Friday, July 30, 2010
But here's the biggest thing that happened since I started this blog. 91 days ago, when I decided I wanted to learn how to play with my kids, to be a stick in the mud no longer, and then I really started paying attention and playing, guess what happened? God must have heard the callings of my heart because this fall I'll have about 150 chances each week to play and become child-like again. I believe, as a direct result of my tuning in to my own kids, a new opportunity opened up for me. Many of you know I have a degree in illustration from SCAD and paint the covers of my novels. I have accepted a position with a local school to be an art teacher for next year! I'm even starting to act like an art teacher. I asked the lady at Target for all of her old shoe boxes (not sure what we're going to do with them yet, suggestions welcome), I recycled and washed the nylon top to a beach umbrella someone had thrown away (might paint and turn into giant color wheel!) and when asked to go to Nathalie Dupree's house this week for a luncheon in honor of a local poet, I accepted her challenge of dressing as a poem and came as Carl Sandburg's "Fog".
THE fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on
Just get creative. And take baby steps. And remember not to take yourself too seriously. Oh, and also remember to approach life playfully every day. As a very wise friend of mine once said, if you want to remain young at heart, surround yourself with children.
Amen, Irene. I will.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Had a busy day today, so I couldn't make time to go out to a playground until after dinner. The kids, I believe, were already "played out" what with gymnastics and hitting balls with Dad. I would have set off on a walk by myself, a little quiet, a little peace amongst nature, but because of my 91 playground commitment, I decided to bring a child along. Daughter wanted to go but had to do homework first. Son wanted to stay home. By the time Daughter was ready, Son wanted to go, too...both on scooters...both attempting to try my patience.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Yesterday rained, so today was Day 7 for playground-hopping. My son wanted to take me on a bike ride wherein he leads and I follow...wherever he goes. We got a nice ride in for about 20 minutes and then found our way to the Scramble in I'on. This playground was the inspiration for the one in my second novel, Trouble the Water, the one where Honor sits and watches the nannies and their kids, the place where she stands in the middle of an overgrown circle of bamboo.
There were no nannies and the circle of bamboo has all been cut back.
We climbed up (using a rope) into this playground contraption, sort of a boat with slides, etc. Easy peasy. Next, son went around back to the tall climbing wall. Again there's a rope. I had no qualms about this at all. Having mastered the climbing wall at BigToy playground last week, I wasn't afraid. At all. There's a slight problem with this. Apparently, sometimes fear is good.
You see, I was able to climb UP to the top no problem, very quickly, I might add. The problem was in the completion of said climb. There's a tall (4 or 5 feet, is that tall?) jump down to the flooring of the equipment, but I got one leg over the wall, clutched on for dear life, and could not pass. My son is coaching me, saying, "go back down", but I teetered and tottered--I couldn't go back down. I couldn't move. The hard wood was hurting in all sorts of places, inner thigh and more intimate ones, and I was S-T-U-C-K. My sunglasses began to fall. I mean this when I say I almost started crying. Can you believe that? How can they have this for kids? Ahem, well, my son had no trouble getting over, he just jumped. Perhaps he had no fear. Perhaps my fear is what stopped me at the top? Still pondering this. How could I be scared over a little climbing wall on a kids' playground? But I was. You betcha. The only way down was to continue to excruciating slide down the 5 foot fall. I know what pain is. I work hard to avoid it.
My inner thigh will be bruised and unforgiving for a while, but I made it. Thank the Lord.
Really, anything we did after that was a cakewalk. Toe taps and step ups on mushrooms, push ups on picnic table, even the tire swing did not make me queasy today. Real progress. My son ran an obstacle course in and out of the circle of bamboo and I followed. We did "Swing Jump Ups" where your hands are on the swing and you jump. Up. Son likes to jump a lot. After having two children, jumping is usually last on my love-to-do list, but I did them anyway. He's my coach.
