Her way

These days, I practice do-nothing-say-nothing 95% of the time during our before-school morning routine. We each get up and get busy taking care of ourselves and then converge in the car at the agreed-upon time. Smooth sailing almost every morning! I’m still amazed by our transformation when I think back to the way it was two years ago–the fighting, the frustration, the lateness. It’s all a distant memory now.

During the last few months, Charlotte has taken full advantage of her relatively new autonomy to invent and fine-tune her own morning routine:

  • 6am alarm
  • 6:05 crawl into bed with mom and snooze
  • 6:30 get up with mom
  • 6:35 retrieve backpack from car
  • 6:40 make lunch
  • 6:50 pack backpack and locate boots, hat, mittens, and coat
  • 7am crawl on top of the masonry heater and snooze some more
  • 7:34 crawl down off the heater, grab stuff, run out the door and jump in the car just as it’s driving away at 7:35

Charlotte on top of the heater

She’s been perfecting that routine for weeks, and I can’t remember the last time she missed her ride to school. When she’s on the heater, I like to reach out and squeeze her foot as I go up and down the stairs getting myself ready for work, careful to keep any comments to myself. Sometimes I still start the car without her and think, uh-oh, maybe not today, and then here she comes, barreling out the door, coat half on, backpack hanging off one arm, just in the nick of time.

Never in a million years would she have had the space to develop that method for herself if I hadn’t backed off. Never in a million years would I have guessed that method would work for her — or anyone else for that matter! And now I think, who am I (and who was I) to presume that I know best … about anything?!

So humbling. So inspiring. Can’t wait to see what they think of next.

ps Did I mention that all three girls have chosen on their own to go to school each and every day for the past 2 years? They know I can’t make them go. That cat’s been out of the bag since the very beginning of this program. I can’t make them pay attention and cooperate and participate when they get there either. They choose their life every day. All I had to do was believe that they would.

Explore posts in the same categories: Weeks following: Miscellaneous

12 Comments on “Her way”

  1. Caroline Says:

    Simple and powerful. So very powerful. Thank you. This will inspire us to re-commit to the power of DNSN.

  2. Shalagh Says:

    Catha – this is amazing. What a way to stop and look at your journey! I love the part about just squeezing her foot and not saying anything. And I like how she’s getting her backpack out of the car that morning – meaning you kept your mouth shut the night before!
    Inspiring Catha – thanks for sharing.
    xo shalagh

    • flockmother Says:

      Yes, it took me a while to stop caring/worrying every time she left her stuff in the car. Now it’s become a way for her to keep track of her stuff because it’s the first place she looks!

  3. Michael Mayor (Papa) Says:

    Love it, love it, love it! Three special people doing their thing, with two special parents.

    • flockmother Says:

      Thanks! Speaking of parents believing in their kids, I was just remembering the time I was making a wooden bowl and you handed me that scary power tool with the chainsaw blade. You said, “Some people call this the finger eater. Good luck!” As you walked away, I remember thinking, “Yikes! Well, if he thinks I can handle this tool, then I guess I can…” and armed with that dose of confidence, I tackled the job. Today I have all ten fingers and we’re still using that wooden bowl!” 🙂

  4. vicki Says:

    I love you Catha.

  5. jason Says:

    Hey Catha, I have a random thought to share with Charlotte (whom I’ve never met).

    I was talking with some friends about getting up in the morning and we realized that everyone who drank water in the morning considers themselves a “morning person”, and those that don’t have trouble waking up and getting moving in the morning.

    Based on this one of my friends puts a bottle of water next to her bed every night and when her alarm goes off she drinks it, and since she started doing that she’s become a “morning person”.

    You might want to try a glass of water in the morning and see if it makes it easier for you to get ready in time…

    Someone else tried a glass of Milk every morning, but it doesn’t work as well since milk has something in it that makes you sleepy.


  6. Man, maybe I should try the water thing!
    I have to admit we have never done “do nothing say nothing.” I still can’t figure out how to do it with five-year-olds. Nothing? Really? Nothing? But, but, but…

    maybe we should.

    • flockmother Says:

      Charlotte was six when we did it. She totally stepped up. I’ll never forget it. Start with just *seven days,* just to step back and see what happens. (Remember to explain it to them first and tell them it’s all your–the parents’–fault, because you’ve been interfering too much and now it’s time to fix it.) It’s fascinating!


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