schedule, maybe they are overwhelmed, they may feel contradictory demands on them, or it could be that they are getting stressed by the very way we are trying to teach better behavior. It is relatively easy to figure these things out. The hard part is finding and implementing the solutions.

What I realized on this journey towards peaceful parenting was that my children were already everything I wanted them to be. They are little bundles of joy and love. They love themselves completely, they don’t judge their bodies or mine. They want to get along with others and they are amazingly adapt at expressing their emotions. I am the one with the hang ups and the inability to understand what they were telling me. I am the one causing the “problem behavior”. The issues with food, the screaming bedtimes indicated the areas I needed to work on, not them.

The battles for control we were having did not come from my children, they came from me. The issue at thepeaceful parenting bottom was my need to control them in the first place. They do not belong to me any more than I belong to my own mother. There is no magical point at which we finally get to be our own person. We our born ourselves. We simply invite these children in to share our lives and homes. We are blessed and honored when they do. When they arrive, they are so small and helpless. Their initial need for protection is easy to mistake for a need to be controlled.

It’s true, without support and guidance babies and children would not survive long. At the same time, we can learn to see them as something like highly intelligent beings from another universe, one in which every law is different than our own. They need us to provide them with enough food and protection to learn their new bodiespeaceful parenting and their way around. As newcomers they also need to learn the local customs. At first they don’t understand the language so all they can do is mimic our actions. Once they begin to grasp language, they still have a long way to go before they will understand all the subtlety and nuance of talking about emotion. Often we have trouble getting ideas through to them, simply because we overestimate their understanding of language. For many years children will learn best when we give them a worthy example to imitate. Steiner’s advise on teaching through imaginative stories is also helpful for this reason.

If children arrive lacking empathy and a full understanding of our language, then rules and lectures may meanpeaceful parenting something totally different for them. If their primary method for learning is mimicking, then what am I teaching my children? It isn’t about finding the right rules, structure or parenting method. Instead the true role of parenting is to model the sort of person I want my children to be. This is the essence of peaceful parenting for me.

I have to become the person I want my children to be. I must be worthy of their imitation.

It’s much easier to punish our children for the behavior we don’t like in ourselves. How many times have we screamed at our children to stop screaming? Perhaps this is the journey, not to create the ideal person in our child, but to become our own ideal. Looked at it this way I realized it is, in fact, my children who are teaching me. Everyday they hold up a nonjudgmental mirror for me. It’s a gift. I can either thank them or punish them for it. As they grow, their family, piers and children will hold up similar mirrors for them and they can choose for themselves.

Now I accept that I’ll continue to make mistakes and when I do, they will be quick to follow suit. I know they will make allowances for me as I try, fail and try again. They will not put me in time-out when I’ve had an overwhelming day and act out. They will forgive and love me all the same. I have so much to learn from my children.

Sure there are practical lessons we must teach them. Help we can offer to keep them healthy. Skills we canpeaceful parenting share. It’s important to also remember the many lessons they offer us and the ways they can help us to unlearn our old outdated patterns. Admitting my first attempt was not working is not a failure and it will not hurt the children for me to change course. In fact it’s a better model of the sort of person I want to be, one who is not afraid to make mistakes, learn from them and do better.

I ask myself all the time: 
If I could not scold, shame, scare or discipline my children, how would I need to act or structure our days in order to get them to cooperate?

The Waldorf style of parenting and education is the perfect answer for me. It is totally in line with peacefulpeaceful parenting parenting, but with an even deeper understanding of the developing human before us. There is so much wisdom in setting a worthy example, meditation on and observation of ourselves and surroundings, daily and yearly rhythm, giving children and ourselves meaningful work, and weaving it all together with the deep human need for beauty and gratitude. It satisfies a deep longing in my soul.

Children’s Poetry

“A Cradle Song”

“Blessings on the Blossom”

“Buffalo Gals”

“Come Little Leaves”

“Down By the Station”

“Dusty Little Gnome”

“Five Little Pumpkins”

“Five Little Turkeys”

“Flakes of Snow”

“Glimmer Lantern Glimmer”

“Good Morning Dear Earth”

“Good Morning to You”

“Harvest is Here”

“I Caught a Fish Alive”

“I Had a Little Turtle”

“Mary’s Lamb”

“Mother Earth, Mother Earth”

“Music Alone Shall Live”

“One Misty, Moisty, Morning”

“Peace Like a River”

“Quiet Quiet”

“Red Yellow Orange Brown”

“Spring is Coming”

“The Farmer in the Dell”

“The Grand Old Duke of York”

“The Owl and the Pussy-Cat”

“The Star”

“This Little Light of Mine”

“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star!”

“Walking Walking”

“Where are the Rabbits”

“Wynken, Blynken, and Nod”

Paper Water Lilies, really bloom in water

These lovely water lilies really open up and seem to bloom in water! This is by far one of our favorite homeschool lessons.

Paper Water LiliesMaking the lilies was simple. Using the book All Year Round for inspiration, I cut out the leaf and water lily shapes. Without telling the kids what we were doing, I gave them each a flower and we colored them with crayons. I told them to color the flower anyway they liked, but to leave the back blank.

