My four-year-old Maddie is a planner and a setter-upper. Sometimes she enjoys setting up to play more than she does the actual play. She sets up the Minnie Mouse Pet Salon for 25 minutes, only to play with it for 5 minutes. She sets up her Barbie Dream House for long periods of time, only to have the Barbie dolls decide they would rather go for a ride in the car. Setting up to color or create is a lengthy process for Maddie. She has to get out the markers, crayons, and colored pencils, finding a separate area on the table for each set of tools. She has to choose her paper. She has to make sure everything is just where it should be. So, imagine my surprise when I walked into the kitchen to find this:
The part of me that is… me…felt anxious. I am not fond of messes, especially those that occupy the entire floor of our kitchen. The part of me that is me wanted to ask Maddie to clean it up and to move somewhere else. However, I held my tongue because the part of me that is learning to float saw that Maddie was being creative. She was coloring and engaged and happy and quiet. So, I stepped over Maddie and the papers and the markers while I made dinner.
Moments later, I heard one-year-old Katie approach Maddie with a book in her hand. “Peeeeeeese?” Katie asked.
“Ok, Katie,” I heard Maddie say. “Come her,” she told Katie as she patted her lap, indicating to Katie that she should sit.
Maddie stopped coloring and read the book Overboard to Katie right there in the middle of the messy kitchen floor.
“Tay-yoo,” Katie said when she got up to walk away.
“You’re welcome, Katie,” Maddie replied.
I smiled to myself, feeling happy in my heart for so. many. things. Especially the messy kitchen floor and my learning how to float.