The circus is loud
But loudest of all
Is the colorful barker
Nearly ten feet tall!
He stomps and he waves
With a megaphone shout.
His beckons unending
While cannons ring out!
His heart must be pounding
Like the breast of a bird.
Sparks of excitement
Turn out every word.
One wave of his cane,
Can quicken the pace.
“Come One and Come All!”
Lights up every face.
Neither elephant trumpets
Nor a clown raising riot,
Or thunderous clapping,
Can make him be quiet.
If he weren’t so crucial,
The crowds couldn’t know,
The marvels and magic
within that tent show.
How grand is his life
Many miles he’s won.
Dynamic booming barker
Who hollers just for fun.
Come to the Circus!
“Are we there yet?”
These are words that try parents’ souls.
Everything happens “in the moment” for kids. The “befores” and “afters” just don’t count.
Giving kids too many choices is dangerous but telling them something cool will happen is suicide.
“Can we do it now?”
“How ’bout now?”
“It’s now, now, can we do it?”
“You said soon. Is that now?”
“Now” is a beautiful place to live but it comes with baggage. You can’t hang on to it and planning for it is where joy and disappointment walk hand in hand.
Growing up isn’t a bad thing but there’s no way your relationship with TIME will not change. Once Christmas Eve becomes more exciting to you than Christmas Day, “you’ll be a man, my son.”
Adulthood isn’t without “nows”. Becoming enveloped in a good book, movie or interesting activity is that very place. Kids just spend more time there. Transitioning from that place can be a bit unsettling. That’s important to remember when kids put off responding immediately to your command. It takes a moment. I try to allow a pause before I feel defied and get angry. Just don’t let them push their luck too long. 😉
Have you heard about the “Marshmallow Test”?
If you haven’t, (KABAM!) now, you will. Like that? You are being informed “now”, and you’re reading a text written “before”. If you already know about the test, bear with me ’til the later “now” happens. Take heart, I could be asking you to wait until “after later”.
That’s “forever” in kid language!
So, psychologists believe they can predict a child’s likelihood of success by measuring her ability to delay immediate gratification in favor of a larger reward. Kids are offered one marshmallow and told they can enjoy it NOW or? … they can wait, which will result in a better reward of two.
The test is very telling but there’s no reason to believe your kid, who gobbled up the first offer, will be a loser. Those kids are the “tomorrow isn’t promised” crowd and there’s a value in being spontaneous. But it would be wise to use the test result as a signal to practice more gratification delays. Kids absolutely need practice with manners, virtuousness, and delayed gratification. Be advised, the “Are we there yet?” torture will be an inevitable by-product but well worth it.
If this Time theme was a bit too much to wrap your head around, this classic movie clip may help.
Evelyn and Raya
It’s been a long while since I spoke of Evelyn’s imaginary friends. Bella has been showing up from time to time but fairies, as you know, tend to make brief entrances.
There’s been a new friend lately. Her name is Raya and she is the same size as Evelyn.
Raya appeared at bath time a few months ago. Evelyn wanted her tiny Bella around but Bella’s size and delicate wings kept her out of rough and tumble play. Raya is the same size and age as Evelyn. She rides behind Evelyn on her tricycle and takes “tubbies”with her. Of course, Raya is the messy one and usually creates the splashes that go over the edge.
The names of Evelyn’s friends came from her. What, or who, inspired them is as mysterious as where they came from. Evelyn is posing (above) while hugging Raya.
There was one startling bit of news about Bella last week. Evelyn claims that she has lost her wings. Although she seems to have retained her 2” height, one ponders if she may be evolving in some way?
I’ll be following these three closely and add updates. 🙂
We held our first annual art show in August. The kids and I had a blast. Family members showed up and even purchased some pieces!
All kids are artists. The hard part is keeping them artists.
My personal love comes from my own artistic ability. It came to me gradually and through much effort. I simply set my heart on being an artist.
Paisley printed ladies with untamed hair pulled back with twine used to sit painting by rural roads when I was a kid. They looked so serenely happy. Their unfinished paintings were impressive even to a 9-year-old racing by with her nose pressed to the car window. So…I drew and I drew and I drew. At recess, in 5 th and 6 th grade, I walked around with a sketch pad. Finally, an adult, or two, told me they thought I had some talent.
That gave me wings!
