You go more slowly through the world with children.
We parents want to run, but with the kids, you have to move in small steps. We would like to move fast. Moving, unpacking, finally getting something in order, tidying up, writing a CV, improving a Linkedin profile, shopping, finding a new job, doing yoga, browsing Vinted. But the kids want different, want to be on the orbit, be in the company, be slow, be here. They are waiting for us. Actually, in the company of children, one should not work, unfortunately, we often have to lead a meeting, and write emails. Neither party (working/waiting to play) is happy then.
You are not playing with me at all!
A friend of mine complained at her birthday party that going out, with two kids, is like moving through mud, like running in slow motion. The ritual takes time. Getting dressed, getting all the paraphernalia, leaving the flat and the house, taking the pram out, landing on the pavement, uff…
I recently saw how much was going on. Before leaving the house, I drew our exit into a comic strip. Guta and Gaia are enjoying this mini-book. Drawing the scenes worked on me like good art therapy. I realised how brave we all are. Me and the girls. And also Jacek, because the four of us often walk together. And I saw that getting out of the house is an achievement!
Getting out of the house! After all: put on tights, put on shoes (spill the sand), and sometimes look for and find socks (the favourite ones), put on other clothes (jackets, fleece, hats) and a backpack (with nappies, drink and food for a change), somehow control the girls’ running in the corridor and climbing on the trellis when I try to dress, and (almost halfway through) take the pram out of the flat, and move on to the next stage: the all-important button for the lift and a mini argument over this button:
cries little Gaia, while Gutka runs up and presses it,
getting into the lift safely, getting out of the block (pushing the pram through the narrow entrance), and running down the ramp for prams without falling on her knees. And that’s it. You can breathe.
You hint that it will be easier for you now because there are fewer layers to apply.
To get through it all you have to: take it slow. To be sleepy, to be content, to be calm, to drink a balm (or eat a bar of chocolate), and to act as if nothing else than what is, is in the plans. And still, take a child’s perspective. From the child’s perspective, going out is also about the challenge, the excitement, and the effort it takes to go out. The child thinks and feels that it is very cool, even in this gathering. He doesn’t understand the concept of rushing.
We adults show that you have to stress about going out on time. Children make us realise that it’s not worth living with a stopwatch in our hands and that the way we do small everyday things (lacing, fastening Velcro, cutting paper dolls, eating soup) is essential. This is something I learn a lot from my children. And I make hundreds of mistakes. And every time, I promise myself that I won’t be „that” rushed anymore. And I think it works. It’s less nerve-wracking.
If you want to read something with your children about haste, or rather the lack of it, I recommend the story about the cool Sloth: Slowly slowly, slowly said the Sloth (Puffin Books, 2007). To be found, for example, here
And if you are interested in art therapy, and art harmonisation, and you live in Warsaw’s Mokotów district, I recommend the classes of my friend Karo Lilpop, for example here.