Topic of the week
The ability to adapt and generate creative options
rather than to obsess, worry and control.
This topic has come along at a perfect time! Particularly the part about "obsess, worry and control." I have always considered myself a flexible gal, creative and able to think quickly on my feet but I am here to report my three year old is showing me the ropes! As I have been caring for her this past weekend, I told you on Friday that she was sick, I realize all of my actions fall directly in the CONTROL category.
First, when she was really sick (102 fever, copious snot and sad glazed eyes) I wanted nothing more then to make her feel better. I HATED seeing her so miserable. I pulled out all the stops and even let her watch WAY MORE television then should ever be allowed, much of which she thankfully slept through. I started her beloved Shrek Movie (became a favorite when we traveled to my Mom's when it became our go to traveling distraction.) on three different occasions but she never made it through. She kept falling asleep and that made me feel like I was helping.
Later when she started to feel better and actually wanted to do stuff, too sick to leave the house but no more lethargy, this is where I really saw my inner control freak take over. I normally keep Sweets very busy with play dates and outings but when confined solely to the house for four days I really was starting to get a little nuts. Everything we did, paint, playdoh, puppet shows seemed to involve getting copious amounts of materials out and the entertainment factor lasted less then 10 minutes and left me with a huge mess. I didn't want to turn to the television but it was the only thing I could get her interested in that gave me a few minutes to myself.
My sweet hubby also caught the bug so a great deal of my control antics were designed to help him get some extra rest time as well. Weekends are called Dad days in our house and Dad usually has some great outings planned for us but because he wasn't feeling well all I had were the tired art supply bins and toys that just didn't hold our interest.
Finally, on the fourth day, my house and order be damned, I just let go... I lied out all sorts of things, books, playdoh, games and blocks, ignoring the already catastrophic mess, and let The Girl alone. Instead of trying to control the process "Let's paint on THIS paper." or "Put those things away before we do something else." I just let it all go. For more the three hours Sweets entirely entertained herself! I had the same huge mess as before but the entertainment factor was SO much higher. She piled an odd assortment of objects into shopping bags and the storage ottoman, she painted her body instead of paper and generally combined and used every art supply we had on hand. She was having a great time.
Daddy was resting, I was playing around with my blogging and everything was fine. The mess was terrifying but I had already trained my Girl to keep playdoh and paint in specific zones so the worst did not happen. Yes, she required a shower to get the paint out of her hair but she didn't paint the couch or even drip paint on the only rug in the house. The playdoh did get a little crusty because she forgot to put it back into containers before moving on and I'm sure several magic markers are still without their caps but the experiment was a grand success.
How many times have I tried to force The Girl into my idea of what play looks like just to control the outcome, to keep her busy for 15 minutes while I cook lunch or use art supplies ONLY for their intended use? Now I'm not advocating the complete chaos as a normal approach but once in a while I think it is a great idea. Once I got my obsessive controlling ways out of the way Sweets was free to explore and remained interested in her own stuff,
When I was a kid, I could disappear for hours to work on all sorts of projects and I'm hopeful that by getting out of her way I can give Sweets the same gift of fun, and discovery.
Today the game will be to see if we can find her room and the family room again but I am going to do my best not to control the process. (To update you on the status of everyone: I felt Sweets was well enough to go to school this morning but we will skip our usual Monday Park play date, I don't want to push her too hard. The runny nose is completely gone but she does still have a bit of a cough. Daddy is also feeling much better and is braving it for a half day of work.)
Next Post: A Grand Plan
My Thirteen Virtues of Great Parenting are:
Fun, Discipline, Creativity, Love, Wonder, Listening, Curiosity, Compassion,
Trust, Acceptance, Empowerment, Humility and Flexibility
This week is all about Flexibility. Next week 's topic is Fun.