Monday, March 23, 2009

Perfect Moment Monday

Warning: this post involves me talking about my little girl. So skip it if you do not want to read about that kind of thing today. I completely understand.

Piccolina is 2 1/2. Yesterday Mr. Peeveme went to his office to get some work done so I had her all to myself. She's very much a Daddy's girl so I love my time alone with her. We don't do anything special. Just hang out and play as I try to get some housework done. I don't need a lot of things to do or even toys to keep her occupied. Soapy-water in a bowl and some spoons as I wash dishes will keep her happily occupied as does: a coloring book as I fold laundry, a clean sponge and some water as I clean the bathroom, her hands on the vacuum under mine as we vacuum, skootching around my wet kitchen floor on a towel to dry it after I have mopped. I realize our time together sounds more like child labor than play time.

As a career mom I only have the weekend to run my errands and get the house clean (I use that word loosely...I think I mean "livable"). As a grand finally to the day we take a walk around our neighborhood. We marvel at each flower, butterfly, dog, squirrel and bench. We say "hi" to our neighbors. Each night before bed we make a tent out of two chairs and a sheet and read books for at least 1/2 hour. We only have about 12 books but she sequels with delight as we squeeze into the tent and she selects the evening's readings.

Our paried-down lifestyle is a conscious choice. I made an effort not to buy a lot of things since before she was born. We make it a conscious effort not to "do" lots of things either. I want her to learn to be happy and content without all the flash and fluff. We have gone to the zoo once. Given how "deprived" she is I thought it was going to blow her mind. She liked it but seems just as happy "helping" Nonna make homemade pasta.

I took her to the ballet once. Again, she liked it and I will take her again but going to the park is just a thrilling to her.

We go to the homes of other children her age and I'm blown away by how many toys they have. It seems like every child her age (and much younger) is in pre-school. dance lessons, art lessons and various structured activities. For a moment I feel bad for she should have I should buy her more....we should do more.

In the past few months she has taken to doing something that absolutely makes me cry with joy. She does it a few times a day and the joyous effect it has on me never diminishes.

She often stops what she is doing and with a face contorted by too-big of a smile she exclaims, "Mamma, I'm so happy.", and gives me a big hug. And I know I'm doing something right.

She did this yesterday as I was folding laundry and she was coloring (with a pen on blank paper).

Just wait until I give her a paper towel and let her clean the baseboards!


Tomorrow I will post the resolution to my III-part series "Passive Aggressive Co-worker".


Lori said...

"I want her to learn to be happy and content without all the flash and fluff."

Love that. And I felt perfect, too, as I read about P's squeals of happiness.

What a good mama you are!

Chelle said...

You are an incredible mom. Good job... your other child will be every so luck also.

Anonymous said...

:) It's good that she learns this type of happiness early on in life... I'm 27 and I just learned it and so many of my peers still haven't... It's absolute bliss!

Pepper said...

She sounds like a little angel!

I don't think Americans do their kids any favors by buying all kinds of stuff. It teaches so many bad lessons and I think it also leads to shorter attention spans. Not too long ago I read this top ten list of the best toys of all time and they were all simple things like slinkies. Also on the list? A stick. With a little imagination a stick can be a magic wand, a sword, a writing instrument, a cane, a slingshot, you name it.

Peeveme said...

Pepper, that's so funny because one of our favorite games is playing with a tennis ball (which we found on one of our walks) and a stick.

Martha said...

This post brought tears to my eyes and touched my heart. What a beautiful little girl who is so lucky to have you as a Mom!! Your stepson also.
Visiting from Lori's blog, thanks for sharing.

Riley said...

You sound like such a great mom. I need to save this post and read it again if I'm ever lucky enough to become a mom, myself. I think your approach is so much better than many of my friends' whose homes are over run with toys and their children behave like ungrateful, spoiled brats (not all the time, but you know what I mean!)

areyoukiddingme said...

My daughter is also 2 1/2. We go to the zoo a lot - because it's free! But we don't have a lot of toys - I got her a bunch at Christmas, but she doesn't really play with much. She would rather be outside, wandering around, visiting the neighbors or going to the park. Her favorite toy, by far, is the diaper box. Simple is best...and much more fun.

April said...

It sounds like you are doing a FANTASTIC job! :-) She is happy and well taken-care of, that's all that matters!

Renovation Girl said...

Wonderful post! When Builder Boy was younger, we did very little. No classes, excursions, etc. Mostly because my work schedule was so erratic, we couldn't make plans, but also because kids, even preschoolers, are so socially over-extended. Toys...well, Builder Boy has a ton, but not nearly what his friends have. This is a tough lesson to teach. And regardless of what toys he does have, a cardboard box is his absolute favorite!!

Lorraine said...

Good for you if you don't get caught up in the hype of oodles of toys and lessons. Studies have even shown that kids don't really pick up skills (music, swimming, etc.) until they are at least 5.

2 1/2 is such a time of manipulatives - some bubbly water is a much better toy than any plastic thing with hair. And pasta dough! What a treat.

eden said...

Oh my goodness I loved that post! She sounds like a joy.

I have warned Max that some time this week I will be going through all of his "stuff" in his room .. he just has so much it's ridiculous. Your post has spurred me on!

sara said...

That is such a mindful and beautiful post. Too often I think we rely on other big clunky things to entertain our children instead of the simple things. She sounds like such a sweetheart!

Soapchick said...

I love your philosophy and we plan to doing the same with our children (when they come), however I have a feeling our parents will try to spoil them with stuff. I think you are doing a great job with Piccolina and she is going to thank you someday. Good job mom!

Kami said...

I agree 100% That's how I see LB growing up too and sometimes it is hard to resist the current pressure to enroll your kid in everything.

good for you!