A successful bike ride home and 45 minutes of very active time for Mommy and child. I loved it. To top it all off, Son said as we pulled into the garage, "This was your Mother's Day surprise." I told him it was perfect, and I hope we can do it again tomorrow...because these trysts leave me feeling very un-stuck.
Monday, May 3, 2010
After school today, I suggested we go to the playground over at the Mount Pleasant Rec soccer fields by Patriots Point. Some men were mowing the grounds and such, so we grabbed hands and ran along the outside to get to the playground. Running while holding hands is a cool thing to do.
Learned a couple things today:
1. My fear is subsiding. I still have fear for some things, but on the playground, I'm trying them all. The thing that separates the Old Me from the New Playing Me six days later? My level of fear. It's much lower. My confidence lets me go faster and play harder.
2. My son is an awesome personal trainer. Today, we played well together. He's already planning tomorrow's "exercises" for me. I am loving this.
This is one lucky mom. Getting stronger.
Okay, not only did we go to the closest neighborhood playground today, but we went to a party at Frankie's Fun Park, too. After the party at Doty Park yesterday, I'm thinking we might be overdoing it. Here are some general observations:
1. Mommy guilt might be a good thing. What I mean by this is, when you don't let your kids do what they want to all the time, you begin to feel guilty about it. It wears on you. So when you finally do let them do whatever it is they've been begging for, you have this sense of relief, of doing something great for them. You're so happy to see their little faces as they play on said playground.
2. Letting your kids go to the playground every day may spoil them. I'm not hip on spoiled kids. After days of letting my son do what he wants and picking which playgrounds to go to, etc., PLUS having two kid parties in two days, son is beginning to lose that initial deep appreciation he had for said playgrounds and is no longer listening to Mommy. Mommy feels no more guilt, and therefore, patience for said "unappreciation" is wearing thin.
However, I am still committed to this experiment. Here are some more observations:
1. Personally, I'm no longer daunted by the fact that there are strange twisty, twirly, tall, small, swingy, dingy things I can play on at these playgrounds. Bring it on! I'm not afraid anymore.
2. The soreness in my arms and back are no longer annoying, but proof that something is happening here physically.
We'll work out the kinks with the kids...somehow. Step one was letting them stay up a little late to watch Extreme Home Makeover so they could see the sweet family with adopted kids, amputee kids, nonetheless. These girls were radiant, the same age as mine, smiles as big as heaven, and didn't complain or whine about any difficulties their disabilities present them. Hubby and I gently pointed out the fact that we are blessed to have our legs and arms and be able to play. There's no room for whining when we don't get our way.
I paid attention to this last lesson, myself.
Oh, did I mention we went to another playground today? I jogged while the kids rode these Razor scooters to the CLOSEST playground, literally down the street. Just long enough to feel it in my lungs. We played on this twisty climby thing, I believe I called myself the QUEEN of the Twisty-climby Thing-a-ma-bob, and then got down. It wasn't hard. Maybe I'm getting stronger?
Next, the dreaded swings. I talked to myself the whole time, trying to tell my brain that it doesn't need to make my stomach feel queasy. It doesn't. I still got queasy, but brainwashed myself into thinking it was no big deal. I feel I'm getting closer... Asked both kids if I could push a scooter home. Both rejected said plea. I jogged home.
Sometimes it's exhausting having so much fun. At this point, Mommy wants to press cold cucumber slices on her eyes, lie down in a quiet room, and well, just be quiet.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Next we climbed up this spider web rope contraption. Pretty easy compared to the other. By this time, family and friends were looking at me like I was pretty strange. I came down and chilled a while.
Friday, April 30, 2010
We go to the new Memorial Waterfront park by the bridge. Love this place. Fifty cents to park for an hour. My brother calls right as I pull in the parking lot, and it's the kind of call that lasts an hour. I can't let it go, we don't catch each other often. I haven't talked with him in a while, so I let the kids play together without me.
Tomorrow we have a birthday party at yet another playground. I'll see what kind of play I can get into there!