Yesterday, I open my car door and there is a pile of poo in my seat. A fake pile of poo mind you, but somebody is playing a trick on me… I laugh and ask Brennyn and she immediately says Kaya did it. Kaya’s at school so I leave it at that until the end of the day. When I laugh again and tell Kaya “Good trick! You got me!” she has no clue what I am talking about. Giggle, giggle, snort, snort in the background, I learn it was Miss B all along. She’s been sneaky like that lately. Testing her limits.
Like the blinking light Daddy asked her to turn off so as not to waste the battery while playing in her play kitchen. She answers sweetly enough “Okay Daddy!” but 3 hours later I pass by the kitchen in the dark and there is a green glow coming from her oven. I open the door and find the light hiding under a cookie. Testing…
These are a couple of humorous scenarios but there are countless others of her lying under the guise of tricking. She’s also been putting up some pretty spectacular attitude with pouts and stubbornness and drama. Her manners have been atrocious and the whining is driving me nuts.
As Brennyn herself told Gammy “Mommy is frustrated to me.”
Most days I can laugh (because though challenging, she is usually comical in her approach!) I am able to guide and reiterate her lessons with patience and grace. But some days, oh some days she is right, and I am downright frustrated.
Sensing that today may be one of those days, along with packing her swim gear for her morning lesson, I also pack lunch and a picnic blanket for an adventure after. Because, in my experience, exploring tends to elicit fun and joy and exercise, all brilliant tools in combating frustration.
Though a misty rain hovers, we set off to the ocean anyways. Honestly, besides food, I am ill prepared. No gumboots, umbrella, buckets or shovels. True explorers are creative, adventurous sorts however and we not only make-do without, we thrive.
We jump logs and slide on slippery rocks. We leap over run-off streams as they work their way to the ocean, then throw sticks in to race to the finish line. We pick wild flowers and picnic and sneak peaks of the school kids finds.
These outings, they don’t produce miracles. There are tears on the fall and impatience while a little one nibbles her food in the rain. Back home Brennyn marches up the stairs and slams the door for a reason I can not recall and neither can she as she exits not long after with puppets and a show.
As darkness falls, long after the girls are tucked in, I run a bath desiring a peaceful read of my book. Instead I produce a shriek of terror when 4 itty bitty fingers crawl under the door just as I’m stepping into the bath. Yup, Brennyn, an hour after bedtime, laying on the other side of the door desiring I not get a peaceful read of my book…
But what these outings do accomplish, is space. Time spent outside, in nature, away from computers and stuff and lists of to-do’s allowing for soothing in breaths and cathartic exhales. The brain slows, it calms, it focuses on the here and now. Because when I am in the moment, all the past wrongs are not relevent.
When Brennyn throws a seaweed in my face, I see only her playful spirit and mischievous glee at making mommy squeal as she waits for her returned seaweed tickles. At home, a playful toss of a toy in my face had previously resulted in me lecturing that pushing items in people’s faces is RUDE. Here, in this moment, a space is created to see the excitement first and the awareness that she is not trying to annoy me, but simply exuberant in sharing her joy with me.
Today I am glad an inkling of awareness prompted me to head outside in the first place where I could play, be silly and appreciate my feisty little girl for the wonder that she is.