Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What mother doesn't long for "smooth and easy days"?

Charlotte Mason wrote:

The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days; while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with the children
(Vol. 1, p. 136).

Now, here are the habits she had in mind:

  • Accuracy
  • Attention
  • Candor
  • Cleanliness
  • Courtesy
  • Even Temper
  • Gentleness
  • Kindness
  • Modesty
  • Neatness
  • Obedience
  • Order
  • Perfect Execution
  • Punctuality
  • Regularity
  • Remembering
  • Respect
  • Thoroughness
  • Truthfulness*
*all of the above is quoted from Simply Charlotte Mason.

It all sounds wonderful, but how do we train our children in these habits? I don't know, which is why I have hesitated to post further on the subject of habits. I will tell you this, Red excels at building good habits in her very young children. I think that this is because she has tremendous self-discipline. She keeps her expectations fairly simple, she has confidence in her role as parent, she gives consequences calmly and consistently. Treats and special outings are just that, so the routine in nourishing food and proper nap and bedtimes, and exceptions are carefully considered.

What I see from Red's example is that educating children who already have the habits of orderliness and obedience, cheerfulness and attention is much, much easier. They can continue to practice these habits and virtues while learning practical and academic skills because school begins just when you call them, they work until they are finished and then go off to play nicely in the yard or at the Lego table. They eat the healthy food you serve, take a little rest in bed and then go off to sports or classes, after which they thank you for taking them. They greet father cheerfully when he arrives, help clean the baby's hands after dinner, dress themselves for bed and enjoy their story and prayer time. Are these dream children? Red's kids are like this. They are not smothered by authority, and they have their struggles in areas of virtue and vice, but they are delightfully child-like, gracious and grateful.

My children lack some of these good habits, and our life is a daily struggle as a result. I have tried to help them to be self sufficient, and they want to be, but it is tough to do this when you can't find your shoe (pencil, notebook, hairbrush...). Sometimes we have misplaced things, and other times they have been stolen by a wandering toddler, but either way it is defeating.

When I have to go on a search for paper before we start a watercolor project, the thing often falls apart before it even begins. They may have wanted to practice the habit of attention, along with the watercoloring, but it is too hard when mom is hopping in and out of the room, there are too many temptations to fall off your chair and make everyone laugh, or someone goes to get a glass of water and spills it, or they fight over who has the red brush.

They do have the habit of obedience to my verbal commands, which is a really good start. I learned from Baby Wise to require "Yes, Mom" after all commands, and this, together with the confidence that they will obey, works amazingly well. I have made an excuse of the fact that we have babies and toddlers around, which makes it hard to do anything without interruption, and that we have spent so much time in survival mode. However, it would be to everyone's benefit, especially if more babies are in our future, if we all learn better habits. I say all because the truth is that I have struggled to teach many of these habits because I do not myself possess them.

While still enforcing the habit of obedience, I also need to transition them to doing the right thing on their own, something as simple as continuing with brushing your teeth if mom has to step out to change the baby, rather than picking up a bottle and spraying water all over the bathroom the moment her back is turned. This is not too much to ask of a 5 year old.

However, Red is in her babymoon, and while I am hoping that she will join a conversation, she may not have time to write all I need to know about habit training. We have lost one too many shoes this weekend and I am at my wits end. Also, I have concluded that good health habits are crucial to getting through cold and flu season in a large family with small children. So, I have been doing some looking on one of my favorite homeschooling websites and I have found wonderful resource, it is a series of blog posts on Charlotte Mason-style habit training at Simply Charlotte Mason. Go and read, and let's discuss it. I need your help, because home-educating my brood is going to be impossible if they do not have these habits!


23 comments:

B-Mama said...

Mary Alice, you are striking a chord in my heart as to addressing these types of "habits" or character traits. I would argue that after interacting with your children last fall, they DO possess so many of these habits. They were so courteous, respectful, full of gentleness and candor. As their mother, you undoubtedly get to see the day in, day out of your children, so it makes sense that you might see the depravity of certain habits, especially from one child to another. Just know that from the outside, they seemed very habit-filled!

So my question is, what habits do you enforce to encourage these habits? Is it about having routine and set consequences (which we're already doing, but maybe need to do to more of an extreme?) Is it the fortune of some children just having greater habits at the outset? One of my T's first phrases was "Thank you". He is a gracious child and always has been, but needs help in other areas like Cleanliness, etc.

