Again with the presumed double-page journal entry:
- “earnest pursuit of languor…world-class dawdler.” p. 85
- “Like any working stiff of a mother…” p. 85
- “…watching my darling idle dangerously” p. 86
- “A land mine exploded in the back of my conscience. My child was becoming all I’d ever wanted.” p. 87
- “I touched the ground in awe of her first solo steps, as if she alone among primates had devised bipedal locomotion.” p. 87
- “…show the way to wakefulness…in magnificent pantomime, I demonstrate…” p. 88
- “Children are adept at becoming what we expect them to be. “Terrible” does not seem, by any stretch, to be a wise expectation.” p. 89
- “the twos and teens–both involve a child’s formation of a sovereign identity.” p. 89
- “Boundaries, however carefully explained, can be reinterpreted creatively time and again.” p. 90
- “Childish enterprises, since they aren’t my job, are in a sense my time off, my vacation.” p. 93
- “…obedience is not an absolute value.” p. 97
Exploration (mostly a free-write)
My child can dawdle with the best of them. He is a professional. And while I can be plenty flighty when it comes to my interests and activities, as a widowed mom I have to schedule time to be flighty, while the rest of the time I’m going going going from one thing to the next, most often with him in tow. We’ve been working on our flow for four years now, so most days I’m well prepared to offer him alternatives when all he wants is to sit in the car with his pamphlet of toy trains, or methodically reorganize the matchbox car display in the toy isle. (Why any parent would visit the toy isle with a child in tow is still a mystery, yet I continue to do it myself.)
A lot of this essay pulled on my heart strings as a parent, especially as a single parent. I was drawn her statements because she sounded like she was speaking from much deeper experience than only having one child of her own. Most everything she writes about parenting is something I can relate to and agree with. Our cultural expectation of obedience and conformity is damaging to everyone, most of all the children.
If we are to value children, we must learn to play like them again. Teachers and class-aids in preschools come the closest to experiencing this kind of therapy every day where you break down your barriers of self consciousness and you play with the kids you’re with, bringing yourself back to the playful, stress-free mindset of a 4 year old. I try to regularly take vacations from my adult life and lose myself momentarily in the wild abandon of play my son so easily exemplifies for me day in and day out.
While he is teaching me how to access my inner child, I find myself hoping that I am teaching him to access his inner wisdom, the part of him that will help guide his actions when I am not around, as those times are increasing rapidly as he ages. Don’t talk to strangers but be nice to everyone so the world will be nice to you. Give all you have but don’t forget to preserve enough for yourself that you don’t burn out. Wash your hands after you go to the bathroom or you’ll get sick; don’t worry about dirt on the strawberry, it’ll build your immune system! It’s a wonder we reach adulthood on our feet, instead of rocking back and forth steadily in lunacy as the demands of each social situation can vary so greatly one day to the next.
She says on page 94 “For any parent who needs to hear it today, I offer this: whatever it is, you can live through it, and it ends.”