Saturday, January 6, 2018

Consider the Winter Camel

It's 4 degrees with a windchill to approximate -9. It's not that I haven't been outside, but I already feel a bit stir-crazy, knowing we have yet to reach the heart of winter, and not knowing how many brutal cold snaps will come our way. The girl doesn't fully fathom the ferocity of cold this week, so she periodically pulls socks on and rallies for the household: "And now! Let's go to the park!" No one here shall be pushing swings or whipping down slides anytime soon. It's a shame we don't have a nice transparent toddler version of a hamster habitrail lining the upper walls of our little ranch: we could plunk her in, and hear her endlessly scoot around from room to room. She'd burn off some energy and we'd excel  at locating her by scrabbling sound. She would, of course, call for us to join her, which would be physically impossible, but we could wave dramatically and bounce in periodically to assess her toy nesting skills: and leave small presents for her to find in different parts of the trail. Reader, do you feel better? This scenario has already had a calming effect on me. Sad to leave it!

So, here we are in this nasty Winter business, supremely lucky to be protected from its brunt. Possibly feeling in a bit of a slump, but one must remind one's self, January is often Slumptime, what with the royal Family rush of holidays preceding it*, the relative lack of sun, and --  if one ascribed meaning to the artificial construct of calendar time -- and neatly tied one's major tasks up in a bow by year's end -- one may feel especially floaty, without major projects to help order the days. Surely there are new projects to be had, and most definitely there are endless obligatory tasks to be squared off, checked off and otherwise eliminated. My friend told me over lunch that she has been writing out plans to span 2018; and asked what mine were. I fluffed about, though I have been thinking about it. But more on the level of approach versus goal setting.

*which is not meant to disparage family time, natch, only to say the packed nature, and all of the surrounding hubbub leaves one worn out. 

Regardless of where we are this January, it's time to re-up. Here's another fine year for us to invest in ourselves, each other, and our world. A fine time to consider (and buy and look at) Carson Ellis' screen print, which started out as her annual family holiday card last year:

From Carson Ellis' blog
A Handful of Items to Consider, from Someone with Shoddy Credentials:

When compelled to navel gaze,
don't ignore the negative,
but practice holding things lightly.

Make your spaces work for you. When you want to be nestled, make it so. If your space is overly stuffed, but you know you need something cleared out for sanity, give yourself that -- without the clearing process turning into a project in itself.

 Go for what you want. But don't apologize for adjusting down, when you have considered the situation. --> Insert here the video which I could not upload --> my child intently dragging a red rocking moose and random stuffed animal to our cart in IKEA last month. I noted that she had already lobbed 5 stuffed animals into the cart, which exceeded the stuffed animal limit, and that the moose going home with us was highly unlikely. After plaintively explaining that we didn't have a moose, so we had to get the moose, she frowned at it, lobbed a 6th stuffed animal in the cart, and walked away. Sometimes you think a moose is necessary, when really, a camel stuffed animal + a small bear in striped boxers will do the trick. Very few things in this life are truly essential, and focusing on those non-essentials could actually be tripping you up. Maybe what you want/need looks a little different than it did a few years ago, or last year. Maybe it's packaged differently. Some may call you fickle. That's okay: life is fickle. 

When invited to be in a parade, go for it! Special events and times come bundled with hassle. Enjoy the glitter and the exhaustion.


Whatever you're undertaking, allow yourself to be at your current level. One refreshing toddler trait is their frequent belief that they're doing GREAT at whatever is at hand. Obviously this reflects our enthusiastic encouragement - but this, too allows them to forge ahead -- and develop some real skills. Recent declarations from our shortest family member include: "I'm great at drawing!" "I'm a very good Mommy" (when she's not tossing her baby doll across the room), "I AM AN ADULT" "I'm great at jumping!" "I'm a VERY fast runner!" It's patently obvious that toddlers are works in progress, but still most people who describe adults as such are seen as a bit laaaaaaa, if not annoying. Yes, the growth rate is drastically reduced, but otherwise it still holds...

I don't need IKEA kitty drapes. but I want them.
<-- Take time to appreciate simplicity and repetition. It's easiest to be blown away by detailed, finely honed skill -- but there is wisdom and appeal to bold, pared down visuals.

Allow space for the magical. Which is not permission to let magical thinking hold sway... Also remember that sometimes theories -- including your own -- are simply that. Be open to revision.

Happy belated New Year, All! Warmest wishes during the coldest time of the year...

No comments:

Post a Comment