The two biggest gifts that the Waldorf philosophy has given me are time and freedom.
I used to think that I needed to start teaching my babies to speak and to read right away. I didn’t see the value of play especially of nursery rhymes and pat a cake type games. I thought I needed every baby gadget I saw. After the birth of our first child, I started down a very mainstream parenting path and he was an unhappy baby and I was a nervous wreck. I worried about him not talking or signing and about meeting other physical milestones early. I fell into the trap of comparing him with every other baby we met. I spent all my time with him, but I found it difficult to really relax and just be with him or to get anything else accomplished for that matter. He cried a lot, especially after a busy day, he developed a rash everywhere his disposable diapers touched him, and he screamed in terror at some of the wonderful plastic toys we had gotten him. I didn’t understand that since these were what every baby was supposed to have, but the lights and music just sent him into a fit of crying and shaking his little fists while he kicked and kicked his legs. I started looking for answers and was introduced to Waldorf and anthroposophy through an online natural parenting community. I started learning all I could and it was like a light went off inside of me. He needed me to play with him and sing to him not just sit and try to get him to say mama or dada or dog. He needed me to wear him and make him part of my day and to get things done like taking care of our home. I switched to natural fiber cloth diapers and clothing and his eczema improved so much. I started to sing to him and play baby games like bouncing him on my knee while saying a verse or poem or pat a cake and itsy bitsy spider. He thrived. He started talking and crawling and didn’t cry nearly as much. We bonded in ways I didn’t think possible. It was a wonderful transformation and helped us both so much. I was finally free from worrying that if he didn’t count to 3 by 18 mos, he would never get into college. By wearing him and making him part of our life and daily work, I got back the time I needed to take care of myself and our home.
When we were blessed with our second son, I was much more able to relax and to let him be a baby. I did fall into some of the same worry, but came out of it more easily. I included my older son in taking care of his baby brother by telling him stories and doing finger plays together. With the baby in the sling, I was able to spend time playing with my older boy that he needed too.
We now have three beautiful boys, our youngest is 14 months and raising a waldorf baby has become more natural to me. Now my challenge is building on the foundation and continuing to give the boys time to become who they are without rushing.