B-Mama said...

One more thing... Many of these habits remind me of the "fruits of the Spirit" from Ephesians 5. When the Holy Spirit is present, there one will find love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, and self control. Perhaps the key to instilling habits in our children is to teach them that they are from God and a sign of the Holy Spirit's presence in their lives. In the last few months, we've been taking a more Biblical route to some of our disciplinary measures. It has been highly effective. "Turning the other cheek" in self control means a whole lot more to our kids when they know that Christ refused to fight back and forgave.

Kat said...

Mary Alice, I was nodding my head in agreement when reading your passage about how an activity often falls apart before it has even begun if we (the moms) aren't quite prepared. I can totally relate to this! Actually, for us this often happens at mealtime. If I'm not fully prepared to sit with the children once breakfast or dinner begins, the children will be up and down because I am up and down! They want to begin because they're starving, but really I think I need to begin making a rule that no one is to start eating until all the silverware is on the table, the drink cups are filled, and mom also has her meal. I think what I need is to involve the children more in meal preparation - setting the table, etc. - and that will give them something to do AND help get the meal on the table more quickly. I hesitate because my toddler is so prone to making messes (as all toddlers are!), but this would help us tremendously.

I also like your point that children will follow the parents' lead when it comes to habits. I was recently reading about a similar point in a book called "Character Matters" by the Yates - a very good book, by the way. Basically, the point is that we can't expect our children to cultivate a certain habit - healthy eating, completing chores before watching a TV show, etc. - if we don't expect the same of ourselves. Good point!

Elena said...

Mary Alice, Please don't beat yourself up. I too have a friend who, like Red, has children who excel in habits. I know that this is because my friend is so incredibly consistent with her children whereas I am, shall we say, not as consistent. Often, after being with her children, I can feel as if I have failed. However, I do not live with her children and thus I do not see them around the clock. (Not to say that Red's children are not great all day long.) However,I do think that we must keep individual temperaments in mind. Two of our four children seem to naturally understand how to help, listen and anticipate others' needs. Our oldest constantly struggles with all of these things, however, he is one of the most gracious boys that one could meet - several people have commented on this. When I get overwhelmed by his other character traits, I find that I need to step back and reassess and work on one thing - just one thing. God bless you because you are doing a fantastic job and, I imagine, many people look to you for inspiration and joy.

Olivia D said...

I only want to add to things that have already been touched upon.

It sounds as though you are already doing many things right and i think that as mothers it is really easy to get bogged down by all that is wrong, and not taking time to step back and see all that we are doing right. More importantly, those things we are doing right are usually the most important things.
But, I know how you feel and all I can say is, the things that most frustrate me throughout the day, are the things that most frustrate me about myself. My childrens bad habits, are my bad habits. I am not a model for them so they do not imitate.
Children raise their parents as much as parents raise their children and I am having to learn a lot about myself now that I have children.
I'm sure your children are wonderful, and I'm sure they could be better, we can all be better than we are, we can all be more virtuous than we are.
I am working on many habits every day and some days I am winning, some days the bad habits win but everyday my children are seeing my effort and learning from me.

JMB said...

I know your intent was not this but I echo the other commenters who suggest that you are being way too hard on yourself. There is an old saying that goes something like this: "never compare the insides of you (your family) to the outside of someone (else's family)". You do neither yourself nor your friend a favor. Nobody has a perfect family, and nobody has perfect children. Your children are all very young and there is so many more hurdles that you and they will have to overcome. I didn't know anything about Charlotte Mason or her ideology when my children were small. What I did know, as simple as it was, was that they needed to have consistent habits and a simple life. Is it possible that we can overthink and overanalyze these things? Start with what's in front of you, you will know what needs to be done.

Juris Mater said...

I love this whole concept... it's very freeing for me to realize that it's GOOD for me to slow down and live in the moment enough to train the kids in these habits throughout the day. Harried, overachieving parenting (such a temptation) looks very different from this Charlotte Mason style-- which is forming good and lovely habits, slowly "building cathedrals", first by example, second by encouraging our children to live virtue so that a natural spillover of that is understanding the importance of good habits and developing them. And what a way to bless our children as they age into teens and adults.

