This week will be quiet. There will be painting, there will be playing. There will be nap times spent doing exactly that: napping (for one member of the household anyway). Dinner will be served early and I’ll swallow my wanderlust and commit to nothing save for play-dates and a few necessary errands around town. We will finally answer the toddler siren call for the comforting security of routine and familiarity.
Since we left China with Will last April, I realized I’ve begun to keep a tally of sorts in my head, attempting to achieve some level of balance between adventure and upheaval, novelty and familiarity in Will’s life.
Will has entered a new phase recently in which seeing new things around town is no longer quite as appealing to his toddler sensibility as the comfort of home and the rituals of routine. Strangers are scary, no matter how well-meaning; and heaven help the person who tries to keep Will from his post-dinner bath-time.
I’m mindful of the fact that keeping Will sheltered on this quiet compound for two years straight would do as little to help him prepare for a nomadic global childhood as would expecting him to toddle around town with me for hours on end, loving every minute of it.
So we attempt to strive for (and here I go with that word again) balance. We try to pick outings to places where Will will be able to get down and do a little of what he loves best–climbing and getting dirty, or else we keep the outings as short as possible. We don’t go out until he’s had a few hours to run around and get out some of his wiggles and we try to always come home before nap time. We skip the most overstimulating, crowded times of the day in Old Delhi and usually follow up our most chaotic, colorful adventures with quiet afternoons at home.
Of course, there are times when all of this careful planning doesn’t work. Like say, when grandparents come to town for the holidays and routines get understandably and joyfully mangled and trips to the park get traded for trips to the market.
My mother and father in law lived in India for five years and so they’ve seen all of the sites hundreds of times. For them now, the appeal of a trip to India (after seeing their grandson of course) is the shopping. We did quite a bit of shopping over the holidays, with Will always along for the ride.
Delhi is an incredible city for shopping and I wish I could have photographed all of the fabulous little shops and enclaves we found on this trip. I haven’t yet figured out how to wield a camera (or actually shop, for that matter) though while supervising Will in a store full of irresistibly tidy stacks of shawls and towers of glass baubles displayed, tragically, at toddler eye-level. He’s a quick one–too quick for me to ever do anything in a store except survey the layout of potentially expensive accidents and then haul Will back out onto the street again to take our chances among the motorbikes and construction debris rather than the merchandise inside. I can do bicycle rickshaw rides through Old Delhi with Will. I can’t do jewelry shops.
The point of this long rambling post I suppose is that, I’ve talked to a lot of people lately about their holidays and almost everyone has said the same thing: it’s nice to get back to some semblance of routine and we are no exception. Owing to the cold weather in Dehi and our two week shopping (or attempted shopping) extravaganza, I have no exciting Delhi outings to report and no Delhi photos to share, but I do have a few photos at least of Will painting his first masterpiece on New Year’s Eve.
To me, it is an awe-inspiring masterpiece. Not due to it’s artistic merit of course–let’s be clear, Will’s inspiration here was trying to determine exactly how much paint I’d let him smear across the paper at one time–but rather owing to the astonishment I felt watching him create something for the first time, under his own power, guided by his own thought process–whatever exactly that may be these days. I never understood before why parents cover their refrigerators in unintelligible scribbles and mud-colored paintings, but now I get it. I have a painting of my own tacked up on our fridge now too and every time I see it, I’m reminded again of what an independent, autonomous little person Will is growing up to be.
As a friend commented on Facebook, there’s a little boy expression on that baby face in the photo above. Sure, today he’s all about dismantling our living room and smearing paint across a 5 foot long sheet of paper, but I know it won’t be that many years until he’s actually help us dismantle the living room on purpose and no longer tottering around the house in nothing but a diaper and a healthy coating of blue paint. I sound like both a broken record and every other “mama blogger” who has ever come before me when I say this but, when did my little baby get so big on me?
How are you all? How is the post-holiday season treating you?