Lovies…

This is Bunny, and she’s been Gracie’s companion for over a year. Everywhere Gracie goes, Bunny goes.

Not every child takes to a toy or blanket like this, but when a child does, I believe it’s important to allow them this.

❤️

Birthday Rings & Advent Spirals…The Purpose Of These Wood Toys

There are rings, like this, and spirals. They can be used in a number of ways.

They are NOT Waldorf specific, but many Waldorf families incorporate them for a myriad of things.

For example, Waldorf has a very lovely birthday tradition…we use a ring for her birthday candles.

In the Waldorf Traditional Birthday…a verse is told about the child’s coming to earth/being born…we light a big “sun” candle in the middle of the room. We tell something of the 0-1 year, and guests move 1x around the sun, singing:

The earth goes round the sun;

The earth goes round the sun;

The earth went 1x round and now Gracie is 1.

At which point, she lights the first candle…we do this up until the last candle, and I tell her…when you light this candle, you will officially be ___ years old.

It’s very meaningful to the child, and to the children attending and creates a sense of reverence (reverence being a very important sense to create in Waldorf) for the children.

Children are asked to find small trinkets…rocks, feathers, a flower…that they think the Bday child will like and present them.

We also give (when turning 5, 5 gifts)…also small trinkets, from the fairy world for lack of better description (that’s our tradition, we started because at 3 we took her to Ren Fair…and the mermaids, fairies, and unicorn were really real to her…so they gave her little gifts).

The mermaids gave her sand dollars, the unicorn a rock called a desert rose, the fairies some pretty rocks, and the gnomes a crystal. These were sooooo meaningful to her, that it really makes us rethink toys.

People also use these for advent. Waldorf has a non-religious Advent Spiral tradition…that ends with walking a spiral.

Those who are more religious might use the spiral to walk Mary & Joseph day by day to the manger.

Ideally, we intended to use it to help my autistic granddaughter have a visual countdown to big events she has a hard time waiting for…like in the late spring, our city has a big May Day Parade…with these huge puppets.

Hope that helps.

❤️

Advent Spiral

The Advent Spiral is another one of the traditional Waldorf Festivals that I don’t rightly understand, but that we were blessed and lucky to be able to participate in this year.

The child walks the spiral of pine branches to light their beeswax candle in an apple holder, and place it among the spiral. It’s done in silence.

Before the walk begins, these are read:

The children placed items of meaning through the spiral to symbolize these.

Then they walked in to light their candle, and out placing the candle….by the end, there were so many candles that it was quite beautiful. ❤️

New Puppy

Please excuse the dirt, the dog, puppy, and Gracie have all been playing hard in the backyard. This is Gracie’s new puppy, Honey.

He is the first of two, and little Rosie comes home in a few days.

We chose Cocker Spaniels for her, because they are so people oriented. And true to his breed, he follows her around. We chose 2 so that they can play with and bite on each other through the puppy stage, and so we feel a little less guilty leaving them to focus on Gracie, who still requires a lot of daily focus.

❤️

Martinmas

Martinmas, is a traditional Waldorf celebration regarding the story of a man named, Martin. Now it just so happens, that this story was so good, that they Sainted him, but that is neither here nor there as children don’t concern themselves with such things of the adult world.

Early November, as the nights grow longer and the days grow colder and people are just starting to bundle into their homes for the long winter…we celebrate by making lanterns, walking with them into the night, and recounting the story of Martin.

Martin was an average man, who cared more about his neighbors than war. Where he lived, every man had to serve in the king’s army. So, like every man, Martin served his time as a king’s guard, even though his heart wasn’t in it. One cold wet night, with a big winter storm brewing, as they were closing the castle gates…a beggar in the cold, dressed only in rags, asked the soldiers for help. All the soldiers laughed at the beggar and pushed the beggar away. When the beggar asked Martin, he took his sword and cut his red cloak in two, and gave half to the beggar…that both may be warm.

❤️

Michaelmas

Michaelmas is a traditional Waldorf Festival held in the fall during harvest time and has to do with the story of Michael, a farmer’s son.

It is said, that in their village, during the harvest, a dragon came and was blowing fire on their fields, burning the crops. The poor villagers didn’t know what to do and worried they would starve during the coming winter. Michael, the oldest of all the children in the village, a farmer’s son, felt he had to do something. So he took the old plow horse and their rusty old sword, and set off to the cave of the dragon. Along the way, it’s said, that he is given a sword forged from the stars with which to slay the dragon.

We had a storytelling, a knighting, and the kids played sword fighting.

