The Blur of Childhood (Quality time, Enjoying the journey, Making each day count)

A good day for her. Set up a play date with her pal which she was aching to have. Plenty of quality time with her. Frisbee along with Papa, racing bikes around the tennis court, chasing, scrabble along with Nonna, silly walks and a Mickey Mouse video show we made. Could have been more patient when she was whining about her fear of her tooth being flossed by me, but we talked it out, snuggled and reviewed positives about her day as has become a habit. All in all a win. It’s one day at a time, but the weeks of her childhood still pass by too fast for my liking. Excited about helping her have a great tomorrow…

Kind and Fun (Love, Nurturing adults)

She came through my office on her way to take a shower, but I delayed her and turned it into five minutes of chasing, tackling, and laughing.

It occurred to me while we were playing that adding playful moments like this into our day adds color to her day – and color to mine, as well. It doesn’t take long.

Yesterday, besides all the quality time interaction, I did a spontaneous chase around the living room. Kids, as we all know, love to be chased. That added a splash of color to yesterday.

Recently I read a quote that suggested instead of looking to create a happy life, look to create happy moments. Just keep them coming. Be the generator of them.

I’ll challenge myself to do this even more in my parenting. I don’t care if people think it’s immature, I want my daughter to say, “My Dad is fun. He’s fun to be around and fun to grow up with.”

This stirs up something I else I read along these lines.

A boy whose father died fighting in Iraq. He actually never got to meet him. The reporter asked what he thought his Dad was like. “I think he was kind and fun.”

That’s what kids want; adults who are kind and fun. Heck, I think that’s what we all want. Playful moments here and there is a good start.

Honoring Her Spirit (Authentic self, Life clarity, Structure)

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After dinner, I mentioned to my Mom that my girl is not yet specific interest driven. She is more of a generalist. While some kids beg to take dance lessons or to be put in sports, she doesn’t beg for more of any particular interest.

Many things appeal to her and she is still a very young seven year-old in the sense that she is totally focused on playing from morning until night, not on achieving and certainly not on tasks. She has great difficulty in divorcing herself from this pulsing urge. “Just let me play!” her spirit exclaims all day. In short, just playing in whatever form grabs her in the moment is her main interest. I understand. At 44, I still feel the same way!

There are some activities she loves more than others, though. So, last night, I mentioned these and asked her to put them in order. Her favorite is playing with me. A bit surprised but touched, I said, “That’s really important to you, huh?” She said yes. “Ok, well we have to make sure to do that every day, then,” I replied. She was going to put Happiness on top and I agreed but then she insisted on it being second, tied with Playing with Friends. I guess her point is that a life without play time is no fun.

This list is very telling. She often gets notes home or critical remarks on her report card for the very things she loves – wanting to talk with friends, being silly, not being still and quiet in circle time due to her impulse to play and move in a dynamic, dancing sort of way. The Florida testing requirements, even in a school like she is in, requires her to be focused on math drills on a daily basis. Of course I want her to excel in math, but it’s a pity that silliness, yes silliness (self-expression), dance, playground time, art and building things aren’t more important in her curriculum.

It’s no fault of her dedicated teachers. They have many kids and standards to meet. She enjoys school for the most part, but if I was financially independent already her school would be oriented principally around her passion hierarchy. Knowing me and how strongly I feel about school serving childhood and not the other way around, I suspect I’ll be creating her own school, eventually, with others.

Regardless, for the short-term, this list helps me understand what honors her spirit, at this point in her life. I’m going to show it to her teachers. One tries to affect things from the inside out first.

Her Spirit Tells Her (Play, A child’s mind, way and language)

She is still very much grounded in the ways of a young child. Thank goodness. Tonight, she was getting in bed. I lifted the covers and, as she saw them rise, a twinkle in her eye shone. She dove under the sheet and then jumped as I raised it up and down for a bit. Never tires of that. However, I was exhausted. Thought she was, too, but then an opportunity to play was presented…

Me – “You’re just always ready to play, aren’t you?”

Her – “Yep.”

Me – “What does your spirit tell you?”

Her – “To play.”

Me – “Does it tell you anything else?”

Her – “To play all day.”

My spirit used to tell me that. Now, my spirit said, “Eat chocolate… all day.” I am trying to reprogram that to “Eat celery and kale.” It’s a slow process.