Friday, June 12, 2015

Give Them "The World" (and they are happy with bugs and boxes)

Some days I sit still and all I see is all I need to do and fix within our house. The chips in the paint, the wear and tear on the baseboards, doors, walls, carpets and floors. Then I go outside and think of what I would like to do with our prior "dog pen" area and the fact that I should do something about the eaves troughs and windows on the garage.

Then I shake my head and think "Just take care of what you have!" and my focus becomes cleaning, decluttering, sorting, organizing and the multitude of tasks I have put off for far too long.

Then comes a day like yesterday. A day when I sat still, listened to the happy little voices of my daycare family as they played and got along and just made the most of what we had sitting right before us on the deck.

I blurred the edges of my vision and zoomed in on what we have, more specifically I concentrated on the "world" I have created for my little daycare family.

I listened to their banter as they all nestled in the playhouse sitting on the deck, with a little picnic table off to the side and a mat of foam puzzle pieces to create a "carpet" underneath their feet (or soon, a bed and a blanket and eventually a patterned set of "stepping stones" as they ripped apart the mats and created their own version of how they could be best utilized).

I gazed out into the yard and focused on the playground which has paid for itself time and time and time again over the past sixteen years.

Sure enough, the grass is greener on the other side of our fence (a fence which needs to be repaired due do an accident in the alley the other day). But suddenly my gaze was redirected towards what "works" and what is pretty much a dream-come-true for the child version of myself.

I remember playing in the basement of my friend's home and creating a world of make believe with boxes. I remember creating a pretend "house" out of a place in a barn at the bottom of the hill with a childhood friend. I remember wishing for child-sized furniture for this land of make believe.

Then I thought of the little kitchen, indoor picnic table, doll tending centre, dolls and all the accessories I could have ever wished for, that I have accumulated for my imaginative young daycare family.

We have Fisher Price toys bursting out the seams here. Castles, princes and princesses, houses, farms, circuses, a zoo, fences, accessories and all the Little Animals and People one could ever hope for.

We have cars, plains, boats, helicopters, an airport, car mats and a plethora of car ramps. We have trikes, scooters, wagons and little "Fred Flintstone" cars. Yes. Plural. There is more than one of almost every little thing we have.

I have created my own childhood dream within our home.

I would have given anything to live in this "world" when I was a young girl.

I grew up watching "Bewitched" and wishing that I could watch episode after episode of my most favorite show. I also wished I could twitch my nose and make my wishes come true.

And that is almost exactly what has happened.

Children can watch episode after episode after episode of their favorite TV show and not even have to wait for its once-per-week arrival on a television that receives only two channels, three at best.

Saturday morning cartoons? Our kids have cartoons-on-demand at the flick of a few buttons.

Special outings to the beach and visiting the playground that had the "twirly slide" were rare treats in my day. Now we have a minimum of six parks within walking distance of our home; two of which have a paddling pool; two others have spray parks. And every park is new and different and exciting. Heavens, we even have a "park" right in our own back yard!

I dreamed of being able to walk to school (we lived on the farm until I was halfway through Grade 4); now I can see the school from our living room window. I remember having a basketball hoop in behind the garage and thinking we were in heaven. Now, there are two paved basketball courts in the school ground that we can see from here.

Kids these days can entertain themselves by turning on the TV, watching a movie of their choice, electronic gadgets geared from ages "zero" to a "hundred" and tune into the world wide web at a keystroke. And kids know how to do this! 

I take care of an 18 month old who entertains himself by watching videos of himself on an iPad they bring to daycare. Movies?!! Wow!! Home movies were unheard of in "my day". In fact we had to take our pictures on a roll of film which held twelve pictures and you had to send them out in the mail to be developed. And you had NO idea whether those pictures would turn out or not. Now-a-days? Kids expect to see the pictures I take immediately.

All of this. Kids are living in a dream state and they don't even know it.

But the most amazing part of all of this? Do you know what captivates their interest every time? Lady bugs, ants, butterflies and caterpillars. Boxes, margarine containers, rocks and dandelions. 

Give a child "the world" and that is exactly what they expect. Open up the doors and let them explore the world and there is no end to what they can find to amuse themselves.

Here I am, sitting and believing I am living the dream in my dilapidated, neglected house which is filled to the brim with "daycare supplies". I have created the world I have always wanted and opened my doors to share it with my young little daycare family.

And they would have been content with boxes and bugs. Go figure...

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