Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Seven Year Itch

I'm stuck in bed with a dislocated knee cap and my work laptop at the office.  After silly time-wasting moments on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, I can't avoid them anymore.

My thoughts.

For the past few weeks I had been facing things I didn't want to face.  To my very great embarrassment, I've become a cliché.  

I'm seven years in my marketing company and probably the last corporate citizen not on LinkedIn.  I hear people murmuring into their office phones "how did you get my number?" and I know that's not a booty call conversation.  I had stopped exploring almost entirely, and now have career-fomo.

I've been married seven years and facing the truth that love becomes a decision.  I was in denial that it would ever happen to me.  But by seven years you face challenges to change some rather bad marriage habits you've picked up along the way. 
And just when I've gotten into a balanced-groove with my daughter, she turns six and starts to change.  She is different as a six year old: she doesn't look for the play we used to do and she is less attached to me.   It's like she crossed a threshold and I miss her.
Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson
My smart head knows the right answers and the right changes to make.  My stubborn body, however, has to break inertia.  

Finding a balance is always a struggle with things shifting all the time.  I figure out how to be good at one thing, and another thing changes.  I've been living with my head down,  so focused on being good at my responsibilities that I haven't been aware of change happening around me.  

Suddenly I look up and my daughter is six, I'm the same pregnant weight, an old-timer at work, and my marriage has tipped the balance from loving effort to mutual toleration.  How in the world did that happen so fast?

At the ER yesterday, I just lost it.  The nurse had trouble with inserting my IV and I just let the pain overwhelm me and cried and cried.  It must've been an ugly cry -- the poor doctor on-duty gave me a Valium shot.  
Pain is God's way of moving us into the right path.  Things won't ever stay the same, no matter how much I try to cling to the way I figured things out before.   I've become so focused on where I am that I haven't looked at where I was going.   

So the formula keeps changing, after all.  And if you stop changing, it means you're dead.  
That's the cure to the cliché.


That's pretty wonderful, I think.  

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Monday, 3 November 2014

DIY Mini Whiteboards

There are little things that go a long way towards leaving behind a space that encourages a lot of hands-on play.  I love taking inspiration from Montessori in leaving behind thoughtful touches that help independent learning while I'm at the office.  

One of those little indispensable things in the playroom are hand-held DIY whiteboards repurposed from old picture frames:

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Leftover Playdough Recycling

I quickly learned not to get obsessive over mixed up or dried play dough at our house.  It's one of those inevitable things you give up control over if you want to stay a sane working mom.

Play dough is one of the toys I like to keep out in the open because there's so much open-ended play you can do with it now that her imagination has kicked in at preschool age.  See how we kept our play dough in a lock&lock case for play, like our popular sweet shop idea here
Nowadays her fingers are strong enough to pry open these wretched lids, and the possibilities are endless.  Which usually means a big blob of play dough is used regularly.  That's fine, I'd rather keep buying play dough than cheap plastic toys.
To recycle one more use out of dying play dough, we turn them into volcanoes:
The play dough is hiding a bottle with baking powder.  It bubbles over when vinegar is added (ours has red food colouring)
Or we mix them together to make a perfect surface to make stamped designs:
This one is a leave-behind phonics-learning tray, but for younger kids you can use this idea for artwork too. 

This is inspired by No Time For Flashcards
And those yellow containers make great sorters.  We've accumulated a small amount since we started:
I'm being sarcastic.  That's 52 cups!

So embrace the moment of creativity, squeeze one more use out of the lot, and then let go.
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