Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day 56: Stairway to Heaven

I will choose to find a positive perspective under even the most negative circumstances.
I will choose acceptance over resistance.
I will choose to focus on the things I value about my children, not the things that drive me nuts.
I will choose to extend the same grace, love and forgiveness to myself that I try to lavish on my husband and children each day.

Jackson is always getting into things. Most of the time, things I'd rather keep in their place. Sometimes things that are readily broken. Other times things that could easily maim him. In any case, he'd much rather explore "real" things than play with toys - even open-ended toys that leave room for imaginative play.

An empty wine bottle + Max's bathtub = More fun than any toy

When I heard loud banging sounds coming from the basement I assumed he was either working at his tool bench or wandering through his playroom with one of my old mops as he's been known to do.

But when I finally went down to tell him it was lunch time, I walked in to see him struggling to pull the long and heavy solid wood toddler bed rail through his tunnel.

My first thought was, where did he get that? Looking around the room to find a few pricey bottle of wine standing up on one of the counters answered that question. Nick had used it to keep the bottles from rolling down the counter (they have to be stored flat and we moved our wine refrigerator to his office. I guess the cool basement was the next best thing).

My second thought was naturally, maybe the playroom isn't such a great place to store expensive wine. Followed quickly by another bang and that doesn't look safe. So I decided it was time to intervene and the rail was put back in its place to be moved to a safer location another day.

Then came the explanation: "I was using my ladder to climb (Mommy's thinking: Aaahhhh! What else did you climb on and how dangerous was it?). I wanted to bring it into my tunnel to climb up there, but it got stuck."

I was glad Pooh Bear (aka Jackson) didn't bring his ladder (aka bed rail) over to the honey tree (aka flimsy wire shelving on the wall) to climb up and get the honey from the bees since this is something he fantasizes about all the time. Or maybe finished that project before I came down, in which case I'm thankful he didn't break a limb or crack his head open.

I was also glad that he was finding so much joy in something so ordinary. One simple non-toy had brought him to a place of sheer bliss and excitement.

Using the 'safe ladder' to make coffee
But as the safety police, it was my job to bring an end to the fun. I told him we would look for a safe ladder when he got up from his nap, remembering a step stool we keep in the attic. So to ease the sting of losing his new ladder, we had that adventure to look forward to.

Things out of place tend to get under my skin, especially when those things are dirty (old mops, mop buckets, toilet brushes *shudder*), tiny, (buttons, pennies, bobby pins...), or good ol' trash (vinegar jugs, yogurt containers, coconut milk cartons...). But these are the things that bring him the most pleasure and take him to a creative place.

I'm learning to relax a little and release myself from the desire to control his every move to make my life more convenient. And I'm trying to ban "you have toys to play with" from my mouth.

The world is his playground and everything in it is a toy for him. He's learning, exploring and developing curiosity, creativity, independence, and a healthy sense of adventure. I don't want to smother any of that by narrowing his world to things that can be labeled "toy." I want to respect his need for this kind of play as much or more than I respect my need for order.

So the question I'll ask myself before I decide that something isn't suitable to play with will be, "Is this safe?" rather than what is has been, "Does this annoy me?" This is an opportunity to practice unconditionality: I can feel good, even when things aren't in their place. I will stop seeing the thing and start seeing the play.


  1. What a perfect day for me to read this.... I was condensing the recycling and Parker found an empty case of beer. He immediately put the box on his head and said 'Buzz' (as in the famous around our house, Buzz Lightyear). Not the best (or classiest) thing to have him play with, but he was having so much fun so Ben cut out some eye holes and off soared Buzz to an adventure in the living room!

  2. Awwww, that sounds adorable. Hope you got pictures! About as classy as when Jackson puts underwear on his head at Victoria's Secret, I suppose :)