~quinn’s forty-second month~ blackberry blueberry peaches

~written november 2018~

the blog was up and running, and a few posts are already sprinkled throughout this time period chronicling our daily life. we had started to define our educational approach as unschooling: exploring, playing, following our interests and passions, trusting an intact love of learning to lead the way, letting learning opportunities emerge naturally. this was one post where i was starting to articulate those leanings:

sunday (un)school

two of the events forming the shape of this month have their own posts, including several trips to the crab dock to harvest our food from the ocean, and our spontaneous 13-hour camping trip (link below). during this inaugural camping trip in quinn’s new tent, we snuggled beneath an enormous cedar tree in our sleeping bags to listen to the sounds of silence transition from birds to bugs to stillness so profound we could hear the distant ocean surf.

just go!

we brought next to nothing besides blankets; no books or toys, just enough food and the little stove to make coffee in the morning. well, and of course my chainsaw would have been riding around in my trunk with me, for firewood scrounging. as we were driving in to the camp site, we saw an owl. quinn talked to the owls while he set up his tent.

in the spirit of unschooling, we proceeded with life as usual, hauling armloads of greens home in the bike trailer from our community garden after quinn watered it thoroughly. quinn and his kids sifted through a tub of birdseed i brought to farmer’s market, filling balloons and easter eggs for long periods of sensory-satisfying contentment. we read books constantly, and quinn incorporated their stories into his play seamlessly. during a reenactment of the book grandfather twilight he created an “endless strand of pearls,” found a chest to keep them in, and acted out the entire plot armed with things on hand: empty containers, a shoe string and beach litter! we walked again this year in the relay for life, and quinn liked the life raft serving as our team’s “tent”. we capitalized on the math potential in our environment and quinn did a lot of practicing counting at the track.

monthly menu:

filling for spring rolls- my lunch today!

pancakes from scratch, sweetened with honey and applesauce. (another beginning whose future  importance i can now see vividly through the wide-angle lens of time, from this point onward, not only did pancakes earn the favorite breakfast title and become a staple in his diet, but other loved ones have been folded into our lives to whom i refer as pancakes, based on our sunday pancake tradition and their sweetness.)

quinn requested (ahem, insisted) on making blueberry cobbler monday night- he made it almost entirely by himself as i retrieved ingredients for him and told him amounts.

one morning he asked for “blackberry blueberry peaches” for breakfast. if that isn’t august in a nutshell.

first fava beans being harvested! (he could not wait any longer!)

as mentioned in roughly every post during this time period, there was ongoing tension with my coparent. one day when the drop off conversation got tense, i ended the conversation. quinn had been in the backseat, and mostly i think he was wandering in his imagination. after the tense moment and my decision to stop it from carrying on, quinn crawled up to give me hugs before getting out. he could see i was upset, and started saying, “come here, come here, come here sweetness, come here sweetie….” it was a bittersweet moment. i did not want him to feel like he needed to console me, and yet, celebrated that beautiful show of empathy. in the end, i helped shift the focus back to making sure he felt better, and he was off to play with his dad.

journal, yoga, therapy, repeat.

quinn and his dad went on a father-son camping trip, and it went well for them. when quinn woke up in the middle of the night he just said, “hey dada, where’s the flashlight?” he told me afterwards that he was a little scared, but that he loved it and wanted to do it again soon. during the 3-4am time frame, he “invented” the game where you stick the end of a stick in the fire and then pull it out and hold it up in the air and look at it. they also hunted a lot of woolly mammoths with spears and roasted woolly mammoth hot dogs over the fire for dinner.

we also had a lovely weekend visit with some of my rad mama friends and their kids. the photo of four kids running down the gravel road to pick blackberries, with three mama shadows following close behind, really captures the essence of our time together. i had a real life tribe for the weekend, i could shower without having to fit it in or make arrangements, because 3 other trusted mamas had my back. quinn was a good host to his rad mama kids; one of them had fallen asleep on the futon, and quinn put a blanket on him, then lowered a bear down from the loft in his crate using the pulley system (which kept the kids busy for literally hours over the weekend) and set the bear on his head to help him sleep.

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