Portrait of Play Project, Week 24


When Charlotte said she wanted to play with bubbles this week, I was super excited. Last summer we were crazy obsessed with bubbles, perfecting bubble mixes, making wands and various bubble making contraptions, monitoring wind movement for just right bubble blowing conditions, and toting along our bubble set up to any and every dinner party we attended. We seriously even talked about selling a bubble kit complete with a bucket, various wands, and the perfect bubble mix. I’m pretty sure we were way more into bubbles than any of the kids who we used as excuses for playing with bubbles were. When we got outside, Charlotte played with bubbles for about 2 minutes before she saw James working and convinced him to play with her in the mud kitchen we are building. I knew James was needing to work and wasn’t expecting them to play for long, so I stayed put with Winnie on a blanket in the yard. It’s hard to be outside in Georgia this time of the year because of the mosquitoes (the heat is not an issue for me). James rigged up a mosquito killing fan contraption (something he found on youtube), and while it doesn’t protect the whole yard, I can lie Winnie down in front of it and not have to worry about her being covered in mosquitoes. After awhile of watching Charlotte and James play from a distance, I crept up on them close enough to hear them talking about making dinner (collecting sticks), taking a bath, and going to the store to buy towels. I still hadn’t given up on the bubble play, so I wasn’t really taking pictures. I went back with Winnie accepting that they both needed to have this time to play, and I didn’t want to get in the way. By the time Charlotte joined me, she was more interested in hanging with Winnie than playing with bubbles. Charlotte loves being as close to Winnie as I will allow her to be before she starts grabbing at her or moving her around. Winnie seems to enjoy the attention and honestly doesn’t seem to mind the rough touching. She is the chillest, most low-maintenance baby ever. I seriously have to remind myself that she is around sometimes because she requires so little attention. I watched them staring up at the sky next to one another with mixed feelings. I can see their sisterhood forming in these moments, and I am both intrigued by it and scared of it. I know that their closeness to one another will be a step away from their closeness to me, and that breaks my heart a little. They will one day confide in one another what they don’t want me to find out. They will most likely bond over their mutual anger towards me. They will also hurt and be hurt by one another and need me. I am so thankful that this time is not now. I can only hope that the process will make me ready for that when it comes. For now, I will try to remember to be okay with the fact that Charlotte has to be in a room with me almost always because she is easily frightened. I should not be annoyed that she still needs me to do things for her and with her that I know she can do on her own. I have this time and these extra moments that will slip away soon enough. While I was disappointed that this was not the bubble play observation that I was anticipating, we all needed the connection more than the exploration. Eventually, Uncle Daniel came out and started doing bubbles with Charlotte. I played a bit with the bubbles as well, trying to find the perfect distance from the fan for the bubbles to be blown. I almost drew attention to the trial and error of my efforts but imagined what the look on Charlotte’s face would be if she discovered it on her own, a moment she would never get back if I took it from her. Chuck didn’t notice. She was too busy making the connection that the wand was the perfect size circle to sit on her head as she and Daniel popped unblown bubbles on each other’s heads.

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