Last week we stayed home. It was NICE. After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we all have enjoyed slower, cozier days at home. Before the snow came- YEAH!!! (not sarcastic at all, I love it), we did make it out to the library down the street to return some books and pick out a few new ones, and the weather was a smidgen on the warm-er side, low 50's, so we did manage to squeeze in a couple park days, even though the snow has not yet melted and it is messy, messy, messy out there at the playgrounds. They don't seem to care, and I LOVE them to get fresh air and they are in heaven outdoors too.
I didn't venture out past a few miles radius, and it felt great actually. Not a definite "resolution," but something that came up the other night between husband and I when we were readying for bed. I said something about how sweet and adorable Remy was and how I wished I could sleep next to her, husband said, "Well, why don't you one time?! She is YOUR kid after all. You can do what you want." And I answered back, shockingly, "Really?! I could?! I guess you're right..." I chuckled. This sounds like it came out with sarcasm, but I was really surprised at myself, that I hadn't thought to by now! I am a stickler for bed time routine, and we have NEVER adopted co-sleeping methods with either child, and I don't intend to, just our choice. It was bassinet until they grew out of it, a couple of weeks, to crib, to big girl bed, and only on a COUPLE of occasions can I remember them in my bed. In the morning I snuggle Remy while she drinks milk, and before I completely wake, but I am terrified, and pretty adamant that I will not lose MY BED space. So, yes, hard for me to imagine sleeping all night with her, but MAYBE, MAYBE, I might try for an hour or so sometime when hubby is out of town or something before she is grown...
So, on the notion of doing NOTHING, it really is DOING EVERYTHING. I consciously try to be present with my children most of the day, most days, but I haven't been the best about, playing WITH them. I think part of the reason why children are so dependent on media and technology is because it entertains them, rather than them having to learn how to entertain on their own. We played when we were young, or at least I did, for hours and hours!!! I watched cartoons, rarely, but its because I would RATHER play dolls, school, house, Barbies, Ponies, Troll dolls, "marriage," "army," (That was when MASH re-runs were heavy at night in our house and my brothers were into army guys.) I want to hopefully raise my daughters with a balance of both interactive and imaginary play, as well as media interaction.
Technology isn't slowing and I want them to understand it and be able to use it for their own good in sensible and safe ways, but I also want them to pretend and make believe, get those creative juices flowing. How do we do that? I don't have the foggiest, but I am going to start by interacting, and acting out play WITH them myself. I do a fair amount of it, but I never think it's enough. My mom is THE BEST at this! She is so fun and playful with them! I notice when I pretend something or show her something in a creative way,she lights up and engages with the same toy in her own new way, or she interjects with her own opinions and ideas and takes over from there. Like rolling the washcloths like snakes for her in the tub one night. It's that CRUCIAL, initial phase of showing them what play IS. So this week we played. We also watched a couple Disney movies my momma let us borrow. Snow day perfection.
She is still too young for animation videos and loses interest and walks away and wants to play- whew! She's TWO! She asked if Little Mermaid was over after 20 minutes, however we did make it through Lion King! When you're at home, at least we can pause for potty breaks, and if she gets bored she plays and then comes back when a song or something peaks her interest. I think Lion King left a little impression on her because she nuzzled my face like a lion when I was getting her ready for her nap- ADORABLE.
So, WOW, yeah, these girls are MINE! I can parent them how I want. WHAT?!?!?! I knew I was their mother, but I AM THEIR MOTHER! I can sleep next to them one night if I want, we can eat popcorn for breakfast if we want, and have at times, I can get down on the carpet with them and play Critters and make silly voices and pretend I work at a store with them. I guess it just hit me in a new way that I hadn't realized before that I am the parent. With that, loads of responsibility, power, love, commitment, adjustment, and learning... I liken it to me getting my doctorate actually. It's like I am doing a thesis, but the tests keep coming, and the homework never ends, and who the hell knows if I'll actually see that piece of paper after all my money is gone. Parenting. HARD.
So I am trying to tap into WHAT PARENTING can I do for THEM, actively, daily. I was just watching a bit of a PBS documentary special the other night, "The Raising of America, Early Childhood and the Future of Our Nation." AMAZING. I want to watch the entire thing. It was alarming, scary, stressful to see, just as much as it was inspiring. One takeaway, the BEST investment you will ever make, time with your children in those early years. I am blessed. I am blessed. I am blessed. So, SO thankful we are able to have a situation where one of us is able to stay with the children. So, if that person is me, I better be doing me damnedest, BEST, most thoughtful and intentional job.
Do I want to be more active physically with her? We dance a lot, sure, but why not EVERY DAY? She loves her paints, so why don't we roll out of bed and hit the easel up while I make breakfast? Because it's too messy? This time we have, these days we share, when we don't have to BE ANYWHERE but together and sharing and discovering, it is priceless. I can't tell you how many times I have heard it from older parents while out and about as they see me with the girls. "Enjoy this time," they say. "It goes so fast." "Those days were the best days of my life, when I stayed home with my kids." I feel a little proud that I GET it, now. I GET IT and I am living it NOW. It's mind blowing and exciting and again, scary. There's a lot riding on your shoulders as a parent. The accountability is all on you. Not the "village."
Anyway, parenting can get heavy. Ironic how the idea of PLAY can conjure up such deep issues.
Here's a few pictures I took the other day at the library. No, I don't typically snap pics at the library, BUT I am practicing on my new camera! I am excited for my first real class next Saturday! How adorable is Arlo's blue scarf?! That was a Christmas gift from Remy- something she picked out at the Belly Bliss Secret Santa Workshop! We ALL loved opening that up Christmas morning! And it stays on!
Feel free to chime in on the discussion in the comments, and as always, thanks for reading!