Caring Instinctively

Needle felted fruits, veggies and circus balls awaiting packaging

Hello readers!

Well, here I am, feeling joyful and relaxed after 90+ hours of work on a recent wholesale order. Many little N&N lovelies are currently on their way (back) to Canada where they’ll join other natural and eco-friendly toys available for retail. My work has been a gratifying experience lately, and I am taking a moment of reprieve to lay out my plans for the shop for Spring/Summer.

If you have visited Niko & Nonnie’s Etsy shop lately, you will notice that it has been given a makeover of sorts. I have greatly reduced the inventory and done all new photography for the products I do have available.  I have done this for a number of reasons. As we reach onward toward May, the shop will be celebrating its one-year anniversary, and it is just par for the course that the urge to change things up comes to the forefront of the creative process.  While I haven’t applied this recent makeover to nikoandnonnie.com, I will be evaluating what goes and what stays in the days to come, and hopefully to find time to sit down and hammer out the details, make essential edits, etc.

Packaging materials

Harvest Veggies

*New* Heart Jingle Ball, fully customisable

Mixed Veggies

Felt+wood necklace

Deluxe Cookie Sampler

I am also feeling the desire to slow down, both mentally and physically, as we prepare for our little one to show “le bout de son nez” in July. It is quite warm down here in Austin, and looking after two very spirited children while developing a daily homeschool curriculum can be, well – very tiring some days.  We had the wonderful treat of having ‘Papa’ home by 6pm yesterday, and we were able to go for a walk as a family, have dinner at our usual spot, and still have an evening ahead of us to spend together.  This kind of time is absolutely invaluable to us; it does not happen very often, but when it does, I feel a great deal of weight suddenly lifted from my shoulders. All four of us pitched in to get the house in order last night (I had been slipping behind a bit this week – and it is amazing how just having another pair of adult hands helps to make things go so much faster). I came downstairs this morning to gleaming countertops and extremely tidy living spaces.

If I could achieve my ideal, everyday would be like today where we find a tidy home, stocked refrigerator and pantry, laundry folded and put away, cupboards full of clean dishware, and our little homeschool set up exactly as planned in the dining room.  I would have a clear idea of what I was going to cook or bake, a list posted to the refrigerator of things that need doing, and all of our mail and parcels would be neatly stacked up by the doorway, ready to go.  How completely untenable a plan!

Instead, what life actually looks like most days is waking up to the repeated chime of my husband’s snooze alarms, the pair of us picking up our phones and checking our email and messages before our eyes are barely deemed open, making a mental note of what requires a response, trying to wake up my feet (which have fallen asleep from the cat sleeping on them all night), then sidling our way downstairs as said cat leaps and scratches at my legs demanding his breakfast. This is usually followed by my opening the refrigerator, sighing, and then preparing iced coffees, cheese and a few wedges of fruit while I move to the computer, sit and keep track of the baby’s movements, and check in with all things Niko & Nonnie. Grant will be alongside me, reading the New York Times online and responding to his Twitter (which is @chefgrantm, just in case you’d like to follow him!) which is the perfect medium for him, seeing as though he barely ever responds to emails (I used to have to go into his account and ‘respond’ for him, which I have now given up entirely); having to write short, succinct messages limited to 140 characters really works for him in a way that other communication methods do not. Then it is time to lament having not gotten up 30 minutes earlier when the alarm first chimed, wishing Grant a good day, and trodding back upstairs to wake up A+F, sleeping beauties extraordinaire who could sleep til 3 in the afternoon if I permitted them.

As a homeschooling mother, it is of the utmost importance to me to ensure that A+F are receiving as well-rounded a learning experience as I possibly can give them.  There is an endless amount of resources out in the world, from the internet to mothering/homeschooling groups, to forums and I thankfully draw from all of these for inspiration and motivation. Researching curriculum and methodology adds extra time to my day which, while I can not always find the time each day for it, remains high on my list of priorites for what needs to be accomplished each week.

Time is an interesting concept for everyone on this planet -we never seem to have enough of it, and the rare times when we do, we are not always quite sure how to use or manage it effectively. Ours is a family that practices natural and attachment parenting, and sometimes that means having to allot more time while seeking increased tolerance and patience in various situations – following the lead of our children’s rhythms, being flexible about our routines as well as open to new ideas and suggestions. Attachment parenting has been invaluable to us; it has not only been instinctual and intuitive but has also helped to dispel anxieties and frustrations, build an extremely close bond with our children, and most of all, be responsive and attentive to their needs, by never letting them “cry-it- out” or feel as though we are ignoring their methods of communication.   As such, it also requires us as parents to demand more from ourselves and to push ourselves harder on those days when we are feeling less patience or tolerance. I do not believe for even one millisecond that little children are manipulative or that they can be “spoiled” (how I despise that term!) Perhaps later on when they are teenagers, I could see some manipulative aspects emerging, but as far as babies, toddlers and school-aged kids are concerned, I do not even see this or consider it as a possibility.

We are all, of course, entitled to our own opinions and strategies as far as child-rearing is concerned, and I often find that listening to those of other parents, even though we may not necessarily agree with their choices, helps to teach us something about ourselves and to clarify our own methods. Caring instinctively is an impulse with which we are all endowed, and in listening to our inner voices, our “gut feelings,” and most of all, our hearts – we can provide our children with a sense of well-being and security to stand the test of time.

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