Our lop eared bunny Robin has been missing since last night so I put some food and water outside the kitchen door hoping that she will come home.
So my kids have been unplugged for quite a while now and it is all starting to pay off. Today was filled with self-directed moments, creativity and spending time connecting with people. Starting at 7 AM I took a bath and my kids ate their breakfast downstairs and played on their own. They made their way upstairs and started making art with raw materials. When I got out of the bath my 7 year old son took a long bath that lasted well over and hour where he was totally self entertained playing with a rubber-band and with suction cup building things that stick well to the bath tub and tiled walls. My 5 year old daughter continued work on her elaborate art piece involving gluing Popsicle sticks to a piece of paper in the shape of a house and then drawing the details of the house.
My daughter decided on her own to practice piano and knows to play each song 3 times, a routine that may be painful at first, but like anything, can become just a habit with no resistance. Once my children know the rules and accept them, they are good to go. She passed some songs, we made videos of her playing and learned some new songs. My son worked on his note speller at the kitchen table and ate leftover pizza. I am in the kitchen cooking. She decides when she is done practicing and I always respect her decision.
Now my son and I are going through his chess textbook and figuring out some opening moves. When he decides he is done with that we play a couple of chess games. He puts on a weird electronic record and then rolls around the living room on his Heely's. He practices piano and we play some duets and send off the videos to the grandparents.
Anya starts making some art and wants to facetime with Grammy Joz, they chat and make some art together, Emil shows her a song on the piano and his Heely moves. She then goes to the keyboard and starts improvising to some prerecorded music on the keyboard and Emil is on the sofa reading. He is really annoyed so he goes to the piano and starts playing and improvising as well to drown her out.
The three of us play Jenga and Facetime with Grammy Joz again so she can see us playing this crazy game. Then I read a few chapters of a Road Dahl book to Emil while Anya is upstairs entertaining herself. She joins us and lays on the sofa. I make dinner while the kids skype with their Nana and chat about life. My son is working on his conversation skills and asks her what she ate for lunch, for breakfast and what she will make for dinner. It is pretty cute to see his efforts in small talk.
I have been checking outside throughout the day to see if Robin has come home and at last she is out there! I close the gate, and carry her inside. She is wet, tired and hungry. We tend to her and show her to Nana on skype. The kids help me make dinner, they love to cook and my son especially likes to cut up veggies with a sharp knife. Then we eat dinner, chat with Nana and I hold Robin at the table.
Time for bed! They had an amazing day filled with moments that we shared but also moments where they were off spending time alone and content. It wasn't always this easy, it has been a process. At no time today did they say they were bored, or ask to watch a show. They were in charge of their day and didn't need me to guide them. I try not to direct their free time because I want them to be self-reliant and I find that directing them can disrupt the moments of creativity that can only happen when you leave a child alone.