Last night I asked my Youngest Son (who has witnessed that-which-I-write-about) if it is me. Am I doing something wrong? Do you see something I don't see? I am speaking English ... aren't I?
Amazingly, his answer is that I need to be firmer. There is no respect. They simply don't care what I say. They literally and figuratively do what ever they want the moment I turn my back.
*** So much for me not writing about my Daycare Day ... (sorry) ***
I need a plan. I so need a plan. We need to get out of this rut. Not being outside is not helping us (this morning feels like -36 with the wind chill). My plan was to have the downstairs playroom up and running to get us through these frigid temperatures.
Our house is full-to-capacity and there is far too much stuff downstairs to make this a free reign, no rules kind of zone. So ... we did the next best thing. We (not so much we as he - my Youngest Son) utilized the gating system that I purchased to teach my new one-year-old boundaries (it sort of worked).
We went straight to work after our supper (once again thanks to My Youngest ... I was fully prepared to lose myself to chocolate bars and reruns of the Gilmore Girls). We came up with this:
It is not exactly what I hoped for. I really wanted the kids to have free reign to run, play, make noise with minimal 'rules'. Our gating system is more a boundary than a deterrent. One push and it would capsize. Boxes of toys have been covered with a sheet so that kids don't look at all-they-don't-have and want what is out of reach instead of what is readily accessible. There is a large pile of 'stuff' that belongs to my Middle Son which is tucked away but taking up valuable real estate. But at least it is ... different.
My Youngest Son has the patience of Job. He kept persevering even when I talked on the phone and motioned for him to go ahead and quit since I was not being of any assistance. He kept on going. Our gating system threatened not to work. If I had been working on this on my own, I would have walked away and come back to it another day. My Youngest assessed the problem and realized that we had a faulty panel. Something was bent and contorted in a way that made impossible to connect it to the wall. We exchanged panels (thankfully we had a spare one from the matching set upstairs) and voila! It worked.
I vacuumed. He puttered. We created a little haven that our cats were discovering with joy.
Senior Cat was like a dirty shirt. He was in and around and watching over us every step of the way. It was like he couldn't wait for us to finish so he could go and explore.
Junior Cat was wary. He saw a 'cage'. He has issues with being held against his will. He looked at our rickety gating system and I could almost hear him breathing faster and his heart rate going up. He walked straight into a corner and started acting like he was caged. All he had to do was back up and he was a free cat but he kept swiping at the netting as if to say "Let me out of here!!" He walked into the other corner and Senior Cat (who was perched atop a small end table assessing the situation) swiped at Junior in a playful "I'm the King of the Castle" sort of way.
Eventually both of them relaxed at the same time and simply started to explore. Senior was elated to find all of the hiding places and hidden 'tunnels' (he found his way under the piano bench and popped up like a little gopher, in behind my Middle Son's filing cabinet which was adjacent to the piano). We laughed and we laughed. It was like watching two innocent children discover a new playground.
The cats were thrilled to find familiar belongings rearranged in different ways and a new 'room' to play in. The gating system means different things to different cats. Senior knew that he was fully in control of where he wanted to be so the barricade held no significance to him. Junior had a completely different association with the same scenario. He immediately panicked. But once he realized that this small fence was surmountable, he was on his way to checking out the new playground.
Something tells me that this same line of thinking is going to run through my various children as we discover a new area-of-play within the house. I predict that my little one-year-old will immediately test the boundaries. I suspect that my three-year-old will be the first to want to play-with-that-which-he-cannot-see. My four-year-old will be wary of the newness initially, but will be the first to settle in and really play. And my two-year-old? She will copy what she sees.
It is like I have a representation of the human population within my little daycare world. Leaders, followers, trail blazers and those that simply go with the flow. It is all fine and good if you have a good leader. If you don't? Watch out world ... you are in trouble.
We simply have to impeach our leader.
** Microcosm (noun)
1. a community, place, or situation regarded as encapsulating in miniature the characteristics of something much larger.