Monday, November 14, 2011

aaaand onto the next thing

Things are changing around here. Clark decided he was missing too much possibly exciting activity when he was napping, and though he loved his naps greatly, he has given them up. We are in transition, that amorphous space between this routine and that one, and in fact we don't know yet what shape that one is going to take. That's okay; working on it, waiting patiently.

By patiently I mean I've pretty much given up cooking and doing laundry in order to spend all my time with or near the kids. When they played outside today in the driveway I rearranged the garage, and when they moved to the back of our yard I abandoned my garage project and took up raking near them.

I am trying to establish the best routine for us. The key seems to be the balance of big activity to quiet, high energy to low, as well as the quantity of group time vs individual time. I'm hanging out near them in order to feel out when they need more, when they need less, and when we should go inside for story time before Clark swings a baseball bat at Frances because she won't stop mimicking him. I believe fully in my investment now and the benefits it will reap later. When Frances was first having quiet time, I committed myself to her for a couple of weeks, teaching her how to play quietly. Now she can do it - and in fact longs to do it - all by herself, and I'm completely free to cook dinner and facebook. I wonder how long I'll have to commit this time?

The kids don't have to be alone for individual time, they just have to be spending the time inward. Today, for example, while Clark was spinning on the driveway with his beanie kitty tied to a long piece of rainbow yarn, Frances was pushing her baby around the yard in the stroller, singing to her and showing her the dead flowers in the flowerbeds. The kids were within 15 feet of each other for ages, but didn't interact. The key with it is figuring out how to keep them in this alone play space for enough time to recharge, rather than turning from their own play to engage the other in who-can-say-the-funniest-poop-phrase, a favorite game around here.

Today as I worked near them, I was really on my game. Frances had moved from the dead flowers to the path through the brush at the back of our yard - we call it the enchanted forest - and found a tree branch where her baby could nap. When Clark was sufficiently dizzy he wandered to the back of the yard where he put his kitty in the now empty stroller. Frances got all bent out of shape about the stroller, so I suggested the baby would probably really like to sit in the sling, be close to her mama. Frances disappeared into the house for a long time; no idea what she was doing in there, but since she was having alone play I didn't care. When she came back she was carrying the baby in the sling and feeding her a bottle. At snack the baby sat in the doll highchair and I brought her own food on a tiny tea set plate. Frances informed me it was the baby's birthday, so we made cake out of graham crackers, peanut butter, and marshmallows, with cream cheese frosting. She had two candles and we lit them and sang. It was lovely.

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