However, I recoiled at the comparison in this blog post. This is a very touchy subject, we all wish our children were more refined, more obedient, more cheerful, more generous. It's hard for me to get past the fact that all of us readers have now been forced to compare ourselves, our mothering, and our children, to a friend of ours and her children--and a rose-colored picture of them. And I'd guess Red would be the first to say that this overstates the perfection of her children. Her kids are delightful, she is succeeding in forming them using her natural temperament strengths, her virtues and holiness, and her acquired wisdom, and that's what we're all striving to do. MaryAlice, your children are truly remarkable, magnetic, and exhibiting AMAZING habits including the ones listed here, more so every time I see them. Same with all of you. It blesses my life to know all your families, to see how many ways kids can be shepherded to goodness and holiness.

Jennifer Frey said...

Dear Mary Alice,

Most children behave better or worse when around other people, so I wouldn't get too lost in comparisons. My children are usually really well behaved when we have visitors; I am constantly having to tell people they are not really the kids they are pretending to be!

As for your question about habits, I have a few comments. Aristotle and Aquinas both make a distinction between natural and ethical virtue. Natural virtue is something close to personality: some us born with a predisposition to cleanliness, bravery, modesty, etc. But natural virtue is not set in reason, and so it doesn't really count in the end (it can easily manifest itself in unvirtuous action) What matters is ethical virtue, a disposition of the will in accordance with right practical reasoning.

With children, it is best to start with their natural virtues and try to build (and likewise, their natural vices and try to do some early correction). They cannot acquire them all at once, and it is good to begin with what comes most naturally to them. Natural virtues becomes ethical virtues with proper training. What is proper training? I suppose that is much room for debate here, and will depend on the age and dispositions of the individual child. But I would think that as a general rule actions that are in accordance with a particular virtue deserve praise and perhaps reward, whereas actions that are in accordance with a particular vice merit the opposite. When kids are older they can learn how virtue serves their own happiness, but I doubt a four or five year old can make that connection. And of course, you will be a necessarily imperfect model for your children, but luckily Jesus, Mary, and all the saints are great models to point to when we ourselves fail.

Also, your list of virtues is very long, and I might add, not the Catholic list! The Catholic virtues are faith, hope, love (theological virtues), prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice (cardinal virtues). I would worry about these far more than order, cleanliness, or perfect execution--whatever that is!! We want our children to be saints and find God, not be perfectionists or have a British obsession with regularity and order!

And while we're on the subject of the Catholic view of virtues, I should note the major difference between Aristotle and Aquinas. Aquinas believed that virtues are infused in us with the help of God's grace, whereas Aristotle argued that either you had the right parents and some natural pre-dispositions, or you were just hopeless. So another thing to do is to pray for your children, that they will have particular virtues. And with your older children you can talk about the need to pray for growth in specific virtues.

Finally, I would just like to say that I think you should be easier on yourself. As far as I can tell you are an extraordinary Mother, and your children are lucky to have you. None of us are perfect--thank God! Perfect people are so annoying...

Big Momma said...

I'm not going to lie. This post was a bit of a downer. I think you should think about some of your good qualities as a mother and some of the wonderful personality traits of your family. The good habits. Thinking about my own family growing up, while we may have struggled in living order and many of us had terrible tempers to overcome but, we were a barrel of laughs and our joyfulness helped us be good Apostles. Our fiery personalities helped us to stand firm in our beliefs as we engaged our friends in Highschool and college. As my siblings and I begin raise our families, enter the workforce and try to live sanctity in our ordinary lives, I see that we are still struggling in certain virtues and habits. God is a Father and loves us with all of our imperfections all he asks is that we struggle. Sanctity is in the struggle. We just have to keep getting up over and over, that is what I tell my kids. My know-it-all 3 year old likes to tell strangers in the store, "My mom is struggling with not yelling at the other cars in traffic." Whoops. Anyway, I think one ore two concrete resolutions are more effective than trying to tackle the entire canon of virtues. Sometimes it can be as simple as making sure the table is set before meals and then our effort in that struggle helps us in other areas. Anyway, don't be too hard on yourself, Mary Alice

Karen said...

Building character in my children is an issue that I am constantly thinking about. The other week at church, the women behind me told me that my children are just so well behaved. This statement made my mouth drop, if they only knew the character flaws in my kids and the bad habits they have at the moment.

