Another shouting code breach to report. I was trying to teach Jenna to play snap, unwisely and adultly insisting that she play the "proper" way in spite of everything I know about how children learn (and fail!). Stupid, stupid, stupid. I got more and more stressed out until I just put the cards away, making her feel like I was punishing her and she was too young to be capable of the seemingly simple task. The problem is, she isn't ready to take turns like that, to be rigidly set to one kind of game. She wanted to pretend that she could already play the game, she wanted to be capable and right and not corrected and hassled.
All this, with hind-sight. Anyhow, after the usual apology and giving her the damn cards to use how she WANTS to use them (why did it even matter in the first place?) I have a new plan. I am going to notice sooner when she is getting stressed and when we are approaching showdown. That is the plan, in its entirety. That's all it really takes, to turn a conflict into a chance to be the parent I want to be - just to NOTICE.
We went to the gym again today, so that the girls could both swim with my mum and for Jenna's dance class. As I went to take her into the children's area for her group to meet up, I took Morgan out of the sling and let her sit on the floor to watch Jenna go in. A little boy said to me, "That baby can't come in here, she goes in the creche." I said, "She's coming with me, we're going to go and play together in the cafe." He said, "She can't - she has to go in the creche." I said, "She hasn't EVER been in a creche. She has me to watch her." He turned to the group leader as I left, and I heard, "Why doesn't the baby go in the creche? Is it poorly?"
From here in my usual chair I can see Mary and Joseph kissing on my mantlepiece. I wonder if Jenna put them like that; no, I know Jenna put them like that. Family life is full of these tiny events. Meaningless little moments that weave our hours and days into a rich tapestry of colour and light.