Portrait of Play Project, Week 16

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Since we added a new member to our family this week, I have encouraged play that fosters quietness and focuses on fine motor skills, play that happens on beds and couches. James’ mom recently made each of the grandkids a little mouse house. It’s adorable. The pieces are minimal, and they fit into the house for easy storage. It is the perfect toy for this week of stretching into a family of four. We’ve been moving through the days slowly, hitting all of the routine markers of time (breakfast, lunch, nap, etc.) at least two hours later than normal. We’ve stayed close to one another, taking all sorts of extra time to ease the transition with the extra snuggles that we all need. In the added stillness of our day we are able to observe the mundane in a new light. The pauses in our days create space for discovery. A flicker of a movement and a glimpse of a familiar body part casting a shadow on the wall, and Charlotte sees herself in a new way. Minutes pass with no activity except the gaze at new fingers and toes or the wonder at how thick Charlotte’s hair has become. In play, a simple matchbox is a bed, becomes an elevator, and then a refrigerator. A wagon becomes a crib. The objects becoming the things we need them to be. They are symbols adapting to an ever changing narrative. Charlotte has become a sister this week, and her school routine is no longer. These are big changes for an almost three year old. They are big changes for me. We all have big feelings that we are sitting with that get released unexpectedly in ways that feel beyond our control as we settle into our changing narrative. A story we get to create together. The ultimate form of play.

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