My boy: I know you wish that by now I’d be able to sleep on my own. I can mama. I can sleep on my own just fine but since you’ve always come when I’ve called you, doing it this way feels home to me. Thank you mama, I’m grateful you’ve run to me every time I’ve panicked when I sleep. I feel lucky you’ve had the time, the patience and the energy to rock me, nurse me, and sing to me even if you’ve felt like you’ve had none. I know you’ve found it hard, I’ve seen you get angry, frustrated and cry. I don’t understand the words ‘there’s nothing to worry about’, but they always make sense when you’re holding me tight. Hold on to me mama because one day I will fly. I can see the world. I see it and I want it. I’m not ready to let go off you yet mama, but one day I will. And I will because you held me.
Day 4. Task: Create a very simple exploration based on your observation of what he wants to know. Go slowly. Don’t fill their space with resources and activities. Explore together; respect his process, resist taking over. Allow the exploration to unfold at the child’s pace.
Well, THAT was challenging! I had to stay in today so I consciously decided to step back and observe my child play. What I found myself doing like ALL THE TIME was stopping myself from intervening and saying NO. I realized two important things: a) I’m more of a control freak than I thought, and b) Life is definitely less stressful when you put your (always urgent, always important) to-do list on the side. Luken wanted to paint, obviously not on paper. He wanted to climb, obviously not on the slide. He wanted to throw, obviously not balls. I didn’t let him throw cars at walls or whatever (boundaries are respectful I think) but when I paused and observed, I didn’t see naughtiness, I saw genuine question marks on his face. Perhaps he wants to see what it’s like to paint on different surfaces? Perhaps his body is ready for bigger obstacles to climb on? Perhaps he’s quite simply challenging himself? Isn’t that learning? Isn’t that growing? Don’t we adults also challenge ourselves? Unless we’ve lost all interest in life whatsoever which I have at times. Recently. Sleep. Deprived.
This process is ongoing. But my favourite bit of today was choosing not to tidy up and not letting my mind interfere in the fun. The boring stuff can almost always wait. But making memories can’t.
Day 3. Task: Think about how your child plays and make changes to their play area which will support this play.
This is what I noticed: 🤔
1. Luken’s 1st activity: climb on table. Happy Days.
2. He likes sorting things by colour and number.
3. He loves adult jobs, eg washing.
4. He can make the most out of a mess. 🌟
What I did: 🥊
1. Removed the huge coffee table we had and brought down his climbing blocks. I brought in a smaller table for him to paint/draw/eat etc.
2. Changed location of his building blocks, paint pots etc, so he can see them easily to sort them out.
3. Let him wash stuff that can’t break. He actually did a good job, especially with juice and milk cartons.
4. I accidentally dropped dry spaghetti on the floor, like all of it and he loved breaking each stick into little pieces and then putting them inside a glass bottle. Good to practise fine motor skills. AND I didn’t have to tidy up either! 🌟
What I learnt? 🤓 – Observe and listen. No point telling him off for climbing on the table, he was clearly telling me something: I like climbing! Climbing is a perfectly awesome skill.
– Screw the order of things. No point having toys perfectly tidy and perfectly hidden, they’re there to be used.
– A toddler is a person like you and me, not a little creature who doesn’t have a clue about life and therefore needs to be excluded from adult tasks.
– Get over the mess. Something good comes out of the bad. Always.
DAY 2: Cull Toys. “Task: sort through all your children’s toys; decide which one’s you are going to keep, donate and trash”. Although this wasn’t easy, my motivation was strong so I enjoyed it. Gathered so many toys I put into three big bags and off they went to charity. Previously I had been disappointed that Luken hadn’t shown the slightest interest in his kitchen. This afternoon, he played there for about 15 mins on his own making all sorts of drinks and getting everything wet and fun. Coincidence? I hope not.
DAY 1: Why do you want to make changes to the way you approach your child’s play?
Basically, I am a firm believer in play as being one of the most enriching ways to not only learn but enjoy life and rejoice in the gift of freedom. However, our current ‘play environment’ at home isn’t working. We recently moved house and a few weeks ago I posted a photo of my dream playroom, basically a yellow room (literally) with all sorts of colourful toys with easy access for my toddler to reach. But does he play with any of them? No. None. Only if I take one of them out and even then he only plays with it for a really short time. Apart from when we have play dates, my little man’s toys are nothing but cool decor in my eyes. But this really isn’t the reason why our ‘play environment’ isn’t working. It isn’t working because I can feel my little one itching to play differently. He either wants to climb, throw, or run and the way things are currently set up at home at the moment doesn’t allow for much of that to happen. He loves the garden, exploring the outdoors and visiting new places and although we do plenty of that, it’d be nice if he could also feel free to play at home (within safety and personal family boundaries of course). So there! That’s the answer to the question. Roll on Day 2!
