Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dude, where's my Horse?

Welcome to the June 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids and Animals This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about kids and pets. ***
Little teeny Adora (2010). In love with horses for as long as I can remember. 

Adora loves horses.
Like, seriously, head-over-heels loves horses.
She draws horses, she asks to play computer games about horses, she brings me horse books to read with her, she thinks about horses, heck, she probably dreams about horses. 
I'm currently creating shirts for myself, Adora, and Juno to wear on a trip to the amusement park (tie dye with hand-sewn felt designs-keep your eyes peeled like oranges for a tutorial in the next few weeks!), and I instantly knew which animal Adora would like on her shirt-no questions necessary. 

I live on a farm, and we rent out our stables to local horse owners. If we wanted to venture into the stables and interact with the horse every day (and certain ones of us do ;)), we could. Adora adores (LOL) the stables, and we spend hours down there looking at the horses, feeding them hay,and discussing horses. 
But here's the thing.
I don't like horses. At all. I really, really don't (Sorry if you love them. You are still awesome). 
They smell bad, they're really big, they escape from the stable, poop in the yard, and I have to track them down (okay, so maybe that isn't a universal characteristic of horses, but it's definitely a struggle)...I'm just not a fan. 
But Adora is. An she is much more important that my dislike of poop and largeness (who likes large poop, though? No one, let's be real here).
I want Adora to be able to interact with horses, and to explore her interests and desires, even when I do not necessarily share them (or at least, not to the same magnitude as does she). I want her to love learning, and to receive the opportunity to curiously discover anything she likes, in as hands-on of a manner as is possible for me to provide.
 So, despite my slight horror at the prospect, we trek down to the stables anytime she likes, and bask in the glory of the horses.
We built rapport with the owners, we bring snacks for the animals, we pet them, I take pictures, I answer all of Adora and Juno's questions about horses. 
We experience them, together. 
And I'm learning to like horses. I like how excited Adora is about seeing them. Kid's excitement, it's contagious. And if horses cause it, then I can live through a little time with them. 

So, ask all the questions, little chikas. Tell me what you want to experience, be it skydiving, swimming, languages, countries, or simply seeing horses, and I'll do my best to make it happen. Let's experience the world around us, hand in hand.     

..Okay, so maybe not skydiving. But horses? That, we can do. 
*** Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting! Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • What Animal Rescue is Teaching My Children
  • Tips on Picking the Perfect Kid-friendly Dog — Lactating Girl at The Adventures of Lactating Girl shares some tips she's learned on how to find the perfect child-friendly dog for your family.
  • All New Animals Are "Woof" — Baby Boy is still learning animals. Life Breath Present doesn't yet have any at home, but he still believes that all animals are "woof." Here's the proof.
  • Dude, where's my Horse? — Adora loves horses, but Erin at And Now, for Something Completely Different really doesn't. However, Adora's longing wins out; learn about their interactions with horses here.
  • Weighing the Pros and Cons of a Family Pet — When is a family ready for a pet? Donna at Eco-Mothering discusses her worries as well as the benefits of adopting a dog, including how it will affect her seven-year-old daughter.
  • Parenting Challenge--Learning from Animals--running the emotional gammut — Survivor at Surviving Mexico writes about the emotional learning her family has experienced through sharing their lives with animals.
  • Puppy Love for our Family — In case you didn't catch it from the blog title, Pug in the Kitchen, the family pet is an integral part of Laura's family and home life!
  • Vegetarianism and Animal Rights: Explaining to Children — Becca at The Earthling's Handbook is mostly vegetarian...not 100%, and not because of animal rights...yet she has found that the idea of not hurting animals is the aspect of vegetarianism most easily understood by a young child. She explains what her son has learned about not eating meat and how it has affected his social life.
  • Pets & kids: The realities — Lauren at Hobo Mama lays out the benefits and drawbacks of pet ownership when young kids are involved.
  • HOW PETS CONNECT WITH EMOTIONS: KIDS & PETS AFTER 9-11 — Parenting Expert Laurie Hollman at Parental Intelligence discusses the importance of pets in lowering stress after traumatic situations, why children choose certain pets, the loss of a pet, and the role of parents in teaching care-giving to animals in a warm, gentle way.
  • It's not our house without a dog! — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work describes why giving a loving and disciplined home to at least one shelter dog at a time enriches the life of her family, and has become a vivid memory in the minds of her children.
  • Canine Haikus — Kids, dog, haikus, at
    Dionna (Code Name: Mama).
    Pet-centric poems.
  • Beanie's BunniesOur Mindful Life's Sofi Bean has gotten her first pets!
  • Montessori Care of Pets — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about her experiences with kids and pets and shares Montessori resources for pet care.
  • How to Nurture Your Child's Awareness of Spirit Guides — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama hosts a post from her regular contributor Lauren of Lauren looks at the concept of animals as spirit guides and how deeply children are connected to this realm. She also encourages us to open ourselves up as parents to the reality that children are naturally more connected to the animal world, giving us ideas on how to nurture their relationships with their Spirit Guides.
  • No Puppy! — Meg at the Boho Mama shares her tips for dealing with toddlers and the (very real) fear of animals.
  • Year of the Pets — Jorje of Momma Jorje wasn't sure she ever wanted pets again, but things have changed a lot this year!

