Happy Halloween

 Carving pumpkins...

 A cute little pumpkin...


note: These photos were taken via Instagram. I spent the afternoon experimenting with it and am completely mystified. I cannot seem to get it to do what I want it to do, and am also having trouble posting photos where I want to post them (though as you can see, I did eventually manage to post them here.)  I think this just might be the first and last of Instagram you will ever see at we bloom here!



This is a difficult post to write.  It's been floating around in my head for a few weeks because I've been trying to think of how to write it without sounding whiny, petty or ungrateful.  If I do seem this way, please forgive me.  I'm doing the best I can, as are we all.

Why is this post so difficult to write?  Because it's about a difficult person -- my toddler.  Don't get me wrong. I am grateful to pieces that he is my child.  I am grateful that he is healthy, affectionate, funny, bright and perceptive, creative, generous and very ticklish, but today I am here to set things straight and tell you that things are not all sunshine, flowers and sidewalk chalk (surprise, surprise... right?)

Yes, all toddlers are challenging in their own, unique toddler-ish ways (as are they all utterly delightful in their own unique toddler-ish ways), but I must say, I'm glad this little Bloom is my second child and not my first.  My older son challenged me in all the normal ways and, with the perspective of having been through toddlerhood with one child, I know that, when my little one is being difficult, I haven't done anything wrong and don't blame myself.  My little one is just different from his brother... and more... difficult.

How is he difficult?  He bites.  He pinches.  And he shrieks.  A lot.  Not just any kind of shrieking.  Glass-shattering, icepick-through-the-eardrum, pickax-through-the-skull style shrieking.  He shrieks (and sometimes bites and pinches) when he's angry, frustrated, wants attention, has an unfavorable opinion about something and even when he's happy and playing and having fun. When we go to the library or grocery store, we are greeted with grimacing smiles from familiar clerks.  I smile back at them, cheerfully announcing, "Don't worry... We'll be leaving soon!" And last night, at 11:00, he woke up and shrieked for a solid 30 minutes (I tried everything.  I picked him up and he struggled so I put him down.  I offered to sing songs and read books.  I offered him juice, milk and snacks.  I took him outside to see the moon, etc... etc... Finally, I lit a candle and sang Happy Birthday. The screaming was suddenly replaced by placid cheerfulness, as if the past 30 minutes had never occurred.  Can you see me heaving an exasperated sigh of relief and rolling my eyes?)

What do I do about the shrieking (and pinching and biting?)  I used to flinch and get upset (I still do get upset sometimes.)  I assess for hunger, pain or tiredness and otherwise try to talk to him gently, with reminders to use a gentle voice and gentle hands (it's always more helpful to show a child what we DO want instead of what we don't want, right?)  When it's clear he's not in distress but testing limits or communicating by screaming, I flatten my expression, turn my back and walk away -- at which point, I usually hear a little voice behind me whisper, "Gentle voice..." My response to this, of course, is to turn around and say, "Yes, very good... gentle voice," then give lots of kisses and hugs.  Things have improved somewhat by using this response consistently.

So, why am I writing this post?  Like I said at the beginning, I'm glad this little guy is not my first child -- he is my second child, which gives me a better perspective on the whole shrieking, biting, pinching thing.  But if you have a little one who shrieks, bites or pinches, I hope you might find comfort, kinship and a bit of support reading this today.  Here are a few articles I recently found on the issue of biting (and other undesirable behaviors): there is this excellent article and this other excellent article, plus this article here.  I found reading these really helpful, and, if you've got a young child who screams, bites, pinches, hits or kicks, perhaps they will be helpful to you, too.


Acorns in my Pocket

Today I collected up a few acorn caps and put them in my pocket...

And so, of course, I made a few of these.


Behind the Camera (again)

Why, oh, why is there a camera strapped to the tripod (again?) Why are the lights blazing in the photo studio (again?)  Didn't Mr. and Mrs. Bloom finish shooting photos for the book Making Peg Dolls way back last March?  What can they possibly be up to now?

Why are Hansel and Gretel peeking out from behind those trees?  Are they hiding from the bears?  So many questions!  Stay tuned... all will be revealed soon...


Ribbon Rings

This is one of those craft projects which has great payoff;  not only are these ribbon rings easy to put together, they are fun to play with and inspire physical activity (perfect for a rainy day or any other moment when cabin-fever sets in...)

My boys enjoy play silks well enough, but when it comes to interpretive movement and dance, channeling Isadora Duncan is not their "thing."  However, when I put on music and hand them ribbon rings, much dancing, swirling and twirling ensues!

To make these, I used 3 inch wide wooden rings (found by searching craft supplies on etsy) and 18 feet of ribbon per ring.  To put them together, I cut each ribbon into 6 ft. lengths, looped each length of ribbon in half through a wooden ring and tied a knot.  Done.  Put on some music... it's time to run, dance and play...

 But it's not easy...

 To catch photos...

Of a toddler in motion!


Sidewalk Chalk

 What's a mama to do when everyone is grumpy?

Little Mr. had the sniffles and a mean cough.  Wee Bloom and I were coming down with the same cold and in a bad mood. Having been stuck inside the stuffy house for two days, we were all feeling rather glum.

What was the cure for all our woes?

 Trundle everyone outside, into the bright Autumn afternoon...

And hand out some sidewalk chalk.

Note: This post has been linked to Friday's Nature Table at Magic Onions and  Creative Friday at Natural Suburbia.


Playing with the Big Boys

Can you feel the longing coursing through every inch of his little body?  He's desperately hoping they might invite him to play...


Ashes and Snow

from Ashes and Snow by Gregory Colbert
Gregory Colbert's website for his exhibit Ashes and Snow is extraordinary.  

from Ashes and Snow by Gregory Colbert