Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"Making" Things & A Little Ethan

So I've really jumped into this whole DIY product stuff. When I think about how much of it I make, I'm rather amazed with myself. I've always wanted to make my own things, but never really knew how. The internet is a wonderful thing. Currently, my list includes
  • Baby wipes
  • Deodorant
  • Body wash
  • Laundry detergent
  • Dishwasher detergent
  • Lotion bars
  • Shower cleaner
I think that covers it. It's super easy. People ask me how I have the time, but once you have the ingredients on hand, most of it takes less than five minutes to make. And I love these products way more than their expensive, chemical-laden counterparts. I know what's in these products. The added bonus is that they usually cost pennies on the dollar when compared to store brands. I WISH I would've learned these techniques ages ago.

If you've been around for any time at all, then I don't have to tell you how challenging my firstborn is. He's a handful and more. He's willful and determined and persistent and intelligent. It's a pretty exhausting combination. We struggle with him at school, and he's only in Pre-K. I fear kindergarten in so many ways. I mean truly, wholeheartedly FEAR it.  I fear his behavior and absolute resistance to conforming to the "norms" that will be expected of him. I fear his teacher's patience. I fear his adversity to change. I fear his boredom with the things he already knows.

I fear his unrelenting avoidance of the things he doesn't feel he's "good" at. I fear so much of what's to come, but most of all, I fear he'll lose his love of learning. I fear he'll be shattered by the wrong words and the encouragement to be like everyone else and focus on what everyone else is focusing on. I fear he won't engage and will learn to abhor the very institution that is tasked with preparing him for the intellectual world.

And while I know there are plenty of people at the ready to give me well-meaning advice about his behavior and parenting skills and his need to learn how to operate within social norms, those people don't know my child and they don't know the things we do at home in terms of discipline. I refuse to be made to feel I'm inadequate as a mother because I know I'm trying. So.Very. Hard. I know he has to learn those skills, but I also know he needs to be engaged and stimulated in a learning environment.

I was so fortunate to see exactly what Ethan is like when he's engaged over this past weekend. We went to a Discovering Engineering Event geared toward elementary kids about all sorts of engineering fields. For 2.5 hours, we walked around, we experimented, we talked. Ethan stayed 100% engaged the entire time. He paid attention. He asked questions. He answered questions. He learned. He engaged. He felt heard and respected. It's an amazing thing to watch your child light up when they realize like-minded people actually care about what they're saying.

I mean, I try to be all scientific with him. I research so much stuff and look at so many ways I can engage his scientific heart, but I don't speak the language as well as other scientists. When Ethan started explaining how lightning forms and was correct, I was blown away. I didn't know he knew that. I had no idea. Watching him run through logic sequences without batting an eye was amazing. Hearing him explain how Magma rocks are formed to a group of kids blew me (and the demonstrator) away. And watching him determine how to make paper stronger so it could hold a whole jar of pennies was also quite eye opening.

He was in his element. He excelled. He listened. He synthesized. He rationalized. He didn't want to leave!

I am so thankful I chose this event over the Cat in the Hat event I was going to take him to. I've never seen him so engaged. I keep saying it because it really was something to see. There were no outbursts. There were no "reminders" of behavior needed. There were no consequences reiterated. There was simply no need because my child was too interested in learning and sharing and being part of a group of like-minded people. It was FANTASTIC!

And it's even more terrifying. I know now more than ever that he's bored. I know now more than ever that the public school system is not going to be able to engage him. I foresee many bumps in our future road. I'm looking for alternatives. I'm looking for clubs. I may even start a club. He needs an outlet for his interests.

I can tell you this....nothing with that child is ever easy, but there are so many moments when I stand enthrall of who he is and what he may very well become.


  1. How awesome that you got to see him in that environment and how it was exactly what he needs. You will be facing many challenges with him but I am hopeful that your desires for him not to grow bored will always keep you ahead of his needs finding ways and school that will be there to meet those needs.

    Way to go on making all those homemade items!

  2. I love that you are DIYing things. I also love following your adventures on FB! Your kids are growing so fast!

  3. My oldest son is like that too. Almost the same story. In preschool he was always in trouble somehow. I put him in a rocket/science class for a week summer camp session between preschool and Kindergarten. Here he was, five years old, totally engaged with kids that were up to 14. He sat in the front and absorbed every word. This was before he was tested and I should have picked up that he was a very different five year old than most. Anyway, similar stories.