Today started out poorly. Well, it didn't totally start out poorly. The children slept until 7:30 and that was lovely. And the morning was actually quite harmonious until about 10:00 a.m. when I asked "Who wants to do a craft?"
"I don't." Coen said, walking away and sitting down to a pile of disassembled Legos."
"I do!" Lucy said enthusiastically.
I saw this in a magazine--a craft activity for a fall tree art project:
So I got out the paint and q-tips and everything and made a prototype for Lucy.
"That doesn't look like leaves!" she said.
Really, in retrospect, I should have known it was over from there. But I persisted.
And Lucy was frustrated when her first q-tip dot didn't look as round as mine and she angrily smeared paint all over her tree trunk and then cried.
It only got worse after that and I'll spare you the gory details. Mostly it involved me trying to give Lucy alternative ideas for painting and her getting frustrated that it wasn't turning out how she wanted. But it ended in Tad taking Lucy upstairs and me going for a bike ride.
I learned a couple things from this:
1. Lucy (and perhaps many perfectionist four-year-olds) doesn't do well with a prototype because their own artwork never looks just like the prototype and that is very frustrating.
2. When a morning is going fine, I should just let it roll instead of suggesting an organized activity.
3. The cosmos is kind when you let it be.
The reason for number three is that while I was biking around, I was thinking such negative things to myself as: "I am an inadequate parent." Mostly because Lucy is so different from me and the things I am good at doing are not always or usually the things she wants or needs from me. And it is hard. And so I was trying to push the not nice thoughts away and sort out my head. I rode around Washington Park and then down the Boulevard when I heard my name being called.
It was my friend Maria. Maria recently published this book. You should check it out. Anyway, I stopped and we proceeded to have a lovely 15 minute conversation which turned my mood around. I rode away feeling better and thinking about the different ways people give and receive love, heal and are healed, and need each other to be. I came home and was greeted by my little girl yelling "Mommy!", thrilled to see me and having worked out her own issue in her own head the way she likes to do it complemented by a little space from me. And we cuddled and I told Tad about my chance meeting.
"That was a cosmic encounter." he said.
Thanks Maria, for the cosmic encounter-coming around the corner when I needed you to.
Thanks Lucy, for being who you are. My strange, introverted, different, beautiful child.