Basil & Purposefully Unpurposeful Parenting

I wrote this to remind my self of all the ways a great day can happen.

And just how easy it can be if I simply stop TRYING to make the perfect day happen.


I only just read the name for what happened here this morning, last night: “Slow Parenting”.

At first I thought it was going to be something I didn’t like. “Slow Parenting” lends itself to sounding unlikable, I think!

I tend to think of what happened here today as “Purposefully Unpurposeful Parenting”. And while that may be a mouthful (and possibly grammatically impossible!) I think it describes it so much better than “Slow Parenting”.

“Slow Parenting” is simply the phrase that describes the idea that one need not go to great lengths to entertain their child. By no means neglecting parental duties, but instead simply suggesting that one does not need to schedule constant activities…or buy new entertaining toys.. or fill the hours with video games and TV time… All fall into the category of entertaining your child.

Rather, slow parenting allows your child the freedom to entertain themselves the way they are built to be entertained: Discovering, Playing, Exploring!

Anything that peeks their natural curiosity… Being out of doors! (Or on the exceptionally hot or freezing day, offering them an indoor environment that leads to the same sort of games one sees children enjoying out of doors!) It seems perfect that the morning after learning that there was a phrase for this old parenting style that it would be a perfectly cool, slightly clouded yet not muggy, 70 degree California morning!

We went out back post breakfast. I had an overabundance of neglected basil taking over my garden. It demanded attention.

Hailee was more than excited to slip on her sandals and head out by my side.

And Claire…. Well, Claire didn’t have much of a choice as I scooped her up, along with a large blanket to lay out on the grass. A couple of balls, a random ping pong paddle (which she mistook as a book she was incapable of opening for a good 10 minutes) and the grass edging her comfortable blanket were more than enough to keep my precious, active 11 month old perfectly busy. Her “ti-ti”and doggy were pleasant company, sprawled alongside her.


I spent a good 30 minutes, scissors in hand, cutting back my wild plants, not planning to have time to collect all the leaves from the stems I was removing and even less likely, be able to turn it into a sauce. That seemed like rather high expectations on top of my usual morning routine so I settled for pruning alone being enough.


So I set down my scissors and held her hand as she toddled along on her wobbly, thick legs to the low retaining wall that runs along our strawberry bed. There, she was happy to stand and bounce as her sister dumped rocks from her toy truck, from one pile to the next, in front of her.

I brought my pile over to the blanket, and sat down with a bowl to begin the long process of removing every leaf from those basil stems. Still amazed I was being allowed to be productive for this long!


^ This was only 1/4 of my end product! Hooray!


Her questions provided us with her lessons, her imagination created her schedule!

For our daily dose of science she asked me voluntarily what made this mornings clouds grey instead of our usual fluffy white ones. The idea of rain coming from somewhere and being able to understand that idea excited her!

Math we counted baby birds that lined our fence, noting how as they came and went how there were more or less. When a whole flock flew up together she excitedly announced “Now theres 3-6-9-10 Mom!”


Writing came as she eagerly practiced her “H” with side walk chalk.

MORE science when we discovered a large “watermelon spider” among the leaves and a praying mantis that crawled up to her shoulder.



Anatomy when she stuck her hands down her pants and informed me “I’m touching my buns Mama!”……. QUICKLY followed by a lesson on not touching our buns! 🙂

Cooking as she plucked the basil leaves alongside me for a few minutes and informed me how excited she was to have “Sauce and Pasta for lunch!”

Followed by: “OK Mama, I LOOOOOOVE to help you but I got lots of stuffs to do!” And she scurried away. I was more than happy to watch her run off because I was just so thrilled to watch her little self do what she does best! Learning while playing!




I learned a lot too. I learned my baby has so many quesions she wants to ask. And not much at this age she requires being taught. Her brain will ask what it desires to know. And she has a very deep thirst for knowledge!

Why are we so eager to set them down at a desk for hours at a time so they can LEARN when learning is meant to be done in the natural element. Children that are allowed to PLAY, learn better. Just because she’s bright doesn’t require me to push her along even more quickly than she already goes! She will never be this little and this eager to learn again… As a plus, they each at a 2 left over pancakes for snack, a peach, and 2 bowls of pasta with fresh pesto sauce for lunch! And they are soundly asleep. Life is good!


One Comment

  1. Mom

    What a lovely recording of your day! Sounds like I would’ve totally interrupted by coming by this morning;) so glad I didn’t! A mamma never tires of watching her girl learn

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