Face of hope

Face of hope
Courtesy: TIffany Kay Photography

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Just Imagine

I know I have posted before about how Meagan's sisters are so good with her.  They really look out for her, help around the house when we are working on therapies or feedings, and are very protective of her. When my 9 year old can explain what hydrocephalus is, my 8 year old can spot a seizure, my almost 7 year old knows terms like "shunt" and "therapy" and my 4 1/2 year old knows what pain looks like in her sister, I have to also remember while this knowledge and understanding will make them better adult citizens, it is also a lot for them to handle.  They are just kids too. They also need a special day here and there to just have fun and be their ages without the extra terminology or responsibilities.  It doesn't have to be fancy or far away, but just something they will always remember where they were the focus.

Yesterday was one of those days.  The day got off to an unfortunate start with Meagan having one of her sleep seizures.  Luckily it didn't last over a minute, but, typically when this happens she is very sleepy for the majority of the day.  When it was over she was still asleep and stayed that way - and seemed consistent with her pattern that she was going to stay asleep for a while.  Since she would probably rest most of the day I knew we were going to stay close to home.  The older girls were disappointed we weren't going to go to the playground or run errands as originally planned so I thought it was the perfect opportunity for a little imagination to help distract them and let Meagan rest.

Resting comfortably

By the time all this had transpired it was almost lunch time.  The girls had been playing baby dolls and "grown ups" and asked me if it was ok if they put make up on.  "Sure!" I said.  I told them to get dressed up and we would go to a 'restaurant' in the house for lunch.  They all got dressed up, put make up on, and brought their babies to the kitchen.  The girl's decided to name the restaurant "R'KAM's" after Reilly, Kaitlin, Anna and Maura.  Once they decided on the name, I told them to go wait until we "opened" and made them menus with lunch and drinks detailed inside.


Once R'KAM's opened, they came back into the kitchen and were seated.  They ordered their drinks and food just like in a real restaurant, waited for their lunches, and then ate together through giggles and conversation.  They did everything we would do at a "real" restaurant (ask me for refills, order additional food, take their babies to the restroom..etc.) and seemed to have a great time.  I love how  they felt so fancy and special.
Checking out the menu

Once lunch was over and plates were cleared, they asked for the bill.  I gave it to them and they paid, got their babies, and headed out to continue playing.  When I went to the table to clean up the last few items, I saw the money left for the bill.  I also saw on Maura's placemat she had left me a coin and her Ariel doll.  When I asked her about it, she said she didn't have enough money for a tip so she left me her favorite toy as well as the money.  It made me proud of her sweetness, but also giggle at the same time.

My payment....

...and my tip. 

At that time I went to check on Meagan.  She was still sleeping so I went back downstairs.  The girls had been riding bikes (running errands, excuse me...)  outside but it was really hot so they already came back in.  They seemed "bored" so I asked them to put their shoes away and come back to the kitchen in 5 minutes.  While they put shoes away, I made movie tickets for them.  I set up their chairs in our living room and put a movie in our DVD machine.  I called the girls back in and they were so excited to "go to a movie" together.  They each got their tickets, which I ripped for them at the entrance, and they took their seats.  They ordered popcorn and waters and enjoyed having some time inside the cool air from the heat outside.

Movie time!

Our state of the art spill proof water system

Enjoying popcorn

Shortly after the movie ended, Meagan woke up.  She was pretty upset so I brought her downstairs to hang out with us.  She had a bottle and was comfortable laying in her Nap Nanny.  I let her rest there with a cartoon on while the other girls helped clean up toys and went back outside to play.

Drank a bottle and starting to recharge!

The girls came in again and asked me if we could please do the restaurant for dinner too. I told them that would be fine!  This time, Reilly said she wanted to be the server.  She came in the kitchen early before dinner and designed her own menus.  She also made a waiting area at the start of our kitchen doorway and as the other girls came in, she sat them like a hostess.  She got high chairs for babies, and gave out menus.  She fixed drinks and served the food I made.  The girls had so much fun talking and calling me "Ma'am" and pretending they were "growned up" (as Maura says).... It was a lot of fun and I loved watching them just be carefree and enjoy their day.

Offering her guest a high chair

Taking food orders

Later that evening, Meagan was back in the swing of things.  She popped up from the Nap Nanny and was playing with her toys.  The girls were happy to see her up and about.  They continued to play until later in the night and then finally I told them it was time for everything to be cleaned up.  As the day drew to a close I thought of all the fun we had that day.  All the silly things, all the giggles and all the "real life" scenes the girls enjoyed acting out.  With so much "serious" surrounding them every day, whether it is school, or dedication to a sport/dance, or dealing with Meagan's medical issues, it is so important that they enjoy times like this. They are all old enough that they really exist in a "pack mentality."  They often play together for hours and don't even bat an eyelash in my direction, or don't ask me for anything at all.  I will check on them and I just get the "mommmmm!" and I know that's my cue they still want to be left alone to play.  I love that they have this bond, but I also know that sometimes they still want that guided play.  Sometimes, they still need a day completely designed by mom that is almost a game so we can reconnect.   
The girls really surprised me with their incredible imaginations throughout the day.  They didn't care we had mismatching placemats, or paper written menus, or plastic cups from Moe's or any of the other quirks that made up our day of fun.  None of that really matters if I can play along and help them go "somewhere else" for a day to let them explore and use their creativity.  I can just imagine what wonderful memories they will have, what life lessons they will learn, and what freedom they feel when we do these special days.  As someone said from my imagination days, 

"When we treat children's play as seriously as it deserves, we are helping them feel the joy that's to be found in the creative spirit.  It's the things we play with and the people who help us play that make the great difference in our lives."  -  Mr. Rogers

Sophistication ... Gareau style

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