Today was a day to go with the flow. I’m down to one client project, Butter has spent so long resisting nap that I just give up, and all the things I need to do are “wait until after bedtime” things. So I vowed to follow Butter and just be with him all day. No timing naps or tasks or emails. I don’t even pull out my phone for most of the day.
After we drop off Peanut at school, Butter asks to go see the construction site. Sure. It’s a block past the coffee I like and the cheese rolls we both like. So we grab a cuppa, a muffin, and a cheese roll and head to…oh, he wants to get down.
He then proceeds to walk all over the neighborhood, closely supervised, touching every single rock and leaf and dog and flower and bee. (Yes, bee; he has this uncanny ability to pick them up and have them walk all over his arm and blow them off and they never sting him. Weird.) We traveled every inch of a one block radius several times. We used the bathroom in CheeseBoard Pizza five times. We got water from CheeseBoard seven times. We watched construction for what might have been two million years. He dug in the dirt and put rocks in his cup and carried them ten feet and dumped them out and started over. All unmolested but safe and loved. Awesome sauce.
For three hours. For the record, I started getting a little twitchy at two and a half.
He finally asked to be held and fell instantly asleep on my back. And I knew I couldn’t take him out or he’d refuse a nap. So I took him home and edited with him asleep on my back.
And when he woke just as Peanut got out of school, I willingly followed them both as they giggled off toward home.
It took two hours to travel one mile. I let them do their thing except for safety and kindness issues. For the first 90 minutes. And then I found my limit.
Children, I cannot go slower than 1/3 mile an hour. I can’t do it. I know I hurried you along a bit toward the end, and kept saying, “I know their yard looks fun but we have to go home.” I was cold. And tired. And Type A. Yes, we can sort through all these rocks and choose our favorites and compare them and leave them for the homeowners who paid for them. Yes, we can crunch through leaves. Yes, we can throw them and laugh and play and rake them all back in a pile with a big stick to start all over again. But we have to get moving after 30 minutes because…because…well, because I guess I just don’t love you enough. I know play is important. I know unfettered and undirected and spontaneous is great. I know adult pace isn’t right for kids.
But I will stab myself in the eye if I ever again spend 5 hours moving at tiny scientist pace.
So. Lesson learned. Never, ever, ever, ever spend more than four hours doing what the children want. Ever. Ever.