I am always finding new moments in my day where I want to stay present. Present to my boys relentless energy, to their ability to destroy any resemblance of order to our house in less than 15 minutes, to their constant drive to work.
If I am not present, engaged, ready for these moments they just bulldoze me over…the energy of these moments are intense.
I thought it might be an interesting experience to photograph an hour in our day. I gave myself permission to document and take part in the hour and gave my boys the ability to take the hour where they wanted to go with it.
Now, I must say that I had this idea as it was happening. That is to say I didn’t plan a specific hour to document. I could feel myself losing interest in the morning activities and this idea popped in my head. I was able to focus and really stay present in the hour.
Here it is…
It started when C found this moth walking in the dirt…He was really into it, squatting down, studying its movements. L quickly noticed C’s excitement and came over to see what he was looking at.
The boys were playing outside, like they do almost every morning. Clipping ivy, pretending to dump yard waste from the neighborhood, running in circles and saying hello to our neighbor as many times as he will say it back.
I really wanted to play outside with them, it was a beautiful morning. I tend to feel like I am intruding though. My boys start vying for my attention. It is hard to find a way to play together without someone in tears. This doesn’t happen all the time but a lot of the time.
When I am trying to keep their attention for an extended period I find it works best to start with an idea. My ideas are usually spurred from other talented and creative bloggers.
I used to want to get to the finished product and see if we could recreate what struck me to begin with. Recently though, I have found if I don’t focus on the product and instead focus on the experience we all enjoy ourselves so much more.
So, once the moth moved on to another yard I stayed outside and told them I wanted to play a new game with them and I started writing out words in sidewalk chalk on our patio.
I saw this idea on NurtureStore’s Weekly Play Planner a few weeks back and wanted to try it with the boys. L especially, loves to hunt for clues. I thought this would really spark his interest, I was right.
He quickly found each number of items I listed out practically before I even finished writing and drawing the box to put the found items in. We hunted in our yard for leaves, flowers, paint brushes that were left outside, green beans from the garden, lots of things. It was a great counting game and both boys found their own way to enjoy it.
After the boys found everything they went out in the yard and hid everything for me to find. They would tell me if I was getting hot or cold, we were all enjoying ourselves. Soon, I noticed L found the sidewalk chalk and started writing his own list for C and I to find.
I am always excited when I find something that inspires L to write. He was writing numbers and letters with no direction from me…fantastic.
Here he is giving me instructions on exactly what goes into each box and how long I have to get them. Ready. Set. Go!
C started to lose interest after about 15 minutes of playing our “Things to Find” game. C saw the paint brushes in one of the boxes and decided it was time to paint the bricks. We painted pictures on the bricks with water of trash trucks, letters, hearts, zigzags and talked about what to paint next. Both of my boys love to paint with water and I was happy they asked me to join in.
This time it was L who lost interest after about 10 minutes. C was still painting but L started setting up an obstacle course behind us. When he was ready he gave us all the instructions for how to maneuver through the course. There was weaving through cones, jumping over all sorts of things, kicking a ball and getting dizzy around a cart before starting again…
C’s favorite part was to kick the red ball. This was a good workout and we all enjoyed running, jumping, kicking, following, and laughing.
We were all in need of a quiet activity after running the obstacle course 10+ times. I decided to pull out another idea I was waiting to try with the boys from At Home with Ali…I think I may have found it that morning, great timing. I was just really enjoying the constant flow of the hour and wanted to keep it going.
So, I enticed them inside with “I have another idea…wait and see what it is…you get to use sharpies!” of course hearing the word sharpie brought them both inside immediately. We gathered together our watercolor paper, sharpies, watercolors and craft mat in less than a minute. They were so excited, I hardly ever let them draw with sharpies. I am not quiet there yet with the trust…
I think I got into this activity more than the boys did. Although, they really did take part. They both used both sides of their paper and didn’t want to stop drawing with the sharpies. They were completely content with only drawing, no need for adding watercolors to their pictures. The added bonus for me was taking our abstract drawings and then painting them with watercolors.
I have always enjoyed making abstract art. I know this is because there is no right way and I really get caught up in what something is “supposed” to look like. Abstract art is very freeing and just feels good to create. I am in no way an artist, I would love to do this again.
I actually cut up my piece for our end of the year cards for L’s preschool teachers. They looked so pretty.
Well, we completed our hour with a raspberry banana smoothie, of course. An hour doesn’t go by in our day without a snack of some type. I have no idea how we are going to make it through the “hungry years” that everyone warns me about.
Just writing this is making me tired. The energy, enjoyment, determination, constant need in one hour is so much and yet we find our way through each day…and sleep well.
I am really interested: What is your favorite way to spend an average hour in your day?