caught in the middle

Quote of the day: "Mom, I'm going into hyperspeed!"

And the other one is slowing waaaaay down, as she curls up in one of the many slings I've been gifted this time around and just makes those fabulous baby oohs, while her mama is caught in the middle - between sleepy breathy oohs and hyperspeed, trying to keep up with the piles around me. Piles of laundry, piles of email, piles of diapers, piles of books he wants read, piles of baby smells to breathe in. And then there's those taxes and writing assignments to do. Oh and the floors need sweeping. And of course, the beautiful baby to snuggle up to.

Such is life. Our creative journey has always been this way. We're all working on our various projects at our various speeds.

So here's a few rules to keep us even as we are all caught in the middle of something:

1. Say yes to hyperspeed. It's often hard to stop midstream of any project, and say yes to "look at this" or "can you help me". Do it anyway. In the long run, you will all feel fulfilled.

2. Work side by side. It's easiest to look up from your own project, when you are in close proximity. Find a big table that fits everyone's needs. Or spread out on the floor together. Or take it outside to the porch, if weather allows. Our "work" is more alike than it is different and we succeed because of each other's collective energy towards our unique goals.

3. Get caught up in all the speeds. Love and appreciate all the speeds. Get involved in his fast-paced, always on-the-go, taking-life-by-the-horns world. Breathe in her slowing down. And know that they will likely change roles soon and being caught in the middle will mean something else entirely.


Valerie Willman said...

But how do you 'work' on your separate projects at the table when the child's 'work' often involves having you do it with him.

My son doesn't want to do much by himself ... I think he's allergic to it. It feels to me that he goes into a funk if I'm not constantly entertaining him. (And entertaining could also mean sitting next to him as he does a video game, chess on the computer, or minesweeper and watching it. Which bores me to tears.)

But my perception could be askew. He could simply want the interaction and when he doesn't get it, compromises with having me watch him do whatever he's doing.

Sad really.

"Mom, Could you please at least WATCH me play?"

Ginger Carlson, author said...

Great question! And I think I want write about it in its very own post. I think some kids are naturally more into working alone and some want/need more validation. I'm a believer that creating an environment where kids are given the tools they need to do what they need/want to do (which includes adult physical and emotional support) will lead to independence.

Also, showing genuine interest in what your kid is excited about is key to creating kids who feel like they are valued and then will become more confident in their own pursuits, but only if it is interest like "oh, you did x,y, or z. How did you get that to do that? That would be hard for me. " rather than the sort that is "Good job-ish" which doesn't give any specific information.

Zeal is a VERY independent learner, but he hasn't always been that way. It is just in the last several years that I can sit down at the sewing machine and he will sit at the table and do his own project (drawing, clay, legos, etc). For a long time, it would have been us doing a sewing project together. So I spent a lot of time evaluating what of my projects needed to be done at other times. I used to get up at 4 in the morning to write because I knew that I couldn't get as much done with him there. Now, I can do a bit more writing in his presence, although I only occasionally do.

Well, that's a start, and hopefully I'll get some time soon to make a post on the subject. :)