I worked double time at the beginning of December so that I could take a week off to spend as much quality time as possible with the little ones. I planned to turn off distractions and be more aware. We were going to play games, build with blocks and magnets, read new books, visit a story time at the library, play out in the snow, and cook together. Then illness struck and the coughing prevented me from reading books and the kiddos were too sick to do much besides sit and cuddle. So we sat on the couch in our “jo jammas” and watched movies and napped. My plan for a technology-free week went hopelessly off course and my mama guilt kicked in. I had planned to foster their minds, embrace the teacherly moments, work on fine motor skills and gross motor skills, focus on active play, imaginative play, lots of play, and seize the days with learning disguised as fun. But quality time turned into screen time. One-on-one time became a party of more as we sat with Woody, Mary Poppins, Oompa Loompas, and Baloo. But I decided to embrace the imperfect, to give a big fat who cares to the world, to be perfectly content in the mom-ents that I was given however small and insignificant and off course they appeared. I was rewarded with lots of hugs and slobbery kisses, cuddle buddies, and quiet moments. We survived, and we had fun along the way. So much came from so little. [This is a three-part series: first part here, second part here.]
Mary Poppins made its second appearance. After the first viewing, months ago, Kacya spun around telephone poles and tap danced on a child-size table singing “Tim Timmery” for days. This time around she’s performing funky interpretive dances of “Feed the Birds” and her younger sister is now old enough to join in with funky moves of her own. I catch Kacya singing to herself -“let’s go fly a kite, up to the out-a-fear, and send it show-ing.” She woke me up this morning singing “Spoonful of Sugar.”
We also watched the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. She didn’t care for the movie, but she’s infatuated with Oompa Loompas, especially their dance. She’s Oompa Loompa-ying Kacya-style around the house and we’re getting frequent requests for the “dumpa dumpa” song. She’s sly about it, though, throwing the question randomly into conversations: “So I read books to Beaver Pickletooth, Nuke and Luke came to play…so these my fifteen letters to Santa and, um, so maybe dumpa dumpa?”
Kacya describes the cover of the movie she wants to watch:
There’s a “scary blue ghost with no legs, a dadda with boobs out, and a mamma with not boobs out.”
“Are they doing anything?” I ask.
“Flying to the mat.”
Toy Story has sparked days of superhero fun:
“I’m Super Buzz Lightyear. See my trick (she bends her leg and rests her foot on her knee). “It’s called bee-yoop. It’s tool!” Then she runs out of the room and shouts, “Super Buzz Lightyear saves the day! Up and beyond!”
She enters the room with a basket on her head. “I’m a superpower. This is my fizzle tulip,” she says, pointing to the basket.
“What does it do?” I ask.
“Saves people stuck in rooms, stuck with monsters, stuck on the ceiling…”
Kacya runs into the room with a tightly crinkled envelope held between her hands, Superman style. “Look at my superpower,” she says.
“What does it do?” I ask.
“Really, what does it say?”
“I’m Super Ghostarator,” she says, and turns to her sister, “This is Boop.”
“I’m Super Buzz Lightyear with my super stuff to keep you not make sick.” She climbs into a box. “I’m on a mission to take my superpowers Nuke and Luke to go to the doctor to go to shots.”
“Superwoman put on some underwear.”
So my perfect plan disintegrated and my imperfect mama self glowed brightly reflected on the television screen. There was no hero mama here, just a tired and sick one. Yet in the midst of sickness the usual chores didn’t get done – dishes piled up, wash piled up, toys piled up, dirt piled up, and now there was a visible marker of all the work that was normally accomplished behind the scenes, all the little daily things that make this household and home function properly. By the end of the week, it was clear that little things make a big impact. Add that to the big things – sleepless nights, teething, illness, discipline, potty training, baths, chauffering, and the million of other things parents do to care for and nurture their little ones. It’s clear we’re all heroes here, parenting the best we can, and we do make a difference. Go reward yourself with something good.