Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

…with salt dough

– making sure to bring ImprovaMama into the action-

and then with lots and lots of paint…

all to make ImprovDad a Happy New Year snake


We decided to make New Year’s Eve our present-centric holiday including homemade gifts. Somehow even though I knew LP wanted to make ImprovDad a snake for 2 weeks beforehand, I just couldn’t get it together to do the project until the day came.

It was a day of many messes. Actually about one mess too many for me to stay positive at the end.  Good to remember to start to find closure on projects before I am burned out on the cleaning up. This is one of my challenges for the New Year — finding better balance between the projects and the clean up. I love to let LP make messes to her heart’s content but the positive message I want to give her about exploring and creating sometimes gets undermined by my cranky-pantsness about the resulting clean up. I’ve been working on creating better outdoor space for explorations but in this rainy season, I need to problem solve the indoor play too. AND I want to give her more opportunities to help with the clean up and that means not being at the end of my rope when clean up time happens.

There were lots of spontaneous additions (to both the salt dough play and the paint play) after the goal-oriented part of crafting had been met (actually making a snake). During the paint session, LP transformed the paint jar into a snake home complete with many “snake snacks” (balls of painted newspaper).

On New Year’s Eve, the snake was still wet so ImprovDad just got a look.  This morning however, LP presented the present to ImprovDad with sweet seriousness…a pleasure to witness.


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Playtime for Parents!

I’ve been working on promoting my upcoming class. Marketing is not my strong suit (talk about bringing out my shy side) AND it has been great (and frustrating) to work on refining my pitch and getting more clear on how to tell folks what the class is about. Below is my current iteration…if you live in the CA Bay Area, come and play!


Feel busy and under pressure?

Do you get stuck for ideas when playing with your kids?

Bored with the repetition? Pressed for time?

Open up your imagination with Playtime for Parents!

Enhance your enjoyment of playing with your kids by discovering what makes you feel playful. Come and spend two afternoons with other parents exploring play through improvisation.  No previous experience necessary and shy people are welcome!

  • Learn tips and strategies for adjusting activities for different ages.
  • Practical hands-on ideas that you can use with your family.

Playing together builds strong families and gives children the chance to try new things and work through difficult feelings.  Parents need that chance too!

Dates: Sundays October 3rd & 10th

Time: 1-4pm

Location: Emeryville Senior Center

Cost: $80

Register at http://www.emeryville.org/activenet

Susan Snyder has been playing professionally for almost 15 years.  She is a drama therapist, an improvisor with the Un-Scripted Theater Company and a mom. This class grew out of her experience and a noticed need for parents to carve out some playtime for themselves, with positive benefits for everyone.  Susan writes about improvisation and parenting at http://www.improvamama.com.

This post is part of the Moms’ 30 Minute Blog Challenge over at Steady Mom!

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The sunflowers we planted in our butterfly garden are giving us a lovely surprise.  The package says to expect 3-4 foot plants and ours are growing beyond expectations.

I’m getting a lot of delight watching our sunflowers grow…especially since they are growing beyond the boundaries of our expectations and I like that as a metaphor. We, like the sunflower seeds, have all this potential for growth inside if we can find, make and/or create the conditions for it to happen.  Sometimes in the daily, weekly repetitive grind of parenting, I forget to see all the ways that I have grown.

Something I love about being an improvisor is that there is always room for growth.  There is always room to deepen storytelling, play more nuanced characters, develop new skills at an accent, learn a new genre – the list goes on and on.  I find that to be true as a parent too; there is so much room to develop patience, learn new approaches to supporting independence and skill-building, new ways to play together….yes, that list goes on and on as well. There is a challenge in both cases, to appreciate and enjoy the stage you are at, while working on the next new thing.  AND like those sunflowers growing taller than expected, I have experienced in both arenas, growth I did not predict or expect.

Those sunflower seeds have the inner code to grow and so do we.  Whatever our metaphoric water and sun and good soil is, it is good when we find it and can grow more than anyone, even ourselves expected.

LP has caught the “sunflower bug” too. When it is time to wash hands in the bathroom, she crouches on the stepstool until I act out watering and shining the sun on her and she grows tall enough to reach the sink. (Actually I quite look forward to her growing another inch or two so she can reach the faucet on her own….that or I need to find a taller stepstool for her.)

This post is part of the Moms’ 30 Minute Blog Challenge 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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Ah, the wail of the Little Person.

Recently if I ask her to get something from her room, she bursts in dramatic tears and wails, “It isn’t in my room! There’s NOTHING in my room!”

Where did this come from? I wasn’t expected that kind of reaction for a number of years yet.

For the most part I find it really hard not to laugh at this one. It is so over the top. Part of my reaction is to understand it as her wanting me to do it for her and I’m trying to give her many opportunities to do for herself these days.

Yet as I kept wondering about where that reaction came from, I stumbled on my own inner wailings about “nothing.” (or “NOTHING!”) I get it kiddo, I am familiar with feeling that I have “nothing.” As I struggle with editing and revising my novel, I come up against it all the time. Here’s this world I’ve created that needs a ton of work to get more fully out of my head and on the page and yet, I have NOTHING to write.

It is true. When I’m not inspired, I have nothing to write… or cook for dinner…or dream plan about in a quiet moment.

Now I know that inspiration isn’t just about some magical muse moment. In improv, inspiration is taking a deep breath, opening your eyes to take in what is present and allowing yourself to go with what comes next. Sometimes what comes next is magical and sometimes it is mundane. The important thing is embracing that something comes next and allowing that something to exist.

Yes, LP, sometimes it really does feel like there’s nothing. And that’s when we need someone outside ourselves to help us go look.

This post is part of the Moms’ 30 Minute Blog Challenge…written in 5 minute increments over 4 days.

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New Blog Home

Improv-a-mama has made the move to wordpress.  Welcome to my new home on the web.  Excuse the mess while we’re getting organized around here.

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Making memories…

Today on the bus with LP on my lap, an elderly woman said to me, “A woman can live to be about 80 years old or so and we only have our children for such a short time.”

We just had 2 more stops to go when she said this but in those few blocks she also shared that when “they go away from you, they do come back again”…and that “the best is being a grandparent.” (when she said “grandparent” her whole face lit up…I look forward to the grandparent experience someday!)

I find that thing everyone says about “it goes so fast” is completely true (in the big picture, I still find individual moments or minutes can take forever). LP is three and bounding forward in her knowledge and abilities every day. Whoosh!

It often crosses my mind the memories I am creating for LP; what I don’t often think about is the memories I am creating for me. Memories to stand out from the moments of tedium and times of tantrums.

So from our recent days, I hope that we will both remember:
• porcupine stew (crackers with butter and dried lentils)
• gardening in the rain
• walking with shaving cream “penguin feet”
• creating a costume out of pipe cleaners complete with tiara, earrings, glasses, necklace, dressing gown, belt with a ponytail and anklets
• sharing flower “ice cream cones”

And the one that’s just for my mind’s eye…the sweet sight of LP sleeping.

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

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