Sunday, July 4, 2010


We started our holiday a little early around here last night, when we celebrated the freedom to completely skip bedtime, and allow the toddler to mill about the living room, making lots of messes, while I watched a movie and my husband killed monsters (online monsters, that is).  The boy and I both went to bed around 11pm, husband shortly thereafter, and we all slept until almost 9 this morning.  I tell ya, it sure felt like freedom to me!

When I woke up, well rested and ready to go, I found myself driven to do the strangest thing for a holiday weekend:  I was crazy to clean, organize, and rearrange the house.  And so I took advantage of the freedom of a day with no plans, and did just that.

Our hallway is reorganized as a mini-office space, with all the supplies needed for mailing, bill paying, paper recycling, shredding and filing.  Let's hope this offers us the freedom to complete those tasks with a minimum of fuss and muss.

The living room has two new learning stations for the toddler: kitchen, and construction area.  And the dining room has an art area on one side of the room, and another corner filled with puzzles and manipulatives for fine motor development.  One thing I've enjoyed doing since my son was born is regularly rearranging his toys to promote meaningful play.  It's a task I've always loved as a teacher.  A huge part of learning for children birth to five is arranging the environment, and I can't resist bringing that touch of the classroom into my home.  I wish for my boy, on this fourth of July, the freedom to learn through play for his whole lifetime, something his father and I, as teachers of art and infants/toddlers respectively, have been fortunate enough to find.

Okay, so the kitchen.  Yes.  Well.  Our kitchen has been, shall we say, a problem area, since we moved into this house.  It's too small, cramped, crowded, and always, but always, too messy.  It's the hub's territory, so I rarely interfere with his cram-it-in and dig-it-out style of mess management, but I've been trying to take baby steps to help organize it.  We recently painted the walls and hung a pot rack, which made a big difference, but it was really just the beginning.  Today we dragged some chairs in there, opened all the cupboards, and hashed out exactly what needed to stay, and what can go.  We didn't get very far in terms of actually completing anything, but I think I'm beginning to wrap my mind around some possibilities for managing the mess.  My end goal here is the freedom to wipe clean my counters without spending more than a minute removing clutter beforehand!

And then we "swam" (aka sat) in the kiddie pool, and wandered the yard taking photographs of beautiful things blooming and growing, and grilled hot dogs, and ate pasta salad, and came inside to sit in newly arranged rooms watching our toddler explore like it's the first time he's ever been here.  When the sun goes down, we'll walk a few blocks to the top of a reservoir at a park close to our house, and hopefully watch the fireworks.  We've never tried to see them from this park before, and have no idea if we'll be successful.  But there will be no driving, and no finding a place to park, and plenty of room for the toddler to run.  So we'll take our chances, and in doing so, celebrate two of my very favorite freedoms: the freedom to wander into the unknown armed with nothing but hope, and the freedom to make mistakes.

Happy Fourth of July, fellow revelers!

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