We've had a pretty quiet couple of days, out and about looking for small shelves for the kitchen (eventually, after exhausting all our second hand and charity options, discovering that my mum is getting rid of some that will be perfect!) and spending days on various parks. Lots of sun, a few showers, and lots more tired littles.Morgan drew this yesterday, I think the zigzag to the right is grass, the red above is sky, and the people are apparently "mummy", "my baby" and "Ro-ro". It has only been a few months since Morgan started regularly drawing representative images, and I love that her little figures (to borrow a Waldorf term) "dance and soar through space". :)We spent an afternoon on Chad park again, for which I forgot the camera, though highlights include Jenna scaling the teenager's climbing frame with ease, and mastering the highest set of monkey bars. When the schools let out we were joined by a crowd of uniformed children, and Jenna ran off with a pack of them to play under the trees. She was saying something about having a magic wand that turned people into animals, and she was being a cheetah, and off she went again.
Now that her play so rarely includes me, I expected to feel bereft. Instead I admire her from afar, and treasure whatever she does choose to share. It's hard to explain to someone who hasn't seen it, but I am both closer to her, and less involved in her day to day activity than I ever expected.
I was trying to explain why we don't like the Surestart parenting course they are running at the moment. The organiser of some play sessions we've been to was telling us how it is "basically what you guys already do". I was confused for a minute - what? Time out? Praise for "good behaviour"? But we don't do those things! She explained that we don't belittle, smack, or shout. (Um, that last one ought to be "don't shout much" or "don't shout in public" or perhaps "shout less and less as time goes on and we learn more self-control")... I think what she meant was that because we agree on the things that aren't helpful we must agree on what they should be replaced with. I settled for saying that it may be good to switch agressive control for emotional manipulation, but it may be better still to choose not to control and instead communicate and co-operate.
When something is going wrong and someone is going to be hurt, we are right there and we DO something about it, we don't NEED to shout or guilt (or praise when something is going right, because things going well are their own reward!). Validation is a tool for communication, not a tool for control. I suspect all of that is a paradigm shift too far, though. ;)
Anyway, yesterday we spent a fair bit of the day on another park with Naomi's lovely little wild things. EVERY TIME we have to remind Jenna that Ellie likes time to warm up, and that she needs space to get used to them again before she wants to play. I think she's slowly getting it, and it's so good for her to be around someone who doesn't just fall in line with how Jenna sees the world or wants things to go, whose very character challenges her to see people as individuals and respect those differences. :) It was a lovely day.Naomi is blooming (or should I say, in full bloom) and is just waiting for this baby to arrive! Every time I have a text, Jenna asks if the baby has come yet. ;)