Saturday, April 01, 2006

Several exciting developments have occured this week.

Yesterday, our neighbor came with his crane and hefted our concrete front steps away- FOREVER!! I've been wanting to rid our house of those crooked, ugly ole steppers from day one, and now they are finally gone. It's nice to live next door to someone who owns expensive, effective, heavy machinery and has the skills to use it. You wouldn't think that living next door to the owner of a commercial concrete business would be so beneficial, but we've reaped the benefits many times... though i did have a few heart stopping moments when 1) the crane boom was mere inches from the power lines that run to the house 2) the aforementioned steps were hanging in the air, being transported toward the truck, often mere inches from windows and walls, which i envisioned caving in were a breeze to come along. But, neither occured. It took all of 15 minutes for them to disappear, easy peasey. Unfortunately, we were not well prepared enough to have grabbed a camera to document the procedure; i'll leave it up to all of your superior inner visioning skills.

Raelin became the proud owner of her own plunger. Bright, primary yellow handle perfectly sized for a toddler at 12 inches long, attached to an equally cheery red rubber plunger bulb (is that what you call it?). I wont' go into the back story of why she has this fascination for the plunger, but needless to say, she's seen it in action a bunch and well- i suppose from a toddler perspective, a tool that magically makes poop go down an otherwise clogged up potty is pretty exciting. We weren't so down with her dragging the working plunger around the house to unclog all of the backing up that apparently is happening wherever you look. So today Kevin came home from a hardware store run with her very own. Definitley a wisely spent 2.60. Talk about encouraging creative and imaginary reality play (does that make sense?)... won't see that in a Toys R Us! (nor a Waldorf store for that matter...)

Speaking of magic and toddlers' perspectives... I took Raelin to a free magic show today at the library. I've taken her to a few events before that required being part of an audience and they didn't go over well. Even if you don't have kids, you probably think it's fairly obvious that taking a 2 year old to a production of the Nutcracker seems a bit dicey but hey, it was Christmas and I"m a total sap. I can't wait until she's old enough to actually sit through something like that, and like it to boot.
Anyway... so the magic show was free and therefore i had nothing to lose but time trying to occupy ourselves around the house, and if we needed to leave, the library has a fabulous kid's room where we can easily free play for a good hour or so, and fat ducks across the street that love to feast on cheap bread. So, all in all, no reason not to go.
The room was packed with kids, some toddlers, but most were in the 5-9 year old set. I noticed a huge percentage of dads in the room, solo with their kids. Can you tell this was a Saturday event?
The magician was young, somewhere in the neighborhood of 25-30. Hip, approachable- none of the slime and cheese of the more well known magicians. He started the show with some music and then did about 10 minutes of continuous tricks. Good ones too and ended his intro producing a dove named Butter out of a scarf. That's just cool. And then Butter took off and flew over toward us, which was even cooler.

But after Butter was escorted back to her small abode in the corner, the magician started talking along with his tricks, and by this time Raelin had finished her cookie that had been keeping her quiet and still in my lap. She stood up next to me and attempted to watch the show with me whispering to her things like, "look- where did the ball go? Wow! did you see him pull that card out of the air?"

She was completely unimpressed because- i realized- that's pretty much her reality anyway. Taking a toddler to a magic show is like bringing Santa Claus to a simulated North Pole- no big deal. Objects appearing, disappearing and transforming with no apparent cause is Raelin's reality. Happens every day, and she has no basis for questioning the plausability of a such a thing.

With that understanding and the fact that she was declaring, 'this is hard!' (which is what i said to her about sitting in an audience for the Nutcracker. Apparently that part of the outing made an impression...) we left for the children's room.

I'm going to be sad when she loses that unconditional acceptance of all things... when skepticism and disbelief become part of the lens through which she views the world. I know it's inevitable, but it certainly dulls life a bit- for all of us. Which is why we make a conscious effort to support and affirm her playmates that we can't see...I don't correct her when she inserts herself as the main character of stories in which she was not a part of (either written stories or about people we know)...or makes up bizarre and impossible stories and situations of her own. I have not qualms about "lying" to her about Santa or the Easter Bunny or any of the other characters that yes, are commercialized parts of childhood, but are also such great vehicles for awe and imagination. I have no doubt that despite my efforts, another point of view will come to her attention- the view that questions and doubts. I'm happy to step back and leave that bit of teaching out of my job description as parent.


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