Saturday, November 24, 2018

Exhilarating, Exuberant, Exhausting

Here’s what I’ve done the past seven days:

Played the games Chutes and Ladders, Sorry, Pick-up Sticks, Uno, War, Boggle, done puzzles, played catch, kicked a soccer ball, wrestled, went to the playground, rode bikes, rode a paddleboat, played Skee ball, jumped on indoor trampolines, given toe rides, told jokes, chanted nursery rhymes, sang songs, told stories, played piano, gave a movement class, did kid yoga, played harmonica duets, had drum and xylophone jams, went to the Randall Museum, to the movies (Ralph Breaks the Internet and the Sing-a long Sound of Music), to the play Mary Poppins, the dance concert Velveteen Rabbit, out to eat in restaurants, watched videos (Lady and the Tramp, Bambi, The Incredible Journey), read stories, had playdates with grandkids of old friends, cooked, cleaned up, celebrated a birthday and Thanksgiving…

For starters. That’s life with the grandchildren. During nap and quiet time, I got to sneak away to my book project and write about how important it is to honor children’s exuberant and exhilarating expressive energy, but left out one thing. IT’S ALSO EXHAUSTING!!!!!

The last E doesn’t cancel the first two, it has mostly been wonderful. But with three added challenges:

• Kids out of the school/ day care routine, home all day long, are challenging. The balance of kid time and adult time tips way over to 24/7. And probably hard for them as well.

• Almost all of those days were indoors due to San Francisco’s hazardous air. And when that air was cleared, it was by rain. More indoor time.

• The act of civilizing children is a tall order. Kids who should be out running around chasing rats and floating things in creeks and climbing trees have to narrow their nature to fit good manners at meal times, quiet indoor voices and long hours of sitting more still than their bodies are made for.  Civilization is mostly an indoor culture. How much easier to let them go out and run wild!

So two more days before they return home and yes, I will miss them, but yes, I will cherish the silence in the house, the order of clean floors and surfaces, the chance to set my own schedule and follow my own rhythms. And then we’ll gather again in three weeks for Christmas in Hawaii!
To a rainy part of a rainy island. But if it’s warm enough, I’m sending them outside!!

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