Recently in my post on James I mentioned that I watch my children “ALL THE TIME!” I want to revise this statement a bit. Besides the times that I enlist other folks to watch them for me there are those times when I let each of my children have some “alone” time. This began as the necessary nap time but for those who have outgrown sleeping there is still the necessity of a little break from the constant sensory overload that is a house of four small children.
What do the kids do with this time? Since mine are so little that they can’t yet read they listen to audiobooks, poetry or music and are given the chance to play without worrying about whose turn it is. Sometimes they color, build with blocks or read their picture books. I too need a creative retreat. A chance to read, draw or even sleep. Sometimes I’ll join one at a time to enjoy that precious opportunity to see my children as individuals. I’ve turned the 2 year old’s closet into a tent by taking off the doors and hanging a sheet over the front. Inside she reads her picture books and plays with little people who have a bad habit of repeatedly jumping off the top of the circus and needing to go to the doctor.
Here’s a little excerpt from Susan Wise Bauer’s “The Well-trained Mind” that I recently came across that describes a similar family ritual:
“Jessie scheduled an afternoon nap [read as break from homeschooling] for all three of her children up until the time they finished high school . . . Susan, following the same principles, had her preschoolers go from taking naps to a two-hour rest period, even though they stopped sleeping. The boys had toys, coloring books, other books, and tape recorders with good books on tape to listen to. If they got out of bed (except to go to the bathroom, of course), they lost a privilege (like the tape recorder).” (p.642)
If, like me, you get discouraged by browsing the blogs of super moms this is a plug for not being a super mom and embracing finitude by accepting the gift of a a break!