Monday, June 1, 2009

Play-Doh and more

Life, usually magical, is even more abundantly joyful in our new house. I love the swing set that Uncle David built, and I love being able to walk out of our kitchen to use it at any time. I love the flow of the outdoors around the house and how I feel safe in the neighborhood here and feel like being outside more. Especially with Grandma and Grandpa down the street and having grown up here, I feel like the neighborhood is almost an extension of our house---like we live in one big playground. I love keeping our Radio Flyer right off the kitchen, ready for adventure or a trip to the grandparents' house. I love making tea brewed in the sun and chilling it over ice. I love the blooming lavendar on my windowsill. The whole house makes me want to create and plant things and make things and nest.

This is an exciting time with Kate, too. We have more freedom together, and we can do everything together. There is space enough on the counter for her to sit safely and help me mix, pour, etc. Today we prepared white grape juice ice pops---we'll see if they are frozen by tomorrow. We love to fill up our hummingbird feeder together, and we have a lesson plan/art project ready for a couple of days from now. We went for a wagon ride around the whole neighborhood and collected fallen pine cones, which we are going to coat with peanut butter and birdseed and hang in our trees. I want to teach her everything, and this new home is a magical place to do it. I am very at peace in this new house (pics and before/after shots to come, I promise---just have to finish a few things in the master bedroom first).

After our wagon walk this morning, we played on the swings for awhile. We sang and sipped our ice water and iced tea. Our play structure has a bench/table area to sit at, and so we decided to explore the Play-Doh we bought from the store yesterday. Kate had never experienced Play-Doh before, and she was thrilled. I taught her how to roll balls and ropes. She loves anything round, and so balls were her favorite. She carried around her balls in one of her toy teacups all day. I made a ladybug, some hearts, a flower, and a bird. We let them dry all day, but I think they need a little more air time. Play-Doh has never been more fun!

Focused and pondering...

Rolling a ball...

Pointing to the Play-Doh

Katie with some of our creations

Katie spends time with her daddy after her evening bath while I finish my night routine. I was just about done when Kate came running into the room, grabbed my legs, stepped back, and said, "Moon!" Daddy followed and explained that Kate wanted to show me the moon from the guest room window. Apparently, she had found it and Bill didn't think she really had at first...but she kept pointing and trying to tell him, and indeed, there it was up in the sky. So she wanted to come show me the moon, too. I followed her right away, and there it was...glowing and beautiful. I love that my daughter searches for and embraces the moon in all its splendor----and moreso, I love that she wants to share this natural beauty.
We are trying so hard to de-emphasize things like television and to emphasize instead things that are real and even simple in function---but that require mental complexity and deep interaction. In fact, I hardly have the TV on at all when she is awake, which more and more often, is all day. We are seeing Kate more and more engage in solo play---she has figurines which she imbues with personalities and roles. She makes them talk, and she builds block (and candle----she loves candles) structures for them. Because she is phasing out napping altogether, this solo play allows me some time to make headway on dinner or to do a couple of personal things. I wasn't sure how I would feel without her two-hour napping block, but now that the time has come, I embrace it---dare I say, I even prefer it. I am not as worried about slowing things down mid-day, and I simply love having her do everything with me...every hour that she is awake is more time to interact with her. She is talking so much, and she is such a helper. When she sees me starting to cook, she will run in the kitchen and say, "Helping, helping!" I ask her who my best helper is, and she will always point to herself.