Early childhood educators will tell you that with infants, building play and literacy into everyday moments is important. As a mother, I can also add that incorporating play into these moments is a lifesaver.
Throwback to 3.5 years ago and I had time to be much more intentional in my play with my daughter. I had the time to set up more provocations (and clean up after the resulting messes). But baby #2 (and any baby after that) teaches you to make do with what you have. It might not be perfect, but you go with it.
So today as Y (Now 7.5 months) chowed down on a peice of Avacado (Thank you Auntie G for the idea BTW!), I observed. I enjoy observing children, especially at play.
His hands were pretty gross by the time he was done . I knew we couldn’t make it to the bathroom without it getting everywhere so I filled up shallow a container of water. He loved it! He moved his fingers back and forth and was delighted at the way the water sounded, the way the cool water moved between his fingers and the little bubbles that motion made. I relished in his giggles (and the fact the water was turning murky because that meant less scrubbing at the sink).
I added a boat. He pushed it back and forth. I blew it away and he became wide eyed and kicked his legs the way he does when any kind of breeze hits his face.
I took the container away to discard the dirty water and finished getting him cleaned up but he started screaming and crying. He was not done.
So I gave it back, newly-filled, watching as he found the edge of the container. I knew what was coming. Maybe on any other day I would’ve taken it away, deciding I could not handle any more mess or clothing changes, but in that moment, I went with it.
This past year, I’ve been working on letting go. And not being ashamed of what my life has become.
This beautiful chaos is proof of a childhood where children play and love and learn. The raw emotions that often swirl around in our house like a tornado on fire, are helping all of us grow and become better versions of ourselves.
I realize that it’s not my job to keep my kids from falling down or having broken hearts, but instead to teach them how to get up and go on.
So basically,.. he dumped the entire container of water all over himself and the floor. Then he was ready to move on. I mopped up and got him changed. Honestly though, this was a lot easier because my four year old was napping- not sure how patient I would’ve been for this spontaneous play among her kajillion questions.
May we always remember that our children don’t need big elaborate opportunities for play- everyday moments can be just as wonderful and significant to their developing minds.