Saturday, May 27, 2006

Getting Back in the Game

As for the title: well, I decided that “interlude” must mean etymologically ” between the game”, so since my last post was about interludes… OK, you see, and if I’m wrong in my etymology, don’t tell me. It’s after midnight.

After I wrote my last post about learning interludes, I decided I could better discern what was really going on if I got off the computer. So I did, and I went and made lunch for the kids and then we all went outside. I kept my nose out of a book and tried hard to be in the moment, watching and being part of the following:

* Paddy and Aidan engaged in wheel physics — letting the stroller wheel (which is now called “Pwheel!” for some reason unknown to everyone but Aidan, the exclamation point stands for the excited squeak with which he says the name) race with the toy dump truck down the hill in front of our house. THEN they got a baseball and tried similar experiments starting from our neighbor’s steep driveway.

* Clare and Kieron playing a game, then doing a choreographed fight with their “swords”, and then having a discussion that got heated and ended in Clare sitting very thoughtfully on a rock and Kieron mumbling sadly to himself.(sigh– my role was to reflectively listen and to provide a background spectator to keep the discussion from getting too personal or wounding, but I think I started listening just a trifle too late).

* Liam and Sean passing the football back and forth and Sean asking me to critique his side arm something.

* Brendan coming out near the end to hang around with the other older ones and help Aidan chase Pwheel! down the hill.

Kevin walked with Sean, Clare and Aidan to the park hoping that our car would be ready to pick up, but M called to say he wouldn’t have it ready until tomorrow so they had to walk back after playing for a while.

I made spicy fries (TOO spicy) and fish sticks and rolls and grilled cheese sandwiches — how disgusting is that? and baby carrots. Then I made ice cream. I walked Aidan around in his purple stroller for a while.

In the evening, we said a decade of the Rosary and Kevin acted as a sort of DJ showing us video clips from You-Tube. He found this recently and is delighted with it. His range of interest is wide — he found a tribute to Brett Favre (when his father died a couple of years ago), an ad featuring Willy Mays cautioning kids to avoid blast caps back in the 60’s, several classic Marx Brothers clips, some Broadway musicals, a clip of Sinead O’Connor singing a haunting “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina”, and a novelty song perhaps better forgotten called Fish Heads. Altogether, a cultural pot-pourri all in itself.
Note to self: when I notice we are in a slump, it probably means that I am, or rather that I’m just starting to emerge from it enough to notice I am in it. So for future reference — this is what helped me get out of it this time, and I notice I go through the same cycle of collapse to back in action every time Aidan comes out of a hospitalization:

* Get off the computer (or stop lying around, or whatever). Do something practical and sensory-oriented, hands-on. Tidying, laundry or wiping kitchen appliances all work for this and ALWAYS need to be done around here anyway.
* Get involved with what the kids are doing, be attentive, be present.
* Strew. I didn’t even think of doing this until I noticed I was already doing it instinctively. I thought that was a good sign that my unconscious mind or heart is already working on the problem even before I notice it’s a problem. That day, I had already gotten out some toys from the closet, found the pieces of Aidan’s rescue vehicle puzzle because he was showing interest in it, brought out a box of books, and put the baby carrots on the counter and done some baking because I noticed my cooking was getting scattershot again (it does that when I’m not paying attention).

* Keep a log of what is going on and ideas of things to try for the future. Example of the second category: I wrote down that I’d like to ask Brendan to get out his digital camera occasionally and take some pictures. I can see lots of ways to approach this, it would be helpful to me plus I can find out if he is agreeable to the idea or has resistance to it. Either way I am finding out something about him and we have something to talk about together. It sounds coldblooded put this way but it’s just a long way to say that some ideas seem to “ring” with me — they seem to involve MY kids, the opportunities in OUR lives, while other ideas seem more canned and formal and I have to put them through a sort of filter in order to make them personal and alive. Remember, it’s after midnight and I’m not articulating this quite as well as I’d like to.
* Do something different, myself. That seems to help get out of the slump. When I was a child, I noticed that sometimes I had the best, most interesting ideas after I’d been bored for a little while, or sick. That boredom or malaise seemed to give me incentive to try to dig into something new once I got energy back. So now I can think of all sort of things I would like to pull out and try. Calligraphy; some math manipulatives for the little kids; some science experiment books that Kieron might like; some new food to try to cook or buy at the store.

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