mommy is Missing a Capital “M”

Of course I knew there would be a baby. The baby was in the middle of
everything, tiny and oblivious. And then afterward, I knew that she was
perfectly healthy and had dark hair, that she was barely older than my
baby, and that her name was Lila Jen.

-------------

But the first time I heard, my own morning sickness started to feel like
stomach flu. "Aren't you crazy?” I asked. “You're nuts!”

“Yeah, it's crazy. I didn't think we could even _get_ pregnant. The
high-risk OB says I'm the highest-risk case he's seen.”

Super Condensed Summer

Dear Family,

In mid-day in spring and summer, our window placement prevents direct sunlight from entering our living room. But on Friday I saw a sliver of light on the floor, signaling the winding-down of the season.

Jeff is already in mourning.

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It's been such a good week. And it's strangely true that sweetness and fun just don't make for good jokes. If I really do meet my goal this year, of becoming a happy person, I might have to stop writing update letters.

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Full Head Syndrome

Dear Family,

There is nothing quite like taking a big fat sit on your ass while
rethinking some of your oldest, most deeply held beliefs. I've spent the
better part of my waking hours doing that this week. Result: at least a
few cornerstones of my being a Person Who Is Right have been shaken. See
below for details.

----------------

Other news: a skunk ate one of the teenage chicks last week--it got into
their box at 2:00am. A sad day followed--Graham felt like she'd let them
down. But the other ~26 or so are growing rapidly and ate their body

Little Lila's Mama

by Sarabeth Matilsky

I had a major big-girl-crush on Jen. She talked about drugs and sex with me like I was an adult, and wore clothes only if they were comfortable. She came up with quick retorts when strangers commented on how thin she was. I knew her kidneys didn't work right. Once she told me, like it was no big deal, “The doctors said I wouldn't live past twenty-one. They don't know anything!” People thought Jen and I were sisters all the time—same dark eyes, dark hair, dark skin, and she _was_ tiny. Sometimes we'd pretend right along with them. Jen loved my family, especially my dad. (Hers left when she was four, and now she said she wanted a new one.)

Infant Potty Training

(Originally published in the Boston Parents' Paper)

by Sarabeth Matilsky

Babies can't use the toilet until they're at least 18 months, right? Not true, say a growing number of parents and experts. They practice a technique known as “elimination communication,” or “EC,” to help their babies (as young as newborn) eliminate in a potty or other receptacle.

Questioning Theories of Moss

(Originally published in "The Mother" magazine, March/April 2007)

-by Sarabeth Matilsky

I tried to be modest and discreet. After all, I didn't want the other parents to feel bad. They were always complaining about something or other, mumbling about “lack of sleep” and “discipline,” and they always seemed confused. And here I was, pregnant with my first child, and I already had it all figured out.

What is Education For?

(Originally published in "Life Learning Magazine," and now in "Life Learning: Lessons from the Educational Frontier," edited by Wendy Priesnitz http://www.naturallifebooks.com/books/index.htm .)

By Sarabeth Matilsky

If you're a homeschooler, you know the drill. "Do you know how to read?" strangers and friends inquire curiously. "How do you learn math? Do you have any friends?” There are the uncles who ask, “So, are you planning to work at McDonalds all your life?!” and the particularly mystified questioners who start with the basics: “How do you learn, anyway?”

Unschooling Is My Job

by Ruthe Friedner Matilsky

It isn’t easy being me.

For the last several weeks I have been telling people that I must be doing something wrong because “It was supposed to get easier.” Two of my five kids are out of the house, everyone’s way out of diapers, we sleep through the night and _they all know how to read_. So why am I so frazzled?

Sisters On Wheels

(published in “New Moon” magazine in March 2002)

by Sarabeth Matilsky

I’ll admit it: I used to be a couch potato. Up until 1996, when I was sixteen, my main interests were dance, piano, reading, and acting in plays. I was definitely not an exercise fanatic. Then, that summer of ‘96, I decided I wanted to go on an adventure. The following March, I set off alone from the coast of Virginia to ride 4,500+ miles to Oregon on my bike. Even a couch potato can change her ways!

A Crash Course in Earth Science

(Originally published in Growing Without Schooling magazine ~2001??)

by Sarabeth Matilsky

When I accepted a job working at an exhibit called “Prehistoric Worlds: Backyard Discoveries” at the Boston Museum of Science, I didn’t quite get the facts straight. My brain focused on the part of the job description that promised a chance to interact with museum guests--especially kids--in a non-coercive learning environment. The part I didn’t get was that, as an interpreter for an exhibit about fossils, I would have to be able to teach museum guests about dinosaurs and mammoths and mastodons. I knew nothing about fossils. I’d never gone through a dinosaur phase when I was little, so I’d never learned much about important periods of the earth’s history ending in “zoic.” On my first day on the job, I was hard-pressed to explain the difference between a mastodon and a mammoth, forget about the different between their BONES.

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