The hard part is trying to figure out how to go about fixing the bad habits. I was thinking of focusing on 1 habit every month. We could study what it means, read Scripture about it, and how to turn it into a good habit. Also, I think having a special consequence for braking the good habit, or keeping it, would help as well. What ever I decide to do would have to be clear to the children and simple enough to stay consistent with. This would only be for a month, which is how long it takes to build a habit, or so they say. I think focusing on one habit will help me be more consistent too.

I would love for the builders to post more practical ways of building character in our daily lives. A simple change can have such a big impact.

Mary Alice said...

Let me be very frank. I used to really struggle with competitive feelings and jealousy towards other women. However, a while ago I was advised by a very wise priest to try to learn what I can from others. This is one of the ways that the communion of saints is so important.

I am sorry that some found the direct example misleading to the conversation, but for me, I will say that I never leave Red's house feeling defeated or bad about myself, rather I am encouraged in the ways that I am succeeding and the ways that I can do better.

For the past year or so, I have been struggling with my middle children. I have given in to whining and held very low standards in order to survive having two babies in one year. This is not being hard on myself, it is an honest evaluation of the situation. The result is one child who routinely acts out in sneaky ways and another who cannot do basic, age appropriate tasks without direct parental intervention.

They deserve better, from themselves and from me, and for now I am making this my priority.

Here is an example: my children are asked to come to the breakfast table dressed and with hair combed. One child insists that he cannot comb his hair. He asks me to comb his hair for him. I either do so or let him eat with his hair a mess. Whether or not you agree that children should comb their hair before breakfast, you can agree that it is useless to set a rule and then not hold the children to it. So, this morning, when he insisted that he couldn't do it himself, I took the time to take him into the bathroom and talk him through it. Afterwards, Dad noticed and praised his hair. I will now take the time and attention to encourage him to do this task on his own each morning.

As to the list, these are habits, and not virtues, and while the one may support the other in some ways, training children in Catholic virtue is a separate conversation. These are also very long term goals -- continuing into adult hood, and I do not expect them all of my toddlers, but I do think that as their mother and the director of their education, it is important that I give thought to what my children are really learning in my home.

JMB says that she did many of these things naturally, not having read about Charlotte Mason. However, simple, gentle parenting has not come naturally to me, so I find that I need a fair amount of advice in this area. While the list sounds long, if you read the posts you will find that this is really a back to basics approach. As I have continued to think and pray about it, for us this will involve more time outside, fewer errands, and perhaps a search for some more household help so that I can have some uninterrupted time with the school age children. I tried to "cram" a lot in to my curriculum this year, and I think it was the wrong approach. We are doing more than we have ever done, and we are doing it poorly. For example, my five year olds might be better off without Latin, but instead playing play dough while listening to classical music.

Lastly, B-Mama, you are so wise in reminding me to bring this to prayer, for me and for the children. I love the idea of having more scripture involved in my parenting. Can you suggest some resources? Do you use the "hide em in your heart" cds?

Elena said...

Dear Mary Alice,

Am I correct in assuming that the middle children are the twins? While being a twin is not an excuse for misbehaviour it is often an explanation of some different behaviour. I also have twins (boy/girl, 6.5); they are the eldest in the family and I often discount their twinhood as a significant factor in their behaviour. But, I think, that it is. They are very different from singletons. I think that one of these differences is their desire for one-on-one attention. I find that my singletons get the attention they need because they are, just that, singletons. However, I often hold different expectations for the twins because I can view them as a unit etc. etc. Consequently, they act out in order to demand my attention. Could the need for hair brushing just be a desire for your loving care? Or maybe I'm totally off base and the middle children aren't the twins. But if they are, don't discount their twinhood. As a wise priest at Madonna House told me: being a twin can have can cause major problems to which we, as the parents, must be attendant. But, they are also at a significant advantage for some other virtues because, unlike the singletons, they were born 'in community'. And once again, you are doing a fabulous job. (And don't worry about the curriculum - check out the new study out of Cambridge re. formal schooling and its detrimental effects before age 6.)

Mary Alice said...

Elena, I was attributing it mostly to "middle child" status, but you may be right that being twins also adds to the problem.

Does it make sense, though, to say that your comment gives explanation but not excuse? In other words, I need to fix the loving attention problem because the bad habits, if they continue, can lead to bigger problems. I think that when we see certain red flags from our children it is really important to start working it out when they are young, so the consequences are minor, because teens who are acting out or underachieving for attention can really do damage to themselves and the family.

