Thursday, January 28, 2010

Finding Creativity in the Mundane...

I faced my fears today and drove to France for some afterschool activities with my niece and nephew... surviving roundabouts and mopeds, narrow lanes, delivery trucks and unmanned border crossings. I did not have to resort to chocolate in triumph and the worst moment came as the sun suddenly cleared the clouds to shine on one mountain in particular. I found myself contemplating pulling over suddenly into the farmer’s field to take a picture... luckily, common sense won out.
Yes, today, I finally saw the mountains! The local Swiss probably think the tall person in the burgundy coat is as mad as a hatter. I went up to the top floor of the shopping centre and out into a courtyard between buildings to shoot one picture of Geneva with the mountains behind it. I am sure that tourists with cameras never go there, only smokers, but I might not have had any other proof of Alp sightings! Images are stuck in my camera for now since I am using my brother's computer, but I will alter these posts once I get home to include the images I intended to put here.

Today’s inhalation actually came from the more mundane tasks in my life today as lived in someone else’s house.

INHALE: Chores are pretty un-fun no matter what age you are. Encouraging children to help out can sometimes try your patience on the best of days. Being the visiting Auntie, I can actually coax things out of my niece and nephew because it is something novel, but I truly believe that kids should learn to help out in a family as they grow. When a bit too much of supper landed on the floor under the table tonight, I asked them to show me where the broom hid and once I had the pile of crumbs and meal remains swept into a pile, they took turns "dustbustering". I asked them to clear their plates to the sink from the table by being waiters or waitresses and we got toys put away by asking them to show me where they went. This works because I am visiting... but it at least plants the seed. I am, however, pretty exhausted. This is like looking back in time 6 years at what my own kids were like and trying to remember what tricks worked and what didn’t. The neat thing about young children is that you get instant feedback!

EXHALE: If you are going to find more time to be creative in your everyday life, you have to stop being a martyr and doing it all yourself. This isn’t to say that 4 year olds are capable of complex chores or that 8 year olds can handle doing loads of laundry, but it starts with baby steps. The first thing is to be honest with yourself and know the areas where you can and can’t accept help. I am pretty particular about both washing dishes and washing laundry, but I will always welcome help drying and putting things away. Finding ways to be Creative about how you teach the need for each and every member of a family to help in some way goes a long way towards keeping your own sanity. Think of one or two chores that you could use some help with around the house and some Creative ways in which you could make even the mundane a bit more interesting. Sock fights anyone?

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