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Papa Bear and Baby Bear went on a brief walk where we live the other day. They were just going out to get some fresh air and look around. In this time they were gone, I just sat and relaxed. I didn’t require myself to do anything. I didn’t relish in the silence of the house while they went out, I just sat. Sometimes it’s good to just sit and be still. Sometimes it’s good to just not fret about anything, rather to allow time to pass without much care. I enjoyed my stillness. I needed a moment of stillness.
Anyway, when my guys returned, I was presented with this stick.
As you can see, the stick is just that – a stick. In fact, the stick is practically as long as Baby is, as evidenced by it’s 19″ length. Nonetheless, it is his stick. He was (safely) transferred to my waiting arms, all the while not letting go of his stick. Being the Mama Bear that I am, I was delighted that he had his very own stick. In fact, I encouraged him to play with his stick, thereby allowing him to lick it and attempt to put it into his mouth.
Baby Bear held onto it so tightly. He clearly wasn’t giving that stick up. He almost looked proud in his 4.5 month old way. He had a stick. And it was all his. He apparently garnered that stick from a tree that he and Papa Bear were looking at.
I am ok with this. Why, may you ask am I ok with allowing my child to put a stick in his mouth. Well, I am ok with it because it’s natural. Not only is the stick natural, but it is natural for a 4.5 month old child to want to explore fully this new object of his. It is exploratory behavior. It is learning. I encourage learning. We encourage learning. And not just the “classic” learning that many children are exposed to today. The learning we encourage is world-learning. It is exploratory. It is natural learning; learning by seeing, learning by doing, learning by touching, learning by tasting, learning by watching. Learning in whatever way works.
Are there limits? Yes, though those limits are few right now. For instance, although I encouraged Baby to play with his stick. I also stated clearly that it would be best not to poke himself or me with the stick. He was also safely in my arms and on my lap, so intervention would have been easy, had it been necessary. (It wasn’t.) This is how we intend to continue our child’s learning. It’s not dangerous, unless one thinks it dangerous. It’s not scary and likely won’t induce any illnesses, since exposure to germs is actually how our bodies learn to fight them. Besides, Baby is breastfed exclusively, so I keep him protected by continue to gather and pass along germ-fighting goodies. And for those reasons, I am so very delighted I got a stick!
What are some non-conventional ways you allow your child(ren) to play? Are there certain things you won’t let your child(ren) play with or do?