As to curriculum, I totally agree, but since I have older children as well I need to balance their needs for some formal schooling with the twins needs for real, loving, engaged preschool, and the babies needs for diaper changes!

I just tried to shuffle them along to join the school age kids, and that was a mistake, but to let them just run wild until it is time for seat work is a problem, too. They need good 4,5,6 year old works and activities available, like painting, play dough, sandbox, and lots and lots of story times.

Jennifer Frey said...

Dear Mary Alice,

Virtues are habits, actually (see Summa, I_II, Q 49-54; Disputed Questions on the Virtues, Q. 1). They are habits of will, not body or sense. If we would like to make a distinction here, it would be between "mindless habits" as in biting my nails, and tapping my twirling my hair (two mindless habits of mine) and virtues that are dispositions of will (in accordance with reason), or even dispositions of the body. I am currently writing my dissertation on this topic, so trust me, I've done my homework!! But let us call them practically rational habits (or habits of will), just to remain completely neutral about the label.

Kindness would be a disposition of the will, as would cleanliness, and certainly modesty is a form of temperance; all three, in the end, like all habits of good will come from prudence (or goodness of practical judgment). The reason they are habits of will is that they all involve practical discernment (judgment) on the part of the child. The child must learn to judge what is called for in a certain situation; this is why raising kids is so much harder than raising dogs.

And that brings me back to the concept of natural virtue, which is most important, I think, for parents who are trying to impart this sort of discernment in their children. Some children are naturally predisposed to cleanliness--my son abhorred dirt from day one; my daughter is the opposite. My son is naturally pious (the priests at our Church are convinced he is a Saint), my daughter wants nothing to do with prayer or the Mass. My daughter is naturally kind and sweet. Since my kids are two and four, I try to play up their natural virtue with lots of rewards and further direction, and play down their natural vices, with lots of behavioral correction. My four year old is start to grasp the concept of reasons for action, and thereby the concept of correct choice; my two year old still just responds to praises and blame. But she's getting there. Some of your children will tend naturally to some of the habits of will you have outlined, and some won't. Start with what they are good at , and try to encourage those behaviors to which they are most naturally disinclined. But don't try to tackle this whole list at once! I think that would be a recipe for disaster.

My other main point was about the list itself. The list reminded me of that song from Mary Poppins (you know, the one that starts "A British bank is run with precision; a British home is run quite the same). I take it a big part of that movie was to poke fun at the British obsession with order and such, usually at the expense of imagination and fun (regularity, punctuality, and perfect execution strike me as bank virtues, not home virtues). At any rate, this may just be a difference in personality. But it did strike me that the list seemed kind of stifling. But you know your home and your needs better than anyone, and if Charlotte Mason works for you, then that's great. But it seemed to me that it was becoming a burden to you, something that was getting you down on yourself, and so my point was that maybe the problem wasn't so much with you as with the list. I'm just more laid back, I guess.

Finally, habits of will are habits because eventually they are "second nature"--you do them and you don't have to think about them. The person of good will doesn't have to deliberate about the right choice; he usually just knows it immediately. This takes time, and so we must be patient. And no one is perfect anyway. Your kids will always be imperfect in virtue, as will you, but in the meantime you can just do the best you can and above all trust in God's grace.

Elena said...

Mary Alice, You are definitely correct that my comment gives explanantion but not excuse. However, it is sometimes helpful to first find an explanation that will help with the solution. I completely agree that we are doing our children a disservice if we do not help them to form excellent habits when they are young. I constantly struggle with this particularly with my boy twin. I guess that the forming of these habits is so individual to each child and particularly to the twin unit. I applaud your efforts and I recognise that you are seeking genuine suggestions not just a pat on the back. Myabe take a stepback from the curriculum to simply work on forming good habits in all the children. I don't think that it is a waste of schooltime to stop formal schoolwork to focus on behaviour and finding specific ways to love each child. The schoolwork will get done and, even if parts are left out or never finished, a peaceful family and a peaceful child are more important. One more thing - I think that as mothers we do need a pat on the bat because we are doing a phenomenal work and we get so mired in our own self-critique.

Elena said...

i meant a pat on the BACK not bat.

Jennifer Frey said...

One final thought, which I hope will give us all some comfort.

