Portrait of play, week 35


We were having a lazy day to celebrate our 7th anniversary, not so lazy of a day that I could ignore our disgusting kitchen floor though. I moved the stools out of the kitchen to mop, and Charlotte immediately lined them up to make a train. She added a few more chairs from around the house and made Winnie the “driver” who was contained for the moment in her bouncy chair at the front of the line. Charlotte found some bungee cords and used them for seat belts. While I was mopping, she was having conversations with her kids (she said she had one girl and one boy). She also had a phone conversation with a doctor, using a mason jar as a phone. When I finished mopping, I got out my camera to observe more purposefully, but Chuck asked me to come into her room with Winnie. So, we left the train and went “home.” Charlotte set up the crib for her baby who was going to be born in “4 minutes,” and busied about her play with a mumbled stream of consciousness narrative. I faded in and out of Charlotte’s dialogue as I watched Winnie explore different modes of moving around. These days, I could sit and watch Winnie all day long. Her brain is on fire. She is trying, with her entire being, to do everything possible that she is physically and developmentally capable of doing. She aggressively explores objects/toys by reaching, raking, grasping, and tasting, but she gets easily overstimulated. When I can tell she has had enough, I tell her what I’m noticing and take the toy from her that she is fussing with. She gets so upset and cries for the saddest little five seconds before she puts her head down and falls asleep. She wants so badly to be able to move and is trying out every single body position possible in an experimental effort to connect with forward movement. She is as laid back as she is determined and as strong as she is happy. My attention turned to Charlotte, who had become a teacher and was pointing to what she thought was a lake in a painting (I think it’s actually a pillow) and was asking Winnie, “What color is the lake?” The painting then became a slide, and she noticed the letters on the back of the painting. She found a C and showed me where “her letter” was on the back. Then she found my letter and pointed to a K. Charlotte doesn’t really know letter names, but she knows letters as letters for people. C is for Charlotte, K is for KK, A is for Atlas (and Ajax), S is for Stacy, and E is for Ella and Ethan. Those are her favorite letters, and she found all of them on the back of that painting. By this time, Winnie found the stick Charlotte had been using as a pointer and was trying to eat it until my toes looked tastier. We sat together on the floor in Charlotte’s room, laughing as Winnie tried to eat my toes. I thought about how there was no way I could have imagined or even hoped for this reality when we were all sweating in a church basement in Chicago eating tacos and singing songs 7 years ago. That day when we got married feels like a lifetime ago; yet, with young kids, it somehow feels like we are still at the beginning of a lifetime together. For the first time in four months, I felt the slowness of time, and I eagerly met it with a sigh of gratitude.



One thought on “Portrait of play, week 35

  1. Look at Winnie get on her hands and knees. She is going to be crawling soon! Charlotte has the the matching Bitty Baby Jammies set??? Edith was pretending to be “Josie” the other day and her baby’s name was “Winnie” I think she meant for it to be “Gwennie” but still remember playing with your girls this summer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s