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Archive for February, 2010

Tonight during dinner, I mentioned how I thought our potatoes probably wouldn’t come up. The day after LP and I planted them, we had a week of torrential rain which just seems like too much water. I also fessed up that I don’t really know what the growing potatoes would look like and thought I might “weed” them by accident.

LP had a plan (she almost always has a plan these days). She wanted to go out to the garden with a candle and sing to the plants.

A little dialogue brought ImprovDad and I up to speed…and we made the connection to the Frog & Toad story where Toad is worried that he scared his seeds by yelling at them to grow so he plays violin to them and reads them stories.

It would’ve been easy to talk about it, to story it and to maybe even play act it. LP was suggesting it but not strongly, not insisting on it. AND it was such a perfect moment to surprise LP (and ourselves) by saying “yes!” The dinner clean up could wait, so could the bath. So could every other distraction of the moment.

So after dinner, out out to the back yard we went. I held a candle and LP rode on ImprovDad’s shoulders. We stood in front of our wee potato patch and made up a song “Grow potatoes, grow.” There was a half moon shining through a partly cloudy sky and a few stars peeking through.

And best of all was the smile on LP’s face.

This post is part of the Moms’ 30 Minute Blog Challenge over at SteadyMom. Go on, click over and check out all the links.

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Another Improv Craft Friday

LP’s 3rd birthday was yesterday, so the end of our week last week was all about preparing to celebrate.


The main craft activity was making party favors. A few weeks ago, LP and I had hunted through Goodwill for a wool sweater to felt (my first try). So I had the shrunken, felted sweater which I cut and sewed into mini-bags. (These two a few takes to get them the right size to hold the favors and have decent proportions for being held by small hands.) Then I made a version of Rainbow Mama’s little people. I’ve made a few different iterations of these as gifts…I thought making mini-ones was going to go faster but actually small ones took longer. (So glad I was only making 6!)

Then I added dinosaurs because LP loves those dinosaurs.

LP enjoyed playing with scraps, requesting that I cut her some “pie” or “cherries” or “noodles” and had her usual good time with thread.

She also spent an incredibly long time sorting out branches from a bush that she collected.


It was fascinating to me to listen to her talk as she played and I sewed…sometimes she gave each branch a name, sometimes she gave each one (what sounded like) a title of a book and sometimes she used made-up words. As always I am learning that I never know what will spark her imagination and it was fortunate for me that we each ended up able to work on our “projects” side by side.

I linked this post to se7en’s Fabulous Friday Fun!

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Cloud Parenting


Sometimes I get stuck in my own story.

We all do. Probably more often than is comfortable to admit. I find that I’ve become closed to alternative ways of seeing or understanding. There are many paradigms out there to understand this process….and all of them (in my mind) boil down to this…there is more to the story.

“More” can be a different perspective. “More” can be details that have gone unnoticed. “More” can be allowing new feelings to color and tint OR letting old feelings stop coloring experience. “More” can mean so many things.

One of the glorious things about improv stories is that they are of the moment. The more experienced an improv storyteller becomes, the more at ease one becomes with exploring new paths, letting go of assumptions and experiencing new story realities…essentially ready to watch the clouds of the story change. Was that a rabbit in the sky….or a mushroom growing near a top hat? Or was it a rabbit disappearing into a discarded magician’s hat?

Last week, in the midst of a bunch of rainy days, we had a burst of blue sky. After a lunch picnic, LP and I lay on a blanket and watched the clouds move in the sky. And as I watched those clouds change, I thought about how much LP is changing every day. I tried to soften my gaze on her and see the things that I don’t usually see. It is easy to focus on the parts of LP that delight me and the things that are challenging. So easy to focus on the first image, on my first ideas and assumptions about what it means that she loves to make bouquets out of any material she can find in nature. Or what it means that she prefers the color red. Or loves dinosaurs.

And focusing on those details can leave so much out of the story of who she is today…and tomorrow. Noticing the details is wonderful. So is noticing when the details are limiting my ability to really see her in any given moment.

It is a challenge to give up our solid sense of story, of this is how you are and who you are. Yet when we can do this, when we can see each other as changing beings, we can not only better support growth but enjoy all the potentials you can see.

I hope that I can remember to watch LP with that soft, cloud-watching vision sometimes and to also help her build her ability to see the world in alternative ways.

This post is part of the Moms’ 30 Minute Blog Challenge over at SteadyMom.

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This was really my improv craft project (i.e. just leaping in without much of a plan and figuring it out along the way) but LP was along for the multi-day ride of making it happen.

I’ve wanted to add texture and color to LP’s room for quite awhile. Since we rent, there are some limitations to what I can do to the walls, etc. After much contemplation, I finally felt inspired to make a felt tree to cover up the closet door. I bought some brown and green felt, pulled out the sewing box and went to it.

While I worked on this (over 5 days), LP supervised, played with the fabric scraps quite a bit, arranged pins in the pin cushion and (my favorite) made “costumes” by wrapping herself in thread. Yellow thread was her duck costume, green thread was her frog costume and red thread was her London bus costume. It brought back many sweet memories of playing with my mom’s sewing box (which is mine now) when I was a kiddo.