#nurseryprep #readyfornursery #gettingreadyfornursery #emiliareggio #littlebarnowls #horsham #toddler #emiliareggioinspired #toddlerplay #aneverydaystory #attachmentparenting
What is this? Is that it? Is that THE end? Is this even supposed to be a kids’ movie? C’mon, Snowman comes back to life…surely…right? C’mon! (Internally shouting at the screen: ‘Get up, please!’).
HE. IS. NOT. GETTING. UP.
(Credits appear on screen).
Wow. That is actually it.
Oh-oh. Oh dear (noticing my kid’s shock on his face). Here we go….
‘I know, that was sad (dammit, that really WAS sad). I don’t know where Snowman went. He melted…(my boy stars crying). ‘Snowman back’, he says. ‘Hmm, I don’t know if he’ll come back. It doesn’t look like it’ (I start crying. Actually, I cry my eyes out).
‘Snowman gone, Snowman, back’ he sobs.
I cry, he cries, we both cry.
And to be honest, it was beautiful. I did think at one point, just lie to your poor kid, tell him the stupid Snowman will come back later, he’s just gone for a poo under the snow (because why not) or whatever. Issue solved. Just do it! Yet, a stronger feeling inside me invited me not to do that. It was scary (who enjoys seeing their kids in distress? A distress I could have prevented by watching that Mikey Mouse flick instead!). But I’m grateful I stayed true to what was real, to the truth, to the sadness we both felt.
I am grateful now of course, but for a while I felt tempted to hide the movie as each time my son spotted it, he started crying ‘Snowman gone, Snowman gone’. For a few weeks he would wake up from his sleep crying and pointing at the ceiling saying, ‘Snowman gone, Snowman gone’. And lo and behold the day I randomly started humming the tune! Inconsolable tears. No, I’m not kidding.
I stayed true to that feeling inside me though, and as time went by, my boy cried less and became more able to talk about it. I was then able to explain that maybe Snowman would come back next year, and that sometimes we see people we love only for short periods of time, like Abu (granny) who lives all the way in Mexico. I was able to also explain that sometimes some people never come back (…and I wanted to shoot myself as I was saying that…), to which he unsurprisingly asked: ‘Mama?’
I did actually went on to explain that one day I was going to die and that like the Snowman I was going to be gone but somehow always stay in his heart. He was ok with that, maybe because he had no clue what that meant, maybe because he was bored with the conversation, or maybe because it was true and he actually understood. Who knows.
Anyway. This whole experience was so unexpectedly enriching in so many levels mainly because I was able to allow it to happen. I’ve realized since then that the more I say ‘yes’ to the ‘unpleasant’ feelings (we all have our own pesky ones), the more those feelings become less unpleasant. It’s weirdly amazing.
I’m grateful I opened up in tears with my son (even though I was insecure as hell… ‘doesn’t my son need me to be strong?’, ‘I’m being so ridiculous right now’, ‘how old am I really?’). It was without a doubt uncomfortable, but the gift I got from it was huge: being less afraid and uncomfortable about opening up to whatever emotion pays me a visit. My son was totally ok expressing himself vividly; it was me and the web of spiraling thoughts in my head which were trying to interfere with what was there – true, present, raw, real, beautiful.
Me: Yup, I’m totally doing this. Start this blog. My inspiration? Inspiration is a rather positive word considering I feel crap right now, but whatever, the inspiration (cause) is my toddler who is currently ungraciously keeping me awake because he thinks the day has just started. Jet lag sucks but when you have to endure it with a cranky 2 year old? Ahhhh give me all the tequila now please! It really makes you wonder, was the holiday worth this torture?!
Here a pic of what’s in front of me having his 5th breakfast at 11 pm. It’s raisins and milk, sorry kid, not very inventive but it’s all I could deliver under the circumstances.
My Kid: Ok, I’ll smile and pretend I’m not annoyed you’ve taken the same photo 5 times already so you can Instagram your mood. But you know what mum, I’m also tired. Moreover, I don’t know what the heck is going on? You want me to be quiet on a plane (BUT WE ARE FLYING MUM!), then want me to PLEASE sleep on the plane without making a fuff (I don’t know what business class upgrade means, it’s still uncomfortable!), then expect me to be OK leaving the plane and wave it goodbye like it’s not a big deal (IT IS!), then want me to be awake when I want to sleep and now want me to sleep when I’m confused for being awake. Mum, do me a favour and give me a break. And a better breakfast. I know there’s cheese in that fridge!