Do you know that song on Elizabeth Mitchell's Sunny Day album? It's been going through my head, because it is so very apt today. The clouds have parted, the sun is shining, and Frances mustered up all her courage and let me pull out a seemingly interminably loose tooth this morning. Triumph!
What else? I received some excellent news from a dear friend yesterday (in a real letter, no less!), Gabriel and I laughed in the car, watching Frances sprint to the first person she knew to show off the new window in her mouth at school, we had an impromptu cafe date before I dropped him off, during which Gabriel earnestly explained that biscotti makes him thirsty for chocolate milk. The loveliness of the day had me laughing and agreeing that he definitely needed some chocolate milk (rather than groaning and raising an eyebrow). I'm working on a new project that will be a lot of fun. And did I mention the sun was shining? Not only is it shining, but there is a new coolness in the air. It's still flip flop weather, to be sure, but the end of Chesapeake Bay-style bugginess and mugginess is in sight.
Two friends wrote long, thoughtful emails to me about my last post, about boys and violence and imagination. Their feedback was immensely helpful, and because of it I was able to see how Gabriel's unique physicality is central to all this. In simpler terms, I hadn't considered how two weeks of rain had curtailed his outside run-around-and-play time, nor given enough weight to the fact that his naps are often interrupted to pick up his sister at school. So often as parent, when I start to make a problem complicated, I eventually come to realize that the bulk of it comes down to eating, sleeping, and exercise.
So while I think there is more to Gabriel's sudden uptick in aggressive imaginary play and bad moods than being cooped up inside, those issues were amplified a lot because of it. He has been able to play outside for long stretches over the past two days, and his normal cheerfulness has magically returned. (The sports guys obsession has stuck, but it is far less troubling in the mind of a happy kid). A dear friend pointed out that I happen to be a high energy person, so it's not surprising that Gabriel is too. He needs to run and kick and make big sweeping motions, exercising that gross motor stuff like crazy. I also need to move; I get grumpy if I don't. When I considered the state of my own mood when I've been sitting still all day, it helped me to recognize the importance of motion to my boy's well being.
With our babies it's easy to be tuned into sleeping, eating, and exercise, as they are the most obvious things for us to respond to. But older kids can talk a good game, and distract you from the fact that sometimes they just need a snack! It makes me wonder about adults: we talk a good game too. Our bodies can get short shrift in the midst of all our everyday worries. Let us all take a deep breath, have a snack, take a walk, and go to bed at a reasonable hour tonight! Surely everything will feel more manageable if we do.
Have a lovely day, everyone.