What do you do with a sick little guy on a dreary rainy day? After reading THIS post from the lovely Zina at Let’s Lasso The Moon, it struck me that I had never made a fort or pitched a tent (either outside or indoors) with R. In three and a half years, it had never even occurred to me! It has been raining (and raining and raining) here for days. Ordinarily we’d head outside, even in the rain, but with R feeling unwell, I figured today was perfect fort-builing conditions.
Such a small, simple word. Yet so powerful. We haven’t been using “yes” around here enough lately. Too often, when I have heard the words ”Mummy, can you play with me?” my response has been “I can’t right now honey” or “I will later, but right now I need to do the vacumming / ironing / get the dinner started / unstack the dishwasher….” The playtime does eventually happen, but always “later”, never “yes, right now”. Of course hubby and I both spend a lot of time with R(3), playing, reading, painting, discovering, but lately it has always been on our terms. We decide when all that fun time can be slotted in between work, cleaning, cooking and all the other million things that it takes to run a household. That’s life, and sometimes it has to be that way, but it had reached the point where R was never hearing “yes”, but always ”later”. So I am being mindful to slow down and to say yes more often, and today, we had a “yes” day. A day where the housework, errands, and emails could wait. An entire day of taking things at a child’s pace. No rushing, no schedules, no pre-planned activities, just ambling in whichever direction R’s imagination would take us and just being in the moment with him.
Yes, I will get down on the floor and play trains with you.
Yes, I will dress up in our superhero capes, fly around the living room and save the world with you.
Yes, I will snuggle with you on the couch and watch Toy Story, again, and yes I will sit there for the entire length of the movie, and I will not sneak a peek at my iPhone or turn on the lap top.
Yes, I will stand outside and watch the clouds with you, and yes, you’re right, they really do look like robots!
Yes, let’s sit together and make up silly stories.
Yes, I will sing “Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush” - for the eleventh time straight.
Yes, let’s chase each other around the house, pretending that the wooden spoons we are holding are lasers and you have just turned me purple.
Yes, you are more important to me than the basket of ironing, or the lap top, or the pile of mail that has been sittng on the counter since yesterday.
And do you know what happened? The ironing is still there, and it will still be there tomorrow. Exactly the same as it was today. It will keep. But R? Tomorrow he will be just that little bit different. It happens that fast at this age. Today I got to just be with him. Taking in every second of him. Hearing him. Hugging him. Giggling with him. Committing to memory as much as I could about who he is, right here, right now. He told me his favourite colour was black (go figure!). I heard him say “No more Mr Night Sky” when he meant “No more Mr Nice Guy”. He told me a story (“Once there was a man who was not afraid of frogs or chickens. Cluck, cluck, cluck. The End.”) And best of all, I got to see his eyes light up every time I said, “Yes”.
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Today was a day of mixed emotions for me. We sadly said goodbye to all of the thoroughly lovely, dedicated and downright incredible teachers, and dear sweet kiddies, at R’s(3) daycare centre. He has been attending this centre three days a week for just short of two years. For that entire time, he has been on the waiting list at another centre and two weeks ago, I received a call to say that a place had become available for him. (Yes, childcare here in Sydney is that scarce! You can wait up to two years or three years for a place sometimes. To enrol him in the Montessori school where I would really like him to attend would have meant enrolling him at conception. Sadly I hadn’t even heard of Montessori back then.) We are so excited about the new pre-school that he’ll be attending. We feel it will be a better centre for R for so many reasons, not the least of which is that it is located on a much larger premises, with an amazing outdoor play area, something I have always desired for him.
The difficulty is of course, the wonderful people that have become part of our life for the past two years. This is where R made his very first best friends, and being an only child these other children have been his “brothers” and “sisters”. The teachers have gone above and beyond every single day and the bond they share with R is unmistakable. R had delayed speech developement and went through speech therapy a year ago (you would never believe it now if you heard him speak. He will chat the ears off perfect strangers in the street and people are constantly saying to me “He’s a chatty one isn’t he?”). R’s teachers were right on board with us in assisting with his speech therapy and spent hours of one on one time with him, coaching him, making flashcards and even learning some sign language that he was using at the time to communicate. Every day R has been showered with kisses and cuddles from these beautiful, caring teachers, and when last year we lost my father to cancer, they showed so much concern and support for us. These are truly wonderful people and the very essence of what teaching is all about.
Thank you Michaela, Julie, Manu, Suzie and Demi.
Despite our sadness at saying goodbye, we are excited about the next chapter for R on his learning journey. We know families who have had two generations attend Rowan’s new kindy. They must be doing something right!
The lovely teachers at our current kindy did one last favour for us before we left. They helped me begin a tradition that will last for the rest of R’s school years. Last year, I came across this post from Lisa’s Workshop and thought it was such a wonderful concept. The idea is to buy a copy of “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss when your child is still young, then each year you ask your child’s teacher to write a message somewhere within the pages of the book. You then give the book to your child as a special memento when they graduate from high school. As soon as I read about this I knew I wanted to do it and I began with R’s pre-school teachers. I gave the book to them a week ago so that they had some time to think about about what they wanted write. It was so lovely to read all of their messages and I hope someday R will enjoy leafing through the pages as well. Something tells me though, that when he is seventeen years old and graduating from high school there will be a few things he will want more than an old Dr Suess book (like a new car perhaps!) but I do think someday he will appreciate this. If you think this is a great idea too, but your child is already part way through school, it is never too late to start this tradition. You could even contact teachers from previous years and ask them to write something now. What a wonderful keepsake and one made lovingly over many years with your dedication.
The other little things I created for R’s last day were these…
Spiderman cupcakes! I asked R earlier this week whether he would like me to make a cake for his last day at kindy. I was imagining something simple. A nice easy chocolate cake with some icing and maybe a few sprinkles. R, of course, had much greater plans and requested Spiderman cupcakes. These were so much fun to make. I’ll post a tutorial next week.
Happy weekend everyone!