It is getting harder and harder to practice in the morning with my now two-year old… because well, he’s TWO and its pretty much hard to do anything you want to do for more than 5 consecutive minutes or risk potentially hazardous situation.
I mean, could just open the back door and set him free in the woods – I’ve heard they are ready to be released into the wild by 24 months. (No but really, I saw this story recently: Police find 2 year old missing girl. So … yeah, losing your kid for almost 24 hours is the most terrifying thing imaginable. It really happens. It can happen really easily and some kids are found safe and some tragically are not. That being said, looking at that little girl’s expression of exhilaration in the photo and imagining her informing the cops “I love it in the woods!”brings me no end of amusement… and keeps me on my toes about my own curious little explorer. That’s not to say I don’t entertain thoughts occasionally. But I keep the back door secure.)
So lately in the morning, I have managed to get a good 5-10 minutes of sitting practice before I have to stop and pick up again later in the day — these 5-10 minutes are deliverance, by the way. If I have even one minute to sit it can be pure saving grace.
And even though I know our schedules and needs evolve and shift as life with children warrants, I refuse to give up completely on trying to sit in the mornings. Especially right now as the little Acorn Scout and I have been working on what it means to “need space” for ourselves. I hope I can teach him from early on how healthy and essential it is to have time away from other people, to regroup, to learn to be alone, to recognize his own signs of needing time with his thoughts and feelings. Especially since there is heavy indication that he’s been blessed with a double-dose of the sensitivity gene. My partner and I have discussed how we both wish we had developed this skill much earlier in our lives. Learning to exercise personal boundaries, identifying my own needs and comfort level would have been life-altering tools for me had they not remained foreign to me until well into my twenties. So we have been teaching him to use these words “I need space” asking if he “needs space” or to “take a break” at times when he’s getting frustrated or overwhelmed.
And as any mother of a toddler knows well, Mama needs space too. This is a little harder for him.
But I’ve got to model it. AND honoring my needs allows me to be there to meet his.
Today I discovered a dirty little trick to getting a little bit more time. The other thing we are working on right now (ok, for the past 15 months) is diaper changes, which he kicking-screaming-practically-foaming-at-the-mouth HATES. With only a slightly guilty conscience I have discovered that I can wield this weakness against him for the benefit of a little more borrowed time. Just 10 or 15 minutes, say. When he approaches me I ask him if he is ready for me to change his diaper. He immediately runs away yelling “Nooooooo mama! I am PUH-WAY-ING!” (I’m playing!)
Oh my, maybe I am a terrible mom. What would Momma Zen say?? (;
This morning was special though.
This morning we got through the diaper change. And I set the timer. I said, “Mama is going to sit for awhile and you go play. When the timer goes ‘Beep!’ then Mama will play with you, ok?” He said “Ok.”
But five minutes later I heard him shuffle over. “Mama?”
“I want to sit with you, Mama.”
So we sat together. We listened to the morning. We watched the candle flame, we talked about it how it dances and flickers. We enjoyed stillness….for about five consecutive minutes.
But it was enough.