Friday, April 2, 2010

On Kindergarten Time

I am back from vacation. Well rested, centered and in touch with my inner goofy child. All because of 24 hours spent with two granddaughters. We started  this tradition last year, taking a train trip together for no other real reason than to be together. Yes, we are "together" when they visit at my house but being the task oriented maroon I am, (maroon is not mispelled, we just like to pronounce it that way. It makes us even more maroonic than normal) I have learned that going away is the best way for me, and those around me, to relax.

So the 8 yr old, the 5 yr old and the 50 yr old rode the rails from Pontiac to Springfield. My goal was to not have any goals other than get them there and back safely. So often, as in every day, my life is on a very strict, and usually self imposed time schedule. But that tires everyone out. Especially those nearest and dearest to me who have to always hear me say "Come on ! Lets go ! Times a wastin !" or other deep deep thoughts.

Thus, I tried hard to disconnect my internal clock and just enjoy what we were doing. Instead  always leading, I tried to  follow my girls lead instead. For instance, they of course wanted to eat at McDonalds. We walked 1/2  blocks from the hotel to McD's. It took 15 minutes. We saw a HUGE bull snake and we watched it slither across the road, into bushes and under a rock pile. Then we stood there a few more minutes waiting for it to return. It did not. We discussed its size, its color, the way it moved and how we all knew it was not a rattle snake. Then we walked on top of the curb trying to balance ourselves without falling off. The 8 year old was best, I was 3rd best which would be another word for the worst.

 We ordered food and then....we played with our food. Allana announced that the french fries were X's and the chicken McNuggets were O's and we played tic-tac-toe, but only for a minute because the girls then decided they wanted pepper on their fries and they wanted to have a contest on who could eat the most pepper. I started to say "you won't like that" and was ready to warn them "pepper will make you sneeze" like any child died from sneezing, but I managed to shut up and watch.

Nicole hated the pepper on fries. Allana LOVED IT SO MUCH YAYA IT MAKES ME HAPPY ! So I kept my mouth shut and watched her eat lots of fries with lots of pepper. When we got back to the hotel I put out a huge obnoxious makeup kit I had bought and said nothing. The idea came from my friend JM who did the same with her little ones recently. Immediately they wanted to play with it. They seemed quite surprised when I said YES. So they made up me ...Check out those lips...
 And then they did each other. Over and over. Again, the lips...
 My instinct was to lecture "Don't make a big mess" or "Be careful of your eyes" but again I watched. The most amazing thing happened. When one child would come close to the others eyes with a lethally loaded make-up brush, the other would close their eyes. How cool was that ? Sometimes I think we get so caught up in constant directing and teaching and warning that we fail to step back and observe what they have already learned.

Next to the hotel was a Cracker Barrel restaurant. I thought the rockers would be a great place for a photo so I forgot my goal to watch more and lecture less and told the girls "sit in a rocker together and I will take your picture."  Nicole said , and I quote, "how about we each sit in our own rocker so there is no fighting?"  Brilliant. Just brilliant. Later, when the girls would want to run ahead of me, because for no good reason that is why because (they talk that way sometimes and on this short trip I tried not to correct them because that gets annoying don't you know that is why because) I would walk real fast to keep up with them. Usually I would say "slow down" or "stay by me" instead, I walked fast, kept up with them to keep them safe from stuff like big bull snakes and got a little cardio workout at the same time.

The moral of the story is this.  They are little a very short time. Play more. Worry about pepper less.


  1. Thanks, I needed that!!


  2. STILL scrubbing make-up off their faces. But they had the time of their lives and could not love their YaYa any more.