Silliness & Structure
The other day my daughter and I were visiting with my grandmother and she said something to me that really struck a chord. We were several hours into our visit, my daughter was getting tired, and with her tiredness comes clumsiness and lots of “no” saying. Well, we have entered some of the “terrible two” behavior and began using timeouts when it comes to her doing something that could cause her bodily harm. So in those moments, she goes in time out and I explain what a "no-no" is. After her brief timeout, I walked back into the family room and my grandma commented about how fortunate I was to be able to have these teaching experiences with Caris. This got me thinking, was I truly taking advantage of the moments I have with my daughter? Was I incorporating the things my husband and I felt were most important to us?
God bless me, I love a good and detailed planner. I thrive on productivity and list making. So when it comes to my day to day with my daughter, I strive to keep it basic and yet intentional with how we spend our time. While I believe that a schedule works best with children, I also don't resign myself to a detailed schedule either. I aspire to integrate a little bit of "character" into our day: lots and lots of music, occasional crafts, and books galore (my girl has her own miniature library.)
The Empty Box Effect
It's got 6 sides, one of which is folded in, and it can come in many colors. This simple item, that finds itself empty at least once a week in my home, has the ability to entertain my child collectively for what seems like a few hours a day. There is something in its simplicity that just causes imagination to ignite. My daughter, it seems, is going to be a "Chatty Cathy" like me, and jabbers all day long, though some times not intelligible. Heavens, some of the things that could be interpreted from her jibber jabber. I like to imagine that she is has fashioned some kind of boat or home while gleefully playing.
Let me tell you, this little girl and I have some laughs. One of my ultimate goals throughout the day is to wear her out. I mean, I want her so tuckered out that by the time her head hits the pillow, with her large stuffed plush Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in hand, and a full belly, I want her to quickly drift off into dream land. This may seem like a lofty goal and I am in no way trying to toot my own horn, but I feel like we achieve this about 80% of the time. And just how might you ask? First, just a little bit of sunshine. I try to do at least one outdoor activity with her every day. Secondly, keeping her engaged with different activities throughout the day like art/coloring, reading (oh, we can shut a library down), and just plain, old fashioned play time.
Unexpected Boycotting of Midday Siestas
Life with a toddler can be tough and unpredictable, and seeing as I am someone who does not necessary fancy the unexpected, well it's a challenge for me emotionally. One of my biggest difficulties is expecting something then allocating that time for something else, all for it to never happen. I experience this during growth spurts, teething, and illness, the days when my daughter becomes immune to her midday nap. Like any parent, I have a predesignated list of things to check off the moments my child's eyes close, and when I am unable to complete these tasks I feel behind or unproductive. I am slowly learning to let this dream go, let myself off the hook, and play on.
God help me to treasure every single minute with this wild eyed, precocious little girl. My world-changer.