My outside reader on my dissertation committee (a Benedictine monk, Anselm Muller) was a student of that formidable Brit, GEM Anscombe. One story about Anscombe's parenting in particular has always stuck foremost in my mind. One afternoon Anselm went over to the Geach/Anscombe household to meet with Elizabeth to discuss a paper he had just written. When he entered the house, four of the Geach/Anscombe children were running about wildly, and eventually broke something over the banister of the stairs. Anscombe came down the stairs at the sound of the crash, and immediately upbraided the poor monk for allowing the children to get so out of hand!! He laughed, and said, "but Elizabeth, all I did was walk in the door"!! She would hear nothing of it. She replied (tartly, as was apparently her way): You can't possibly expect me to control them all on my own!

Anscombe was wise, and she knew as well as anyone that her children's behavior was not totally under her control. All seven of her children are devout Catholics (one of her four daughters is a nun, tough I forget the order), and by all accounts, successful adults. I always take comfort in stories just like this, and I've heard hundreds of them at this point!

"H" said...

At what age do you think one should start teaching good habits? My daughter is approaching 17 months and she is-and always has been- very high maintenance. We are constantly frantically attempting to stop or work around of prevent her throwing a fit because she can't do something she wants (even just laying down for 30 seconds for a diaper change). I don't think she understands enough yet to be trained, or she's just too wilful to learn what she doesn't want to learn. (She learns how to do things like climb on the table awful quick.) Do I need to start punishing her now for some behaviors to prevent spoiling her? Or should I cater to her every whim for some more months? When do I know to stop that?

Mary Alice said...

Jennifer, I think you are being unfair to Charlotte Mason -- I think the sort of "bank habits" that you have in mind were also what she was working against. Let me take, as an example, the idea of "perfect execution." My son is asked to sweep up the cheerios he spilled on the ground. This is a reasonable request of an 8 year old. He sweeps them up and then, in putting them in the trashcan he misses and most land back on the floor. He puts away the dust pan and walks away.

His effort and obedience were wasted because his execution was poor.

We can do fewer things, but we can do them very well, to the best of our ability, and we can make an effort to learn to do them better. This requires time and peace of mind and focus. It requires respect for the task at hand, so it is not well learned on "busy work." However, it can be learned while sitting on a blanket in the sun knitting a little doll to send to children in Africa. This is not a "bank" like school environment, and in some ways may be better at teaching the habits required for education.

To further your Mary Poppins analogy, however, I would offer that Mary Poppins, at least in the film, still required that the room be cleaned, the children be dressed properly, they take their medicine and go to bed well.

It is ironic that you took the post as moving towards too much structure, as I am working on the very idea of moving away from being a George Banks, who might require an hour of written work and then let the child trash the room while mother is distracted with other commitments (Mrs. Banks was a suffragist, I am blogging and doing laundry).

Jennifer Frey said...

Dear Mary Alice,

I meant my comments to be helpful to you; I'm sorry if they were not. As I said in my original post, I think very highly of you as a Mother.

Mary Alice said...

Having given all of this a lot of thought and prayer over the last day, and going back to B-Mama's original point about infusing it all with prayer, I want to say that order and attention and the other habits put forth here are important to me in my children's development and education, and I have also read and am now working through Character Building, I have some closing thoughts. First, can we say that there are little h habits -- like putting away your shoes or brushing your teeth or smiling even when you don't feel like it -- which are teachers of big H habits, like the ones listed here, but that the Lord is putting one thing on my heart over and over about virtue and habits and rules:

The greatest of these is love.

I have my children at home, in part, because I want their education to be full of love, and I need to remember that always. This does not take away from teaching the Habits of Will, but it gives it all a purpose.

We are sanctified most by days that are not smooth and easy, but there is more room for prayer and learning and fun if some of the logistics are under control, but my main check at the end of the day should be that there was love.

GentleMOm said...

Babywise disrupts the rhythm that God established. Be gentle with yourself. Be gentle with your baby. Learn how breastfeeding works. Ditch babywise. Enjoy your babymoon.

Catherine said...

I found your blog via a comment about Halloween on the Conversion Diary blog, and was surprised to recognize the authors of this blog from Princeton so I kept reading!

Habit training is something I am working on with my children this year (they are almost 4, two and a half, and 10 months) because of my reading about Charlotte Mason and my own conviction that I have leaned too sharply toward early academics in considering homeschooling. I posted the list of habits we're working on here:
http://catherinewheels78.blogspot.com/2009/09/habits-and-character.html

I enjoyed your post and the link to Simply Charlotte Mason. Thank you!