One of the things I struggle with most as a stay-at-home mum is entertaining James. I put huge pressure on my self to stimulate and educate him, and to keep him amused in a constructive manner.
I have a fantasy that if I were a nursery nurse, I would know how to occupy him, how to make his toddlerhood as rich as possible. The result is that I often feel overwhelmed, stuck for ideas. Then I beat myself up for letting him watch television.
Yesterday I got a book that has helped enormously (How Children Learn by John Holt). Holt is a gentle, curious psychologist who is fascinated by toddlers and how they explore the world. Having read his stories about toddler development, I realise that I had put the cart before the horse.
James knows what he wants to learn, I don't have to force him to do this educational game or that. I can be led by him. He knows what he wants to explore, what he wants to copy me doing, and what he would like to take apart. A weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
Yesterday, when I stopped being in charge, I noticed his curiosity in a way I hadn't before: the way he says 'hello' to the trees in the garden, the way he looks through the strawberry plants for strawberries, how he smells flowers and brings me a 'bit' so I can smell it too.
Yesterday was fun when I was led by him. The dance between James and I is far more subtle than I had understood it to be. I don't have lead all the time.
This is my pattern: to aim too high, frustrate myself and miss out on the magic of the journey. I believe this insight was a gift to me, an invitation from the Archangels to trust life more, to relax into life, to notice the magic of life's journey.