Stories and thoughts from day to day life in the Bullard Family

Jump into a book: 19 Book Elsa Beskow Giveaway! July 27, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — parentsong @ 12:16 pm
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I wish I found this earlier this month, but I’m happy to share this wonderful opportunity with you! Valarie, of Jump into a Book, is giving away 19 gorgeous books by Elsa Beskow. Elsa Beskow has some beautiful stories, many of which I have never even heard of until now. I adore the illustrations, they are so magical! In this giveaway, you have a chance to win:

  • The Sun Egg
  • The Land of Long Ago
  • Princess Sylvie
  • Children of the Forest
  • The Curious Fish
  • Peter in Blueberry Land
  • Emily and Daisy
  • Pelle’s New Suit
  • Around the Year
  • Woody, Hazel, and Little Pip
  • The Flowers’ Festival
  • Aunt Green, Brown, and Lavender
  • Christopher’s Harvest Time
  • Peter’s Old House
  • Ollie’s Ski Trip
  • Peter and Lotta’s Adventure
  • Uncle Blue’s New Boat
  • Peter and Lottas Christmas
  • The Tale of the Little, Little, Old Woman

To learn more about how you can win, check out Valarie’s blog. Her blog is also great for crafts and books.

The contest ends July 31, so don’t delay! And of course, I’m hoping to win, too!


Daily Rhythms and Musical Rhythms June 11, 2011

Filed under: Parenting — parentsong @ 10:35 am
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I wrote this when we were first learning about daily rhythms and young children. We were attending the Waldorf-inspired parenting group and Briony was about 8 months at the time. I think it is still relevant to us now, and perhaps even more so.

Rhythm is the component of music we are most familiar with by the time we are born. We are already exposed to the rhythm of our mother’s heartbeat, the rhythm of walking and maybe even dancing. Songs we learn are organized and structured through rhythm, which we can recognize by the time we are about 12 months old. Other components of music, such as melody, harmony, timbre, tempo and mode define characteristics of songs, but it is often the rhythm that we are immediately drawn to. Think of all the times you clapped along to a song you’ve never heard before. It was the steady rhythm, or the pulse, that made that possible. This gives us a sense of belonging and order even if the music is unfamiliar.

What does this have to do with the rhythm of daily life that we establish for our children? It is the sense of feeling at home in a comfortable place that rhythm provides for our young children as they learn to navigate the world. It is also what gives us that same feeling when we listen to music we can “groove with” and just be, no matter what our state of mind might be.

Imagine that the over-all rhythm of the week is the pulse, or what you would clap along to. Each night and day alternates: night, day, night, day. What happens in between does not matter as of yet, you are just learning the pulse. You can clap along and that is satisfying enough. As you become more familiar with the rhythm, you notice that day has more going on. There are little rhythms within that time. As you learn those rhythms, you are able to add increasingly complex sounds to the clapping. This becomes even more satisfying.

Now think of a song you know very well. The better you know the song, the more enjoyable it is to engage in the complexities of the music. Maybe something happens at a certain point of the song that excites you: a certain rhythmic pattern, a shift in meter, modulation or change in instrumentation. It could be a part of the song that stands out to you; the part you wait for every time you hear the song. It is always there to satisfy your anticipation. This is like the special moment of the day that the child anticipates. Whether it is a story before bedtime or a walk before lunch, it has its place that feels right. It is this rhythm, which you have brought your child into, that provides the safety and satisfaction to feel at home and in one’s place. It is rhythm that is the great organizer of the many facets of our life.

How do you honor the rhythm of life with your child?


The Songs of Parentsong June 4, 2011

Filed under: Songs — parentsong @ 10:08 am
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Okay, so far my entries have not even mentioned music or songs, the very thing that inspired me to start this blog. As I said in my first post, we sing to our daughter (and now this includes our son) all day. Not literally, but probably about ten or more times throughout the day. Part of this feeds our need to be making music (we both quit the choir once Briony was born). And part of this is to help explain what is happening throughout the day and develop a musical mind in our children.

I’ll showcase different songs we sing with our children at different developmental stages and how we use them. I’m not going to go all out and analyze the music- that is too academic for me right now.

What kind of songs do we sing?

Some songs will be old favorites (think Camptown Races), some will be songs recorded by musicians that we play on a CD (though this is a rarity for the babes under 2), and others will be songs from Nick’s side of the world (that would be England) or little ditties that I wrote.

Many songs come from our experience in the Joyful Parenting program at Morning Glory Children, a Waldorf inspired early childhood experience and kindergarten in Doylestown, PA. It is one of our morning songs. I love it because it is very sweet and greets nature along with the children in the morning. It also has some pretty groovy hand movements.

            Good morning dear earth, Good morning dear sun

            Good morning dear flowers, and stones everyone

            Good morning dear beasts, and the birds in the trees

            Good morning to you, and good morning to me

I’m working on figuring out how to incorporate video here, so I can demonstrate the songs. That is a mighty task for a one-handed, sleep-deprived, technologically-challenged individual.