  • 3 Reasons Why Keeping Backyard Chickens is Good for my Toddler — Bianca, The Pierogie Mama, started keeping backyard chickens for the benefit of their eggs, but what she wasn't prepared for was what they would teach her two year old daughter too.


    1. What a good mama you are :) Now I'm feeling a little guilty about some of the things Kieran has asked me to do more of and I'm all - uh uh. Not gonna happen (at least past a certain point). Granted, the things he was asking about weren't living in our backyard ;) But still - I love and am inspired by your philosophy. This year I'll concentrate on doing more to truly follow the kids' interests, no matter where they take us.

      1. Aw, thank you so much, Dionna! This means so much to be-I really look up to you, and I think you are such an amazing Mama. Hehe, having the horses in the back yard DOES make it a wee bit more convenient. I agree with what you are saying completely; it can be difficult to follow kid's interests completely-it's something that I am working on, too. I am finding that their interests are becoming more interesting to me, as well-I hope that you may discover the same. You are so compassionate, and I feel like you are already following their interests with the new dog! So, go you ;) Keep on keeping on.

      2. Thanks so much for leaving this comment, by the way. It made my day :)

    2. My daughter was crazy about horses, too, from about age 3 until we gave her some horse-riding lessons last fall (age 7). She enjoyed the first few, but then got scared as the lessons progressed and decided she wanted to stop and maybe wait until she was a bit older. I wonder if I should have encouraged her past the fears (I didn't, thinking: "Horse lessons are expensive - if she wants to stop, why argue?"). I'm impressed that you're moving past your own horse fears for Adora.

      1. Haha, solidarity, man. Horse loving kids. I think it's really good that you allowed her to quit, though; although encouraging children to work towards their interests is important, I think that respecting their boundaries is more important
        Thank you so much for your kind comment! I appreciate your support :)

    3. Haha, I was thinking that about skydiving when you said it! This post reminds me how my grandmother got a pet snake when her kids were little despite her snake phobia. The things we'll do for the kids we love!

      You're definitely inspiring me. I often have to get past what's usually not my fear but just my boredom with some of the things my kids love-love-love and I'm not so into (Transformers, Dragon City video game, Power Rangers, etc., etc.). I will once again try to dive in with them!

      1. Haha, I MIGHT have to pass on the skydiving. Luckily (for me, at least ;)), these chikas are not quite THAT adventurous. We did go on the ski lift at the amusement park, though, so that's something? ;)
        Wow, that's really honourable of your Grandmother-I am impressed! That's some hardcore love right there. Thanks for sharing that story with me. And thank you for all your kind words!
        The boredom thing is the struggle, I completely relate; I watch a Kindergartener who LOOVES to talk to me about Star Wars for hours and hours; sometimes I have to fight to not zone out when he is doing so, hehe. Especially because I had him and a group of seven other kids every afternoon during the school year; all of them wanted to talk at once, ask for things at once, ect --"Erin, but you aren't listening to my Star Wars stoooryyy!" was essentially the soundtrack to my life every afternoon during the school year, hehe. But even on days when it was only him, and the others weren't there, when one is tired after a long day, it can be difficult to feign interest in the 1000th retelling of the adventures of Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.
        I've never heard of Dragon City, but I'll bet Adora would love it. Googling it now!
        Hang in there! We shall make it through.

    4. I love where this post went. I was thinking "aww, a girl and her horses" and then BAM, mom doesn't like them. I am SO WITH YOU on that one. Not to the same extent, I'm sure, given that I don't have to clean their poop, but still. My youngest goes nuts every time that we drive past a horse. I guess I should foster it better and actually take her to see some horses.

      1. Gahh, I'm so glad that there is someone else out there who GETS it! I am willing to go and do horse-related things with her, but maaan, I just do not find them interesting, haha. I'm glad that you liked the post. We can commiserate together.