Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Clark seems to think it's time to give up his nap. He's 3 and a half, and perhaps it is indeed time. I've looked forward to this on one hand because having to come home for a nap does tie us down; if there were no napping kids we could stay out and run errands or go play, whatever. But there's a snag, I'm finding - besides the general one, which is that the newly-not-napping kid is still tired as hell and hollering in exhausted frustration because his gum is the wrong flavor. The snag is how to do downtime.

Frances needs downtime. She would go and go and go all day if I let her, and then she would fall to pieces. I believe in, as Waldorf philosophy says, letting the day breathe. In breath, out breath. Outward activity, inward quiet. Then again. During Clark's nap she has developed some space for herself which works well; she quietly sings while she draws (the most common) or sets up a carnival in her room or dresses herself for her doll's tea party. It's amazing and wonderful to watch. When Clark wakes up she comes out of her inward time and they run off with hysterical laughter to play.

Clark knows nothing about downtime. Whenever they are both awake they are together, playing. Vigorously. I haven't figured out yet how to enforce some down time for both at once. I could send them each to their rooms to play, but right now there aren't any toys in Clark's room. (An easy thing to rectify.) Yesterday I had them lie with me on the bed and I read a thousand books until Clark actually fell asleep. Today I thought myself quite brilliant and turned on a CD story that is this minute working well while I write this blog post.

I'm feeling at a loss for what kind of activity he could do, as he usually doesn't play by himself. A few minutes ago the story ended and I gave him some lacing cards. Which he seemed interested in for about 40 seconds until he discovered he could hang onto the lace and throw the board and it would kind of glide like a frisbee. "Look Mama it's a surf board!"

Maybe I should get a table for his trains. I'm open to suggestions here! Maybe raw materials for building? Like rope and silks and boxes? Do I just need StarWars legos instead of plain??? Help!

(As I write this I'm realizing: I'm probably going to have to participate in his quiet time for a while. I did that with Frances. I drew with her, or did drawing games with her, until she enjoyed doing it on her own. (My favorite is when Frances and I take turns adding to a picture until it's a full scene.)  Clark doesn't like drawing and crafts, but I could come up with something to build and do it with him to get him going. The problem I was having was trying to come up with an activity that doesn't include me so I can get other things done during that time. But that thinking is backward. For a bit I'm going to have to give up my time in order to teach him how to have quiet time. Yes yes yes. Tomorrow I will begin.)

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