Here’s the closet before crafting:

And here’s the progression of a the tree “growing”…I measured the height of the closet and cut the trunk shape freehand and taped it with my trusty painters tape.


Once it was up, I cut down the center (because the closet folds out) and started sewing it through the slats. This took a loooooooonnnnnnnng time. Cool unforseen effect is that the thread loops make the felt look more like bark.


Next up, I cut leaves out of the green felt using my pinking shears and arranged them on the tree branches. These leaves also were sewed on through the slats of the door.


Lastly, I used leaves to make the rest of the crown of the tree on the door frame. These leaves are hot glued together in bunches and then tacked up with green tacks.


I hope LP enjoys it…I had a good time making it!


AND this post is linked up to Se7en’s Fabulous Friday Fun

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Act It Out: Transitions

While many of our co-created stories occur during quiet times when the goal is settling down and peacefulness, there are also so many opportunities to use story to get into action. I’m trying to get more in touch with these active story opportunities…especially as the on-going cold rain has me feeling like curling up under a blanket and have someone tell me a story (and oh, yes, how I look forward to the day when LP does).

I’m experimenting with using story-acting as a transition when LP is coming to the end of an activity (or if I need her to come to the end of an activity). For example, if she has been building happily with the Legos but seems to be getting restless with it and hasn’t self-initiated something else, I might join her with the Legos and make a few offers to see if we can transform the moment. (She has so many opportunities throughout the day to self-initiate, I like to see if at least once a day I can pay close enough attention to be a part of it, just for varieties sake…and it does also work if the “transition” LP has arrived at is whining.)

Currently her Lego creations are either parfaits or trampolines or parfait trampolines (sticky but sweet landings on that one)…so I might start a story about a trampoline who liked to make people go up and down and flip around. I’d repeat a key phrase like “up and down and flip around” and then stand up and do some action of “up and down and flip around” myself and then invite her to join me and do it together.

As we’re going “up and down and flip around,” I’d pay attention to LP’s body and words to figure out where to go next. The story-moment can be brief and just the transition (as our action moves us to the big bed for some tumbling time) or can be an entry to a shared imaginative experience as we find out what happens when the trampoline flipped LP so high up into the sky that she landed on a cloud or perhaps she would become a pancake being flipped.

This post is part of the Moms’ 30 Minute Blog Challenge over at SteadyMom.

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Wrap it up!

We have entered the birthday season!

Between mid-January and mid-March, we celebrate 8 family birthdays (including myself, LP and ImprovDad) along with the birthdays of 3 of LP’s girlfriends (all turning 3). So there has been a lot of talking about birthdays and opportunities to sing.

After making wrapping paper and wrapping up a present for a friend, LP was bit by the wrapping bug. She comandeered all the paper from the easel and brought a steady stream of lovies and books to be wrapped. Once wrapped, a present was gently carried to its recipient while LP sang “Happy Birthday.” (Bartie the Bus made out like a bandit with Via the musical frog a close second although LP tells me her real birthday wasn’t until Saturday.)

It was fun to watch the game evolve, especially when I got on board (and stopped putting away the tape each time as if it was over) and shared the birthday fun. I am, it seems, always learning that it is actually faster to say “YES!” and join in play and then move on to what I want (or need or think I need) to do. Delaying tactics lessen LP’s fun because she moves her focus from her game (which she just was trying to share) to actively trying to get my attention.

I’m sure we’ll be playing “wrap it up” again and next time I’ll be ready to empower LP to do more herself (like pieces of tape lined up on the easel for her to use as she pleases).

This post is part of se7en’s Fabulous Friday Fun
(and no, it isn’t Friday on any calendar except the improv one where it can always be Friday…thanks se7en for understanding that!)

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Tell Me a Story: DIY Myth

And so our sleep-deprived story continues….

As LP (and we) serve out our transition time (that uncomfortable time when the old way of doing things no longer works and the new way of doing things isn’t yet defined), there are many awake hours in wee hours of the morning.

Not my best time.

I’m trying many new things to shift our nights into a better and more sleep-filled experience. Along with some straight talk about nighttime (which is for sleeping) I’m also developing the story of the Sleepy Bird. I have a (hopeful) feeling that Sleepy Bird will become part of our bedtime and re-falling asleep routines. She has great potential to serve a mythic function.

A few nights ago, LP really settled down as I started to tell her about the Sleepy Bird getting up out of her nest and flying through the night sky, over houses and apartments and all kinds of places that people are sleeping. I was able to spin a long, long story about trees dreaming about tree things and so on. When the Sleepy Bird sees someone not sleeping, she comes and sings a soft, sleepy song to help them go back to sleep.

Last night when I said goodnight, I reminder her about Sleepy Bird, she smiled and softly said “tweet, tweet”.

Fingers crossed that “tweet tweet” and lead to sleep, sleep.

This post is part of the Moms’ 30 minute blog challenge over at SteadyMom.

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