Thursday, January 7, 2010

Splashin' Water Park

Emma is an amazing person. She has this gift for making something fun out of nothing. Popsicle sticks, paint and glue become a miniature of her own blue house. Yesterday a balloon and some pink party streamers became a volleyball tournament. She gets it from her dad. The vision to see what can be--just with a few items and a lot of imagination. Steve and I wonder all the time how this gift will work it's way into the woman she will become. I can't wait to find out.

Today it was a water park--complete with a concession stand, first aid supplies, and work shifts for each of the kids. They all fell in line. She can be quite bossy (who knows where that came from). But they all love to be a part of the magical places she creates.

All was going great--that is until Nate began acting like a boy. The girls cried, "Nate splashed me", "Stop Nate", "Mommy, Nate got water on my peanut butter and jelly", "Don't Nate", and on and on. Poor Nate. Really he can't help it. It was inevitable. He got kicked out of Splashin' Water Park.

I tried to explain to him that girls don't play like boys do. Of course he has heard this countless times but I am hoping that over a span of 18 years or so, it will one day make it into his brain. I am thinking that this will really save him a lot of counselling time one day when he gets married.

I am talking from experience, of course. And I am married to a guy who didn't have any sisters. He pokes fun, pushes my buttons, "splashes" me so to speak. All in fun, he says. He doesn't get it when I get mad.

Watching Nate today, I thought, "Wow, there it is. He just doesn't get it." What he thinks is funny, they think is annoying. When he is trying to play with them, they think he is trying to hurt them. They are speaking two different languages. The girls with their words, Nate with his hands (and any object near by).

I had to convince the girls to let Nate back in to Slashin' Water Park on a provisional basis. I told them to give him some slack. Emma laid the rules out for him. It bought him about fifteen more minutes. He tried.

I changed my tactic and said to the girls, "Boys don't play like girls do."

Maybe I'll get it into my brain too if I say it over and over enough.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


You can't make a three-year old be in a hurry.

I had this thought the other day as I pleaded and scooted and threatened Lucy into the car. I said ridiculous things like, "we have to be there in ten minutes," and "we can't be late, Lucy." Neither fazed her as she bent down to look at something in the grass and then pointed to an airplane overhead. My mind was set on the appointment I could not be late for. Hers was set on whatever happened to cross her path. A button in the grass, the book she found under the back seat of our Suburban, a piece of pretzel in her car seat--all she showed me with the enthusiasm of someone who'd just discovered a lost treasure. She laughed and squirmed as I tried to twist her into her seat--like it was some funny game we were both in on. I wasn't laughing.

Later, though, I had the thought. I can't make her be in a hurry. She is not thinking of time or appointments or late fees. She doesn't wonder what will happen next week, let alone a few hours from now. She is completely present in the moment. She can notice the button because her mind isn't occupied with a million other things. Me, on the other hand--it is like my mind is at least thirty minutes ahead of my body. I am thinking of the next thing and the next thing and on and on.

I was jealous.

I started wondering how many things I miss being in such a hurry through life and a bit annoyed with myself that I was trying to hurry her along with me. Had I lost the ability to appreciate the little details or was I just choosing to ignore them? I decided it was the latter.

And so, I have decided to slow down a bit and see the day through Lucy's eyes more often. You know, "stop and smell the roses" (sorry, I couldn't help it).

Who knows what treasures I might find.