When the mornings are crisp and the afternoons heat up, giving us a glimpse of summer bliss.
When the flowers are blooming and seeds are planted with patient anticipation of summer crops.
When the school year is cranking and you can almost taste the sweet success of summer break.
A period of time that I push through the get to… summer.
I sat down to write this post thinking I would be sharing my thoughts on how spring is a season that is usually a period of time that in each year that I wait for summer, rather than see the beauty in. don’t want it to be like that. I want to value each season for what it is. I want to embrace each season with joy and appreciation. But, as I sit here and look at photos of my spring this year, I finally feel the absolute beauty of the season.
I feel the grass on my feet. I feel the dirt on my hands. I feel the flower vibrant flower petals. I feel the cold jar of lemon water. And I definitely feel the utter joy of watching Lydia see spring for the first time. So, what was going to be a post about how I needed to re-think my outlook on spring, has turned into my very own therapy session, teaching me that if I am just mindful of nature, then all the beauty will come alive for me. This spring is not just a waiting period of summer for me. This spring, is a brand new season to experience.
However, this spring has been emotionally difficult. We will be moving in early June to South Carolina to be by more family and for Zach to take a good job opportunity within his company. This move is by choice and we are so eager to be surrounded by more family and soak in some mountain air. This mama is overwhelmed with the house selling and house hunting, not to mention the fact that as the date gets closer and the reality of leaving my hometown that I love dearly sinks in. I just keep telling myself, that it is only as stressful as I make it and let’s get real… I haven’t exactly reduced my baby snuggles or Lydia play time so how bad can it really be? 🙂
So whenever my mind begins to wander or my heart begins to race, filling my soul with anxiety, I take a step back. I rub some lavender oil on the back of my neck, temple and wrists, pour a big old cup of lemon water and get outside. Because, to me, fresh air, dirt, babies and dogs heal everything! (For all of those who know me perfectly, know that I am my mom’s mini me in regards to this!)
(If you are wondering.. yes.. she is chewing on a leaf or grass. That is her sneaky girl face when she doesn’t want my to snatch out whatever she is munching on. She can store things in those cheeks for hours!)
Most of you know that my background is in special education. Prior to running my play-based tutoring company and staying home with Lydia, I taught Kindergarten through second grade special education. One of my favorite parts of teaching was helping these children with sensory integration. I firmly believe in sensory play and exploration at a young age. I find it interesting that some of my favorite parenting activities are also sensory based.
Yesterday, while working in our small veggie garden, Lydia and I happened upon an easy sensory activity. I had just gulped down my lemon water and Lydia was, like always, grabbing at my cup. This mason jar with a lemon in it turned into a 10-15 minute game for her. She worked on getting the lemon in and out of the jar. Her little hands had to learn how to grasp the jar, turn the jar and reach in without getting her fingers stuck. She loved it. And the reward? A sour little lemon slice to suck on!
I just love seeing her little dirty hands hold that lemon and grin at me with such pride and sense of accomplishment. We practiced and practiced. I put the lemon back in. She learned how to get it out. The smell of lemon radiated in the air and the freshness of spring washed over me once again.
But my point being, sensory experiences can be so so easy. Just a jar with a lemon. Or a patch of grass to stand in and grab at. Or a flower to rub between their fingers. Or a stick to hold ( ok, or eat if you child thinks they are a dog like mine does)…You don’t need to buy a sensory toy. You don’t need to create a special sensory bin (although I do love them and have some of my own for indoor play). You simply need to step outside your door and let them explore.
A child from birth to about age seen experience the whole world through their body. They take in all of the senses, each one very new to them. I believe it is our job as parents to embrace this amazing sensory time. It is our job to protect them from sensory overload. And it is our job to give them opportunities to learn.
As always, if you have any questions regarding sensory integration or outdoor learning, please feel free to comment or message me on Instagram or Facebook. I love hearing from you all and learn so much from this wonderful online community.
Sending love, sunshine and beautiful spring days to each of you.