It was a truly magical weekend. Everyone was so lovely and easy to be around, so generous with their support and sharing... We got a real sense of what it would be to live in a real community! No wonder we lingered so long, and had a little cry on the way home...Halfway around our Saturday walk, there was this huge deep muddy pool. The children spent a happy half hour throwing in the biggest branches they could find. And both of my two fell in and got muddy from head to toe, of course.I was so delighted that Rowan stayed nappyless for a fair bit of the time, and I only got soaked once - very publicly though lol, right in the central courtyard. It's saying a lot that I felt at home enough to carry Rowan around nappyless at all. I often feel very exposed parenting in public anyway, let alone doing something so crazy as taking my newborn to the toilet. When I miss a signal it's so very noticable too, wheras taking her to the potty is an invisible activity!
I'm really glad I braved it, because trusting her (and myself) really strengthened my ability to read her. We've had more time with no nappy under her at all since we got home, and I'm starting to feel less at sea - I really DO know what I'm doing. It has been so much like starting from scratch this time, not at all like something I've actually done before!The drums stayed in the hall the whole time, and freqeuntly a group would congregate to play together. Most of the children found them an irrestable pull, just for a quick bang and then off they would run again. But Luke and Martin, they must have spent more of the weekend drumming together than almost any other single activity!The fire circle was a very memorable evening - lots and lots of children and no parental yelling or nagging! There were benches around the perimeter so there was no risk from running around too close to it, so I pretty much left my girls to make their own decisions about safety. Morgan reached into the fire to grab a pine cone once, and told me that it was hot, but didn't burn herself. Self-preservation is a strong instinct; all of the children seemed very aware of the fire. :)The children ran together wild, a pack of little free beings breathing clean air and playing those endless open games. They hardly touched actual toys all weekend, prefering sticks and mud and games of exhuberant chasing and joyful shouting. From the youngest to the oldest they had no trouble making entertainment. Especially not with a stream to jump in (half of the kids just stripped off and jumped right in, relieving my worry that mine would be the exception in prefering to be naked most of the time lol).Martin took this - evidence, he says, that he spent the weekend in Hippy Heaven.
How amazing to be somewhere that the children weren't constantly directed and hassled, told how to play and reminded of the rules every twenty seconds! How fantastic to nurse openly and publicly (and frequently) not only without comment, but with company! And how relaxing it was to feel that nobody was watching my parenting and taking notes for good or bad - the feeling of being amongst friends, unjudged, accepted for who we are.