Archive for June, 2010

This past week has been going on for years.

There has been a lot of screaming from LP and a lot of insomnia from me (I’m not sure if there is a direct relationship or if those are two things that just happen to be going on simultaneously). A fairly disastrous combination.  She is tired and wants me to do everything for her; I am tired and want her to please just go play for a while. She’s at the end of her rope and so am I. Our playful spirit has not been present as we retract to just plain coping, coping, coping.

I can see the factors that add up to this moment. The transition from being away to back home is always difficult for LP and we have a house guest for a week (a dear friend we haven’t seen who is lovely in just about every way and has spoiled us rotten with his cooking while we treat him to hours of screaming) which shakes things up. And a growth spurt. And a number of little things that have kept our regular routine from being that comfort that I’ve witnessed it be for LP.

So I’ve been battening down the hatches. Looking for ways to slow down our day, do less. So much less that I’m climbing the walls a bit. But it seems to be helping. Slowly. Very, very slowly.

This afternoon, I had a big feeling of dread.  I could see she was feeling tender and thought I needed to come up with something really great to offer to do when all I really wanted to work on a gardening project.  The side of our house has gone wild with grass and poppies and a huge thorny blackberry plant that produces no berries. Since we have so little gardening space, I want to reclaim it. I had been hesitating because I love the poppies; I find them such a cheerful flower.  So the current batch is past flowering and I realized it was the right moment to collect seeds from the pods and then plant poppies at will.

Since I really had no energy for anything else, I told LP that we were going to do a gardening project expecting it would probably last all of 10 minutes, at best. As it turned out, seed collecting was the perfect thing for us. We sat together on the path, picking and emptying pods. And talking. There was no screaming. Not a single one.  When she was ready to move on, she did. No fuss.  I sat and continued my seed collecting and then started pulling them out.  LP came and went, moving between her own play and being with me. For over an hour.

I needed that.

And by bathtime tonight, I had a little playful spirit back. Not 100% but good enough.

LP with last year's poppies

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

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We three are  adjusting back to life at home (complete with post-vacation/travel tantrums). It was a wonderful trip to visit Grandma and Auntie K and then travel together to Orcas Island to visit with family there too. Lots of delicious time to play and explore tidepools and meet animals (such a highlight for LP! Chickens and horses and alpacas! Crabs and limpets and barnacles!)

All that open play time, gave us lots of time for low-key improv. Something I love about vacation is the slower (and mostly un-plugged) pace which makes so much more room for “yes.”

One of the most special moments was at a rest stop of all places. After lunch, LP wanted to play so I started to teach her “Red light, Green light.”  She very quickly put her own spin on it AND enticed ImprovDad and Grandma into joining us.

This is one of those moments that I like to look at from an improv perspective.  It would be so easy to tell her that this game has “rules” and we have to follow them.  AND it is so much more joyful to follow her lead, to say “yes” and create a different version that springs from LP’s spontaneity. Something in the moment triggered her imagination and I certainly had more fun playing her version which has continued to evolve.  Currently “red light” means stop, “green light” means go, “orange light” means move in slow motion, “purple light” means hop like a bunny and “brown light” means run around flapping like a chicken. (Also there isn’t one caller in LP’s game…anyone can call out the color light and everyone moves.)

We followed up with ring-around-the-rosie…and I wish I had a photo of the four of us, holding hands, going around together in the sun.

Taking in that experience reminds me how delicious improvising with little people can be;  when a small thing captures their imagination, you get a lot of mileage (and delight) out of it!

LP explores Orcas Island.

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

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A surprise joy of traveling with a 3 year old is experiencing a world of inhibition in an environment (airport) that is very rule-bound. (Of course it has many challenges too…but that’s a different kind of post.)

Yesterday LP was a rooster so she was running through the airport, flapping her arms and crowing “cook-a-doodle-doo!” It was lovely and the best way to spend our hour of time before boarding. (Bonus was her being the right kind of tired to chill out for the whole 2 hour flight to Seattle.)

I love her lack of inhibition and readiness to take flight.

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

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