Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pretend I'm Your Puppy

As I'm sitting in bed on this below-zero morning, drinking a cup of the glorious elixir of life, I'm reflecting on two things:

1) Ways to loosen up things at work so that I experience more joy and more flow. I have some ideas that aren't suitable for sharing here, but I'm excited about them.

2) What a typical play period with Nolie is like right now. It goes something like this, with her delivering a monologue along these lines:

Pretend that I'm your puppy.

Pretend that I'm your sad puppy.

Pretend that I'm your sad puppy who knows how to do cartwheels.

Pretend that you're the puppy's mommy.

Pretend that I'm the kitty.

Pretend that I'm the kitty who has jumped into a pan of bluing [Editor's note: we don't use "bluing" in our house, nor does anyone in this country anymore, I'm sure. This is a detail from an old book from my childhood called Peppermint. So it's hilarious to hear Nolie say this].

Pretend that I'm your kitty-baby and you're my mommy.

Pretend that you're the mommy and you save me from the coyote.

Pretend that there's a bear.

Pretend that there's a shark.

Pretend that I'm a kitty that loves to dance but there's a coyote who's coming to eat me and you're the mommy who has to save me and rock me to sleep.

Pretend that I'm your puppy [aaaaand...repeat!].

Time with Addie is different. Though she still likes the pretend games, she's much more interested in putting on dance performances, or in playing board games, or reading, or making art. Not much has changed there. But she has changed. A lot. She's very much a kid now, and her feelings are easily hurt. She wants to be treated with kindness and respect, like an adult. She hates being interrupted. She wants things carefully explained to her. Being misunderstood drives her absolutely ape-shit. She has very strong convictions.

I don't know. I don't mean to imply that all children shouldn't be treated with kindness and respect--they should. But the tenor of my interactions with Nolie--which is still very much about modeling behaviors and setting boundaries--is very different from that with Addie, which is more about patience and reciprocity.

The problem is, I mess these up sometimes, and forget, and treat Addie like a preschooler, or expect Nolie to act like a kindergartner, which is very upsetting for us all, or I get control-freaky and just throw my will around, which is good for nobody.

The busier pace of everyone being back at work and school only increases the likelihood of this happening, so it pays to be extra mindful. But I miss target a lot.
It's an interesting time to be a parent.

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