My daughter is 3 and 1/2 and full of intense energy. She wakes up jabbering about what she will do during the day, asking me what I am doing, looking around for anything that has changed in the house while she slept. Yesterday, I had shifted a chair into a slightly different spot so I could do Yoga. The moment she woke up, she tilted her head and asked "Hey! Why is that chair there?" She notices everything! This also means that she remembers everything I say, and holds me to it. I have to be ultra careful with what I suggest or promise, because to her, it's set in stone and WILL definitely happen, post haste! I have grown to love this as it forces me to say what I mean, and act on what I have promised. Her full name means "truth", and we have discovered how appropriate this is to her discerning, inquisitive and detailed-oriented personality.
We have decided to help her funnel her intensity into creative play as much as we can. In many ways, she develops her own play and it naturally overflows from the changes in her age-appropriate development, ideas from friends, and the expansion of her fertile mind. But I make a point to carve out specific time each morning for adventurous, creative play.
From the beginning, my husband and I decided to have no more toys than would fit into a medium-sized Tupperware Tote. We have gone beyond that somewhat with larger items like Alley's small, wooden highchair for her doll, a rocking horse, and one of those bead maze things with loopy pieces that you slide the bead over. And beyond the toy box, we have a Costume box and a Puppet box.
I find the greatest costumes at the MCC thrift store in our town and Value Village in an adjoining town. So far, we have a monkey, lion, tiger, ladybug, princess, caterpiller, angel, fairy, hawaiian hoola girl (grass skirt and funky floral dress) , doctor bag, and various little scarves and purses and high-heeled shoes. I have so much fun watching her merge into character, and I play along. She often wants me to call her "dentist", or "ballerina", "doctor" for an hour or so as she glides around the house and listens to my elbow or stomach with the stethoscope. Actually, after a recent trip to the doctor, she now listens in all the right places.
We've gotten into the habit of going to the library once a week to pick out new books together. This week, I picked out one called Wishes for You by Tobi Tobias. It is a heartwarming reflection of a parent's hopes for her child. And beyond a deep yearning that my children know and love God above anyone and anything, these reflections hae become almost a prayer for me:
*I hope you will have moments when you're so happy, you'll feel the sun is shining from inside you.
*I hope you will have the strength and spirit to deal with bad things when they come your way.
*I hope you will be lucky.
*I hope you will always be curious.
*I hope you will never forget how to be silly.
* I hope you and I will have adventures together--just the two of us.
* I hope you will love to read.
* I hope you will learn to make things with your own hands.
* I hope you will want to make your body strong and quick and beautiful--and enjoy the way that feels.
*I hope you will love one special person more than anyone of anything in the whole world.
* I hope that, one day when you're grown up, you will have a child--different from you, but just as wonderful.
* I hope you will love being alone sometimes.
*I hope you will know what you think and feel and not let other people tell you.
* I hope you will be able to tell your favorite people the secrets of your heart.
* I hope you will always be part of a family.
* I hope you will always remember me and know how much I love you.
Sometimes after the kids are in bed, I tiptoe into their room and say over them the things I hope they will have and will experience in their lives. Remembering specific hopes like the ones above, gives me strength for each day I have as guardian of these precious large-souled children.