With my day care friends, I take that experience to them before they even start reading. Not all of them have the same level of interest but, those who do, are given every opportunity to shine.
I clearly remembered my childhood frustration over doing things “right” and my own talent never soared until I cast THAT idea away. Artists are not afraid of mistakes because there aren’t any. The work is an experience not a project.
My kids are only given plain paper and assorted tools. Our attitude is “go for it!”
The very first year (age 18 months and on) produces muddy messes. If it doesn’t, the kids are being held back in their exploration. Then, amazing things start to happen. The painted paper has separation of colors…the page goes from a scribble in one corner to a filled page…the child names her painting eventually and then decides to make a specific image before she begins. Bam!
An artist is born. No piece of artwork leaves my house unsigned after that. It is owned by its creator.
The kids who spend their formative years playing with me, don’t ever for a minute plan to become artists, they know they ARE artists.
There are wonderful milestones that parents happily anticipate achieving. No more messy diapers, no more dripping sippy cups, no more highchair taking up valuable space, no more child safety locks and no more playpen. These things remain constant in a family day care home. They become part of the ordinary landscape, even gaining creative usefulness.
My playpen is an all purpose storage area including single forgotten socks and dog toys. The highchair lives on my porch. It has become a valuable spot to hang damp clothing and place plants in need of repotting. Each no longer in use for their intended purpose, have become the tapestry of my happy home. To the seasoned decorator, they are tacky and ill matched. I’ve noticed that day care providers are not the dinner party hostess type and it’s no wonder. I stopped seeing things through that kind of discriminating “eye” years ago.
Hand prints on mirrors are invisible unless I’m taking a photograph and notice them through the focused lens.
Stacks of drawings in the center of my kitchen table aren’t a nuisance unless I’m searching for a pen. Coat hooks are meant to hold multiple coats and bags aren’t they? Scatter rugs move like icebergs in my home. I know they aren’t ever stationed where they were first placed but never actually see them make a move.
Quick efficiency is treasured more than strict order in the family day care home. A play area can be transformed into a cozy den with a sweep and a tuck. At week’s end, we have a treasure hunt for toys, socks, and sippy cups that have gone missing. This event is looked forward to by the kids. (Warning: avoid serving milk in wandering sippy cups.)
Be advised. A bulletin board is essential but may come crashing down in the quiet of the night when loaded with more than 7 pounds of papers, which include the emergency numbers, class photos, old spelling words and triumphant tests, paintings by more than one child, as well as, the usual seasonal decorations, and grocery lists.
And last, but not least, imagine on retirement day the rewarding experience to be had when the toilet paper roll is not perpetually empty but filled with quality paper. The kind that requires only a few sheets for adults but would stop up a toilet like cement when used at “kid” proportions. Ah…now that’s a milestone to aim for!
Evelyn’s relationship with her imaginary fairy friend, Bella, hasn’t evolved as quickly as I had expected. Big sister, Katherine, had a cast of characters by this stage in her imaginary friend days. Bella seems to like working alone.
She’s ever present though. Evelyn has a loosely closed fist almost constantly. Once in awhile, I’ll ask her what is in her hand only to hear, “Oh Grandma, you know it’s Bella.”
Even when she doesn’t see me watching, Evelyn places Bella on the table in order to use both hands. Just last week, she was asked to play football on the sidelines of Katherine’s softball practice. As she raced by her mother with the football tucked under one arm, she hollered to her Mom, “Catch Mommy! Please hold Bella.” Then she waved her hand in the air tossing the fairy not the ball.
On one occasion, Evelyn held both fists in the air announcing that one held Bella, and the other, Baby Bella. She was Bella’s new ( even smaller!) baby sister. I haven’t heard from her, or “seen” her lately.
Out of the blue, when Bella gets into a high flying routine, Evelyn invites me to watch. Sometimes the fairy takes on a superhero role and becomes, Super Bella! It’s quite awe inspiring and I am reminded to clap for her, if I forget.
Yes, she is able to “leap tall buildings in a single bound” and, according to Evelyn, her goal is to save people from falling. I’m thinking she’s very effective. I haven’t seen a single person fall from the sky on Bella’s watch.
The “Bella Experience” has been so dramatically different from Katherine’s Zabby Eight. I have no idea what twists will happen next. You’ll certainly be kept in the loop.