Friday, January 18, 2013

Monday Morning Magic

The rather intimidating before....actually, this is after the first session or two...
Before I begin to forget the wonder of this night just past, I am going to give it words.

One of the things about the way we live in partnership with our children is that there seems to be a never-ending stream of moments...moments of grace and growth and connection and beauty...but these moments are happening in the weaving of our lives, and, so often, other things are happening,and before I know it, the magic of the moment has slipped beyond my ability to capture even a little bit of it in words.

It all started in a way that would have enraged me, a few years ago. It was late, and the kids were being loud. Jim had just gone to sleep a little while before.

There was a time when this would have led to yelling and lectures and punishments meted out so that they would "learn their lesson".

Annalise, growing up in joyful color!
And when I went to tell them that they were too loud, even now, I was firm about it. Our children do not have bedtimes, but we all expect a certain amount of respect for sleeping people... since there are four of us, and we are often on four different natural schedules, that is a vital component to our home remaining a peaceful place to be.

But, as I was speaking, I was also thinking. I've noticed, over the last few months, that both children stay up far later when in the midst of a growth spurt...I think they are changing so fast, just now, that their minds and bodies can't settle until they simply must sleep.

The last two nights, when things got a little too loud, I suggested that they could go outside, if they were quiet, and burn off some energy in the yard. We had about a foot of snow, and Jim made a banked sledding run for them that took up a third of our sloping front yard.

Under the loft - Many Hooves Stable and the Many Hooves Vet.
Both nights, they went out quietly, and, when they came back inside, they had worn themselves into a quieter space - so often, rather that threats or punishment, a simple shift that acknowledges the kids' needs as valid can work wonders sweetly.

Tonight, though, it was windy and rainy, and the sledding run was nearly gone.

So I decided that I would do more cleaning in Annalise's room, because I've got a goal to help her create a haven that reflects the fact that she is blossoming, and growing, and not anymore the little girl who didn't mind how messy her space was. This girl of eight needs a sanctuary that will embrace all of her becoming.

I remember being eight, and sharing a room with a sister who bullied and commanded, and not having that sanctuary I so desperately needed, except in my own mind and in the stories I read or imagined.

What lies ahead...
So, I announced that I was going to clean a little, and, even though I was midway through The Trouble With Tribbles, I did just that. I got in under her loft, and moved an incipient avalanche of forgotten belongings, finally extricating her dollhouse (a three story, hand-made affair she received as a hand-me-down). Then, because there was still a LOT of stuff down there, and I want to get her room done by the end of the month (Miah's is next), I kept going.

The kids helped by running garbage out, bringing me bags for more, putting books and stuffed animals into their zones, and chatting with me.

When I had done all I could (all the way to the stable, which I will emancipate tomorrow), Lise went right to her dollhouse, introducing Lagoona the Monster High doll to the fine porcelain German family who generally inhabit it.

Our snowy backyard, from my bedroom window.
There was a time when I was livid about the "need" to clean their rooms, and, once I had done the "odious task", I begrudged them their play, because I knew messes would follow.

But this cleaning is different. This time, it's a gift. I will help them go through everything, if they want, so that they will know they want what they own, and so it will all have a home to be returned to - and, even after that's all done, I will be there to help them with clutter and rehoming a few times a week, until they don't need or want that from me.

Knowing this, I could just enjoy her rediscovery of a treasure she hasn't been able to use for a while, and so I sat on her floor, with Miah, and we all chatted about vaguely disturbing myths like Santa and the Easter Bunny, Christian appropriation of pagan symbols and holidays, eggs and rabbits as fertility symbols, January thaws, cold snaps, winter here in upstate NY vs. winter in Oregon's Willamette Valley, where Jim was raised and where we may one day live again, irrigation, television, and many other things, until Lise, who has become an adept reader, announced that she wanted to read The Birthday Pony to us.

Love these people; adore those glowy grins!
Both kids noticed how condescending this particular book was, and how the little girl in the story suffered a lot of upset on her birthday, thinking her favorite pony at the stable had been sold, only to learn that her parents had arranged a special ride for her, and we talked about how adults can make a show of things in a way that causes children pain, simply so that they can have the image they were expecting.

Then there were snuggles, and tickles, and the general silliness of three very tired people who aren't ready to give up each other's company, or these magical moments. More talk - the time travel paradox involved in going into the future to kill your future self, and whether that would be homicide, suicide, or both. How Miah could tell a precarious item on Lise's shelf wouldn't fall - "It's simple Coin Dozer physics."

And now that we have all moved on, settling in to ready ourselves for sleep, I want to remember this sweet time between 3 and 6 am on a Monday morning, so that I remember that our lives might not have been this way, and I would have never had something that is so vital to my own joy...

Annalise, at exactly eight-and-a-half!


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