Mom Takes Notes: Rock Collecting | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Mom Takes Notes: Rock Collecting 

Published October 6, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

click to enlarge ELISA JÄRNEFELT
  • Elisa Järnefelt

Since my daughter was born three years ago, there are many things she has taught me. Some of the lessons feel profound. I have learned to be less rigid in my vision of what parenting should look like. I have learned to wait at least three days, preferably a couple of weeks, until declaring that things like her sleep patterns or tantrums are a problem — because many of those "problems" just solve themselves.

Then, there are other kinds of lessons, ones that seem so small or insignificant that sometimes I almost don't realize that they are lessons at all.

One of these lessons relates to my daughter's collection of rocks. It would be easy to shrug off the ever-growing pile by the corner of our house as just as a pile of rocks. Sometimes I feel frustration when, once again, the bottom of the stroller is filled with stones that are all important to her.

But mostly, I am in awe of the endless possibilities of a rock. Is there anything else that can be, simultaneously, an owl, a whale, a ladybug and a car; a house or a piece of a nest; a painting surface for a compassionate message hidden by a trail; so very hard and yet molded smooth by mere water; a treasure, a holder of fossils, a holder of memory and something to hold on to?

As Byrd Baylor wrote in her 1974 book Everybody Needs a Rock, my daughter has taught me: "Everybody needs a rock. I'm sorry for kids who don't have a rock for a friend."

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

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About The Author

Elisa Järnefelt

Elisa Järnefelt

Elisa Järnefelt is a South Burlington-based illustrator and writer originally from Finland. She enjoys telling complex stories with seemingly simple drawings. Her illustrated column about parenthood appears monthly in Kids VT. You can see more of her drawings at


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