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Dampening The Joy of Children

JoyofchildrenChildren are a source of light, love, and joy; but we often unthinkingly dampen their enthusiasim.  Children can be blissfully happy or madder than a wet hen.  We often only orient to their screams and hysterical outbursts.  We are sensitive to that erie quietness that means they are up to something either naughty or dangerous.  We react with shock when they get hurt or are  in harm’s way.  But can we enjoy the everyday sounds of childish laughter or the intimate conversation between two toddlers?  Childhood emotions are often uncensored and in their purist form.  Even their very innocence in their quiet times can be rewarding.  Recently I enjoyed watching a two month old sleep quietly, so quietly, I almost didn’t notice she was there.

Why do we often use the term “childish” as a derogative descriptive term?   In the past, children were to be seen and not heard.  Children were highly scheduled and there was a certain time for everything.  Babies were fed every two hours or so and if they cried with hunger in between feedings they had to wait.  Bottles were preferred to breast feeding.  Breast feeding was too spontaneous and interrupted things.  They also could be given by someone else rather than the mother.  Being a child was often a frustrating experience.  The natural joys and highs of childhood were often ignored and depreciated.  Children were told to go out and play and get out of mom’s hair so she could get some work done.  Playpens were a standard household item when one had small children.

Having been a play therapist, I learned how to observe and participate in a child’s play which was their world.  I was not really another child so I was not a real playmate; but I could become part of the child’s world and participate in it. Hopefully in a helpful fashion.  This has been useful with my own grandchildren as I have some idea of how to interact with and make playing or reading a book to them an interactive experience.  I also get a lot of  enjoyment of it.  I don’t have as many rules as their parents do and generally the scheduling is looser.

Refresh your memory and relive the best parts of childhood.  Focus more on having a good time and enjoying yourself.  It is contagious.



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Without A Thought, Effortless Living

Coffee table book

Coffee table book (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Breastfeeding symbol

Breastfeeding symbol (Photo credit: Topinambour)

Can you enjoy, truly enjoy, something without dissecting or analyzing it.  For some mothers breastfeeding is such a moment.  Do you actually look forward to a moment when you are doing a task that is so routine, you don’t even need to think about it.

Lavishly illustrated coffee table books hit the spot for me.  I can do all the looking I want and there is nobody telling me to hurry up or move on.  When I make the occasional excursion out by myself, (if I have time) I make it a point to “window shop” in a new store, one that I haven’t been in yet.  I am very visual.  That’s how I see things.

For some it is a long luxurious hot soak in a bath tub.  For others, it is a shower using all the water you want.  Then you might like to crawl between sheets in a freshly made bed.  Most or all of these seemingly mindless experiences involve the senses and you don’t have to think about them to enjoy them.

You can usually tell what sense the person prefers by the words they use to express themselves such as, “I can see that,” or “Hear me out,” or “How does that make you feel?”

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