❤️

A Good Dog

This is our dog, Bodhi. He’s a Belgium Sheepdog, with an uncanny and natural herding instinct as well as a working dog ethic.

We got him from our local Humane Society, skinny, matted, and with much less hair, when he, and my granddaughter were about 9 months old. He didn’t look like much then, and having contracted kennel cough and with his pound card clipped, letting us know that he was scheduled for euthanasia that night, we scored him at their cheapest price. However, we hadn’t gone looking for a bargain. Indeed, we went looking for temperament and personality…and to find out whether he’d be a perspective for a service dog.

My autistic granddaughter was loud at times, squealing and shouting…and she couldn’t yet walk well. In the room with this gentle dog, my granddaughter was excited and made some sudden noises, and he just looked at us to sort out what to do…and we knew it was him. He then reached forward and gave the baby the tiniest, gentlest kiss…and we put him on hold.

Although, he had sat at the Humane Society for weeks and no one paid him any notice, it seems as we held his leash going through the paperwork, everyone suddenly wanted him. Was it because I could see his heart and knew what a gem of a dog he was, that they could now see it too?

We raced to the store and bought all the things we’d need to welcome him him. Top quality food, stainless steel dog dishes, a container big enough to store his food (to keep it fresh), toys, a bed, treats, a brush, nail clippers (although turns out I never cut his nails…we have the groomer do it), and of course, a collar, leash, and hallmark heart tag.

Then it was home to clean and prepare for a new dog, all amid us voicing every conceivable name for him.

Sleep, breakfast, hair and teeth and clothes…and the long endless wait until the Humane Society opened at noon…all while wondering if he’d remember us.

As we waited the seemingly endless wait (it took over an hour), for them to go through the final paperwork and bring him up…all while the gal was being interrupted by calls asking about him, and her politely telling them we were here now so they were not making a waitlist. We were dumbfounded wondering WHAT had happened regarding the dog that no one had wanted?!

At home, he was the perfect dog and fit in seamlessly…potty trained from the start. Phew. He loved the baby, and she thought he was the bees knees.

(We handed her the camera, and Bodhi was her 1st picture).

He had to pass level 2 dog training to take the AKC Good Citizen Test to become a service dog. However, he was stressed during training and didn’t understand the treats or words…and frankly, never needed words or treats. He quickly sorted out what we wanted and our happiness and pride in him was enough for him. So we pulled him from training and used our remaining time for private lessons. However, turns out, he was so well behaved that they just gave him the test and he passed with flying colors. The trainer from the Humane Society said, if she had known he was in their kennels, she would have bought him (what’s with this?!). Anyways, home again to register him with the AKC and get his patches (which to this day, I’ve never sewn on his vest).

My granddaughter is autistic, and is/was a flight risk…unaware of safety or danger. They call this “eloping.” This is where Bodhi comes in.

Being autistic, my granddaughter often experiences sensory overload. Just our holding hands with her is often too much sensory stimulation for her…and she’d try to run to dissipate and use the excess electrical build up in her being. Plus, if we were holding her hand, she couldn’t enjoy wherever we were.

But the dog changed everything. We could tether her to the dog. Even when she felt the impulse to run, she was too empathetic to pull on her beloved furry friend. If she tried, he’d hold his ground and come to us.

We walked this way many times. Even if she was in the stroller, she’d happily stay out there holding his leash.

She takes care of him too…for dogs are not without responsibility. From as soon as she could understand, she was tasked with giving him any treats we have him. From 3 on, she feeds him. And starting at 4, she walks him. This deepens her bond to him, and him to her. They are a working team.

It’s so nice to see them working together…and I tell you, I have never been more grateful for a dog than him. While I’m sorry for all the people who, along the way, realized they wanted him…he really picked us, and it’s here he’ll stay. ❤️

Sorry We Haven’t Written In A While…

This summer, my mom (Gracie’s great grandma), entered hospice care at home and passed, as she wished, in our home…surrounded by those who loved her. The resulting funeral and all the various details of picking one’s self up after nearly 15 years of caregiving…has left me little time to write.

This time has been filled with sooo much insight and wisdom, that I hope to get caught up soon.

Despite it all, Gracie has really shined as a healer and joy bringer…

This is Gracie, wanting to scatter my mom’s ashes, joyously telling her to be free. What could have been a deeply sad time for me was, thanks to Gracie, a very healing time.

❤️

A Moment Of Zen

This morning, my granddaughter took some pictures. She took pictures of things that are important to her. I’m thinking she has the makings of a fine photographer:

Clearly, we need new tulip bulbs…but it’s nice to see that she finds her flowers important to her. ❤️