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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The At Least Game... and a lot of Mud.

Spring has sprung and with it comes one of our daughters’ favourite seasons- Mud pie season.
Around here mudpies are not a simple act of making mud into patties and letting them dry- oh no- the Fletcher mudpies have become an art, a science and it can take a few hours, nay, a few days to have the desired effect achieved.
Pie crusts have to have the right firmness, “chocolately” glop has to have the right consistency and the froth, a mixture of soap and water stirred, shaken and concocted has to have a meringue effect to be sufficient. Its been developed by our 2 girls over the last 4 years and it was with a heavy heart last fall that I put away the various assigned buckets and containers. At 8.5 and 7.5 I thought that by spring, mud pies would be a thing of the past, and they would have out grown them. But no sooner had the first rays of the spring sun shone, that they were at it again, with an air of satisfied contentment and looking muddier then ever. I love to see them at it.

This year marks a change. At 20 months our little boy has gotten the bug too. Nothing thrills him more then pouring and stirring and it was with elated glee that he joined his sisters, each with their own bucket and pie experiment. For their father and I we watched with pride and joy as, somehow, age differences had been bridged and a new bonding had occurred, even if it was over, lets just say it, mud. Blissful, delightful, and ever so goo-ey, mud.

But after near enough a week of muddy bliss, the glee was broken today when I heard our younger daughter give a panicked yell to her brother and then screams from our son.
Her precious mudpie had been taken over by him and he had poured the content of his bucket on top of her newly finished work of art.
As she said “it went from a masterpiece to a disaster piece” in a blink of an eye.
In her panic, our boy had been scared and fallen over. Broken hearted our daughter ran upstairs, devastated. She felt we thought she’d upset him on purpose. She thought her sister thought she’d pushed him and she mourned her mudpie. On top of it all, she’d tripped and was filthy.
At first glance, I got a wave of frustration, thinking “all this is over mud! She’s upset her brother and I’m dealing with numerous tears, over MUD!”
But after taking a moment to set our boy back up, after seeing what a mess her project was now, I was reminded that at 7, art is art in any form and when we create, it is heart breaking to see it destroyed.
I went upstairs to find our girl, face down on her bed.
I hugged her close and told her she had every reason to be upset. She told me how she felt, what had happened, what she thought we thought, and how everything had gone wrong.
“Yes, absolutely.” I reassured her “it happened and you, by all logic, should feel upset and mad. But now what?”
Tears came again as she felt so awful and couldn’t see a way out. She also knows about the Law of Attraction. She’s been raised to be aware of how she feels and knows that from this place of upset, happy outcomes were unlikely results.
“Looks like its time for some At Leasts.” I suggested.
The At least game is something our younger daughter and I invented. Basically when you feel bad, simply find a few sentences beginning with the words At Least and things won’t seem as bad.
Suggesting this at this point, I was expecting some resistance, some pleas and cries of “I can’t!” But that girl… she doesn’t feel the need to hang around in a feeling space she doesn’t like. There’s no feeling of riding it out. Sometimes when our children are so much stronger then ourselves.
“At least my crust will still be alright. It wasn’t that much water.” She said brightly.
“And at least his water will make it gooier once I pour it off.”
“And at least,” I added “we’ll give you more soap so you can make an even better topping.
She didn’t even look back as she dashed downstairs to start again. A few minutes later she said with pride it was better then ever.

And our son, he was given a few extra buckets… just in case.

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