Tuesday, August 19, 2014

how about's

Sometimes a day spent with three children of different ages and interests can be full of more juggling and challenges and doing what works best for the most people and bubbling waves of emotions than moments of joy and ease and overall contentment.  However some other days, the four of us, Jonathan away and traveling for work, can somehow -- without any real reason beyond well balanced blood sugar and sleep and a bit of a change of place, and perhaps with the help of the full moon -- have a day of blissful, easy, pure fun.  With little squabbling and much silliness and enjoyment of and care for each other.  With full-body involved giggling and how about's and negotiations that make no sense.  These days, I am reminded that these three beings are incredibly fun to be with.

Jonathan and I have been laughing together this summer about the negotiations that our kids are constantly verbalizing with each other.  They can be funny.  And exasperating.

Nicholas, can I have a drink from your water bottle?

Yes, but only if I can have a drink from it, too.  AND you have to wipe it off.  AND put it away.  AND Elliott needs to go get it.



The negotiations.  Sometimes I just want to shut them down.  Want to say: Just do it; stop controlling each other.

But then, I have a day when the negotiations are more about making things work between them.  Leveling the playing field between a long legged 13 year old and a sensitive seven year old.  Days when I feel as though negotiations are more about bringing us together and figuring out how all of us can enjoy ourselves rather than how to get what each person wants.

How about we swing sideways without hitting each other?

How about I am not the one in the middle?

How about we pretend that we are the first people to come to this place and discover the lake below?

How about I am wearing a silly hat?

These are days when they all realize that for it to be fun, there needs to be goofiness.

How about we race. But on land.  Wearing flippers.

Elliott, do you want to race?  

Yes but only if you keep the flippers on and I get to do my four legged move.

And everyone needs to be challenged just a bit but it can't feel impossible.  For everyone to have fun.  When some run in flippers on land and some scramble like a loping four legged creature.  To keep everyone happy.

How about once you get three steps ahead of me I can stand up and run?

And then devolve back into a creature again. 

With a bit of a sprint at the end.

How about there is an award for being the last one standing?

It can be exhausting.

OK.  So now how about we race in the water.  In flippers.  But not Elliott.  He gets to run barefoot.

A day when falls and flipper loss are funny.  Not unfair.  

When lost flippers make us giggle.  And then break into Random Ballet moves.  For dramatic effect, of course.

How about this time we race in the water, but without any flippers.  And try to run as fast as we can?

And now how about we race by creeping in the shallow water.  But Elliott gets to use a floatie.

So it's fair.

It can be noisy.

And those desiring quiet may take cover.

These happily negotiated days.  They come more often at the end of summer.  When we are in our groove of togetherness.  When we can think of each other's perspective without needing to be reminded.  And can let things roll off our backs a little bit more.  And fall into bed each night exhausted and happy, laughing with each other and making plans for the next day.

How about we do that again tomorrow, but this time we do it on kayaks?

Or with a dog?

How about I just find another place to be for a bit...

...so you three can work this out?

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