Hello again, blogosphere! In the past 6 months or so, my little has grown up into a big 17-month-old toddler with a HUGE personality. When I taught early childhood in DC, I loved sharing provocations from my class’ learning on my old blog, Provocations and Play. I’d love to use this space to share some of the exciting ways Charlie and I are filling our days, if you’d like to read. My early childhood teaching was inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, and I am halfway finished with my Montessori training, so you will certainly see those influences in our play-based, art-infused experiences. 🙂
This morning, I was struggling from a gluten reaction, and needed something to occupy the little man more independently than usual. I had made a batch of this gluten-free play dough a few months ago (it keeps wonderfully for me as long as it’s in an airtight container; though it did dry out quickly once we started playing with it) and added some Wild Orange oil for fun.
I had a stack of these colored match sticks left over with some art supplies and placed them with the play dough. They were an INSTANT hit. I did stay nearby since Charlie is getting his 2-year molars and wanted to bite the sticks, and I didn’t want them to splinter in his mouth. Charlie loved the match sticks, and it led to some other activities that I’ll post about later.
A couple of notes about set up: I started to use cookie sheets from the dollar store in my early childhood classroom, and it always works like a charm for defining a work space and containing messes. Also, I have made the play dough recipe linked above dozens of times, but when I made it a couple of days ago (intending to make lavender play dough), it ended up a sticky mess. I used a gluten-free blend flour and not rice flour, so I’m not sure if that makes a difference, but be sure to add the water s-l-o-w-l-y, and double-check your measurements, especially if you try to multiply the recipe and have a toddler running around 🙂
We have been trying so hard to get Charlie to enjoy the water. My mom bought him a float off Amazon, Craig brings him in to dip him in the afternoons, we play with him under the big umbrella in his exersaucer next to the pool, nothing. He loves the bath, but something about the pool wasn’t working for him. Until today. Of course he would love the pool in a water ring sling. Wearing him in a ring sling makes everything better.
I’ve been taking photographs of our little man on each monthly milestone, and I thought I would write little notes to accompany them, to someday give to my love. I hope you won’t mind my sharing them here. ❤
My favorite thing about you is the joy you bring to our lives. Your face lights up whenever our eyes meet, especially if I’ve been in another room (even for a second!) or when you see the bathtub. You laugh hysterically when we make raspberry noises or wash the rolls on your neck (sorry to your teenage self for exposing that on the internet). You watch in amazement at the paper cranes I’ve hung above your changing pad, in awe at your rainbow fairy mobile, and are amazed by string lights. You are a chatterbox, and you love to talk, but when the cool breeze blows the branches of the trees, you quiet quickly to watch the wide world around you. Your father and I say that if we do anything right, we hope to foster the joy and wonder you have for your entire life.
I hope that you never let anyone take away your joy. Never let anyone dim that light in your eyes, no matter what happens. Some day, you’re going to get your heart broken, or you’re going to fail at something about which you cared deeply. It will be hard to not feel jaded, but sweet boy, you must remember how strong you are, and find joy in the little things until it is restored entirely. I know you’ve only been in this world a very, very short amount of time, but I feel pretty confident that this joy is your gift to the world. How lucky we are to be your parents!
With all of my heart, I love you, Charlie Daniel.