Continue reading “Paper Water Lilies, really bloom in water”

Epic Pirate Battle

Working on next year’s curriculum, I was distracted by an epic Pirate battle taking place in our living room.

Now that the Summer heat has reached her full intensity, the kids are forced to play indoors during the afternoon. It’s a good thing we have so many lovely friends living in our building. Our house is almost always full of children at play!

Continue reading “Epic Pirate Battle”

San Diego!

After an amazing trip to Baja Mexico, we stopped to eat and play in San Diego.

The weather and water felt so good. We did not want to leave!



Butterfly Fairy Fiber Art Doll

This has been such a wonderful project! In the future I would make her with a simple Waldorf Doll face, the art face too so long!

This little project was started way back in November as a gift for my mother. I wanted to make a needle felted butterfly fairy, but could not get the face right. It just looked creepy to me, finally I put it aside and moved on.

Months later, this little fairy was still calling to be finished, so I packed her up for our trip to Mexico. Maybe a change in climate would help her along. Luckily I packed a bit of cotton doll skin.

The change was just the thing. I quickly realized that this little one wanted to be an art doll, not a needle felted doll. She wanted some soft skin. As soon as I covered her felted face I was in love.

Sitting in the sun with my family all around, working on this little fairy was heaven for me. The kids played with their cousins and I felt totally free to relax and create. One set of wings were already felted, but I decided to make another set so the back could have the same pattern.

I was not working from a pattern, so I did have to re-sticht her body once.  In the end I was very happy with her. With just the tiniest scrap of blue felt left over from the wings I was able to piece together a little cap and attached antenna.

She was done in time to travel home with my mother… only 6 months late for Christmas 🙂





Bedtime Birthday Verse

My mother use to say this verse to us the night before our birthdays. I’ll never forget the feeling I got calling her up to ask how it went, so that I could share it with my own daughter.

Now the kids anticipate it and often remind me of how many kisses they will get on their birthdays for a few days in advance.

When I have said my evening prayer,
And my clothes are folded on the chair,
And mother switches off the light,
I’ll still be ** years old tonight.

But from the very break of day,
Before the children rise and play,
Before the darkness turns to gold,
Tomorrow, I’ll be ** years old.

** kisses when I wake,
** candles on my cake.

Apple Pie

It’s Thursday and in our house that means baking day!

Our littlest has been begging to make apple pie for weeks now. The book Farmer Boy has had a lot to do with this. I have no idea where that mother found time to bake so many pies, but it seems they are always eating some. My son is especially impressed that the boy often eats pie for breakfast.

Because of this it was no surprise to me when early Friday morning my son (without asking permission) helped himself to a slice of pie 🙂 I really couldn’t do anything but smile. It was at that moment I realized that breakfast pie was the real reason he was begging to bake one all along.

These are the moments I will cherish forever.

Continue reading “Apple Pie”

Math Boards

Math Boards are one of my favorite things about Waldorf homeschooling. Even our neighborhood kids like to play with it. One day we want to make a giant 100 peg one! A girl can dream 🙂

The math board is used by skip counting with the yarn form peg to peg. As you go around the board lovely geometric shapes appear!

Continue reading “Math Boards”

Bumble Bee Superhero Doll

A very dear friend asked if I could make her daughter a little girl version of the Bumble Bee Superhero. While looking for material for her costume, I was excited to find the old golden colored silk pants I’d recently bought at a thrift shop. We wanted her to look childlike instead of sexy, so I decided a romper would do the trick. After talking back and forth a bit, this is what we came up with.

I can not tell you how much I enjoyed the process -especially since it was only my second needle felted fiber art doll face. In fact, I had not even heard the name “Fiber Art Doll” yet. I just wanted to see if I could make one 🙂 After breaking a dozen needles and stabbing myself as many times… This little one was born. Truly made with love.

The clothing was also very fun. The undergarments were made from a very soft cotton shirt. Her wings and boots are wool felt. For the sweeter I found bamboo and silk yarn. It was so soft and easy to knit, I keep looking for excuses to make new doll sweaters out of it. I’m not the most efficient patten maker, so there were a few do-overs -but in the end, I love the result. 

Shipping her off to North Carolina I felt closer to my friend. It’s lovely giving something meaningful to a person who has spent her life fighting for justice and spreading love. It warms my heart knowing she is now a mother. If ever there was a lucky baby girl, it is the one. She is being raised by parents so passionate and kind. I feel blessed to be a part of their lives. All these many miles away, I am happy knowing her daughter is playing with this little doll.









My first Waldorf Sculpted Art Doll

What a fun experience! This little baby boy is a gift for my son. He’s my first attempt at a Waldorf inspired sculpted art doll. The face is made in a similar way to a more traditional Waldorf doll, but then the face is sculpted using thread and wool felting. Once the skin fabric was sewn on he really came to life! Given how enjoyable it was to work on this face, I know there will be many more to come

I will prepare tutorial to help you make one as well. Hope to have it ready soon 🙂

Continue reading “My first Waldorf Sculpted Art Doll”