Monthly Archives: May 2020

Play on

Have you noticed a Corona virus theme being reflected in your children’s play lately – asking you” how much is six feet?” as they “distance socialize” their stuffed animals or dinosaurs, tying masks on dolls, playing doctor and nursing their babies back to health – saying out loud “I hope she doesn’t die” and then pretty quickly “She’s better”.

I’ve heard from a few parents and read about others that their children are definitely into this type of play – and I’m not surprised. This is the perfect solution for children dealing with strong emotions and fears.

Because – a child’s play is magical and being sick one instance and better the next helps make us all feel hopeful and safe.

And that’s what this type of dramatic play does for children.  It helps them work out their fears and their stress in a child’s version of what’s going on – a scenario that makes them feel centered and in control.

It builds resilience.

Experts say it is definitely a common and positive way for children to work out the difficult feelings they are experiencing.

In older kids you might see games where if you get tagged, you have Corona virus and then – you’re it!  There is much screeching and chasing and laughing and it’s all in fun – and the energy and stress that is relieved in this type of game is powerful and helpful.

Parents might think this seems insensitive to those who have suffered and are sick.

But in the right place and the right time, this sort of social play is a coping skill that is healing and delivers a potent antidote to the anxiety lurking inside.

And I’d say we’re all in need of that!

Play on!


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That’s all it takes

This weekend I learned that the sand pile was actually the very first playground for children in the United States. It was in Boston in 1885, when a pile of sand was poured into a churchyard at the beginning of summer.

Within two years, there were ten additional sand gardens in Boston – becoming for the children the ultimate play experience.

And though times have changed since then – and shiny new playgrounds are numerous, the humble beginnings of the sand pile still ranks high.

And I’ve definitely witnessed that attraction recently with an unobstructed view of a new house construction taking place right across the street from us.

The basement was dug – and left behind were two gigantic 14 feet- high dirt piles.  The owner of the site would show up with what I believe were four of his young grandsons – ages perhaps four- nine-years-old – and say no more.

Those boys romped, climbed, dug, jumped and built for hours at a time – and I from my window view devoured every minute.

When the work for now was accomplished and the huge piles were finally distributed around the yard and much carted away, the “yard” was still sand and dirt.

And so every morning – another woman with two different little boys walks over and these boys – drawn like a magnet- explore, jump, pick up stones/sand, march, run, and sat down and dug – until they were told it was time to go – always a disappointment to the boys.

The amazing thing to me is none of these young children had as much as a shovel along with them.  It was just them, being one with the dirt/sand – lost in the enchantment of pure adventure.

(And no lie – as I write this right this very moment –   a mom with three children walked by. The children spied the pure temptation of the sand calling  to them – and were off – but sadly rounded up, somewhat unhappily, to continue on their way.)

What magic!  No wonder sand is included in the National Toy Hall of Fame!

Do you have a sand pile in your yard?

That’s all it takes!

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a gift

In the midst of Safer at Home – in the midst of one day seeming very much like the other – a marvelous discovery was made.

In a basket that hangs on the side of our house, immediately right outside our kitchen door –  a sparrow built her nest.  It is the most perfectly beautiful nest  – sitting cozily in this old basket that held a few of Tootsie’s tennis balls.

My husband noticed it first.  After admiring it for a few days, we waited to see what would happen. We waited …  and we waited … and we waited.

At last one day my husband came in and announced that there was an egg in the basket.  On day two, there was another egg – as well as on day three and day four.

I imagined that the mama bird would be sitting all day on her eggs – but that wasn’t the case.  We actually didn’t see much of the mama bird at all during this time.

In fact I began to think that someone was playing a joke on us.  Are these eggs for real?

And then it happened – the baby birds hatched.  And since then we have peeked in, noticed them huddled together as one soft pulsating feather bed.  Sometimes they are awake – their beaks open wide – in hungry anticipation.

And so – we have been gifted – in a worn-out old ordinary basket – hanging very near a  busy in- and – out back door.

And we are filled with gratitude that this mama bird trusted two very nosy residents and gifted us something to cheer for – to be awed by – to be charmed.

Even in the midst of a pandemic.



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pulling focus

Recently I heard the expression pulling focus. 

Apparently in cinematography, pulling focus is when the camera lens is slowly adjusted for the sharpest clarity of image.

The focus puller has one of the most significant jobs in filming a movie.

And, of course, it got me to thinking.  As parents, this is what we can do, isn’t it?

When we’re looking for reasons , interpretation, insight  – looking for meaning, connection, understanding that sometimes may seem hard to grasp – we can be like the cinematographer ourselves –  and practice this art – pulling focus on our child’s behavior.

Take a few minutes  throughout the day pulling focus on your child’s face – his expressions, his actions. It’s in this close-up – this transparency  that we may see and understand the real message, the clarity  behind the behavior that our child needs us to know.

So often we are reacting to the whole picture – but as in cinematography, that may be blurry – without first pulling focus to see things more clearly.

Pulling focus.

Ready, Set, Shoot!










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