Welcome to Mudpies & More

Doug at playgroundHello and welcome to Mudpies & More! I am so excited about this new journey capturing the ins and outs of childhood.  Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Margaret and I am a stay at home mom to one fantastic little boy, Doug.  He is probably the happiest, most inquisitive kid I know, but I might be biased. Doug recently began preschool, which has allowed me to begin another journey as a Tinkergarten leader in our small New England community.  With the wealth of information I have gleaned over the last 3 years of motherhood I wanted a place to gather and share that knowledge, a place to commemorate our many adventures, and a place to grow as a person.  I hope you will enjoy all that Mudpies & More will come to be.

My parenting style is simple, I lead with love and try to respect my son as a growing individual.  I am by no means perfect, or a “super” mom, but I am a kind, fun, loving, and creative mom.  To me, one of the very best things about becoming a mother is the chance to explore childhood again.  Is there anything more magical than childhood?  It is an honor to get to revisit this special time from an adult perspective and to craft it for the next generation.  In the age of technology, I put an emphasis on the outdoors and all the wonderful things nature has to offer us.  Joining the Tinkergarten team was a no brainer for me, and confirmed just how important the emphasis on outdoor play really is to young children.  You can not run before you can walk, and you can not engage in the world without first knowing your environment.

These early years are a time where children are learning the soft skills needed to shape them for their entire lives.  Soft skills include the formation of character and other personal attributes, social skills, communication skills, and emotional intelligence.  So when you hear the phrase play is the work of the child, it is referring to the hard work they are doing acquiring these soft skills.  A young child’s brain is physically different from an adult’s, they are constantly making connections and paring down what is important, making these early years vital to their sense of self and making these soft skills much more difficult to learn later in life.  In a time where we struggle with sensory disorders, childhood obesity, and have seen the rise of nature deficit disorder, a greater effort needs to be made to get our kids engaged with the outdoors.  We are striving to formally educate our children earlier and earlier, we are relying on technology distractions earlier and earlier, and we are living indoor “clean” lives like never before.  All of this is disruptive to the bedrocks of human development.  That said, there are ways to make them work to improve childhood.

Everything in moderation! As I stated earlier, my son just began preschool for 2 mornings a week. His school is child-led and play based, the ABCs are not featured on the walls anywhere in his classroom and there is an emphasis on outdoor free play.  This is developmentally appropriate for his age: at 3 he goes to school to gain independence away from me, to socialize, and to learn that others have a lot to teach him.  He is not there to learn to read and write yet, the basics of which he is already picking up through his inquisitive investigations.  Technology certainly has a place in this generation’s development too.  For me, content is king in this arena.  Our smart phones give us instant access to capturing our play through photos and videos.  These provide learning opportunities to share the day with our loved ones and to continue to revisit our adventures once home.  Likewise, cartoons these days aren’t the looney tunes of old, programs like Daniel Tiger have really help Doug and me navigate certain situations.  It makes my heart leap when he sings “try try try try, try it again” instead of screaming in frustration.  The iPad has been an invaluable tool to stream this content, allowing me to control what he is watching, how much he is watching, and even where he is watching.  Finally, as much as I love the outdoors, I equally enjoy a clean house to laze about in.  I definitely am thankful for modern medicine and always encourage good hygiene.

I look forward to delving deeply into these topics and many, many more over the coming years.  Doug is such an inspiration to me and being his mother has changed me in ways I never expected.  We are loving life in New England, and I hope you are loving life where you are too.  Welcome again to Mudpies & More!

Doug on bridgeexplore childhood again


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