Have I mentioned that I am a child psychologist? Well, as a psychologist I am always recommending that people engage in "flow activities". These are tasks that require a little bit of skill and lots of concentration. They are enjoyable tasks that are a little bit challenging but not frustrating. A good flow activity will absorb so much of your attention that you stop thinking about anything else, you loose track of time and you will have some achievement to feel proud of at the end. Examples of flow activities are sewing, knitting, reading, singing, drawing, playing musical instruments, gardening, hiking, Lego building, jigsaws, creative writing, etc. The reason I advise people to do these activities is that they have been proven to build self-esteem and result in authentic happiness that lasts a long time. The reality is that we do not get very much time to do flow activities around here. It is difficult to find enough quite time to get absorbed in anything for any length of time. Trying to do anything usually leads to frustration due to constant interruptions. But yesterday (day 258) Rexy and I managed it! Roo was out at a birthday party and somehow Bear was content to play with her toys and sing along with the Frozen soundtrack. She popped in to see us regularly, but she was happy to leave us be for a while. I consider this to be a huge step forward in our lives.
With Roo out of the house for a couple of hours, Rexy was initially at a loss for what to do with himself. I told him that TV or computer games were not an option and that he had to find something else to occupy himself. I suggested that he continue with the sewing that he started after my morning in his class room last week. He was keen to give it a go but quickly lost interest.
I suggested that he build some of the Lego that he got for his birthday. He has always relied on Roo to do the Lego building and didn't know that he might have the skills to do it for himself; a pitfall of being a younger sibling. I told him that I was sure that he was old enough to follow the instructions now and he reluctantly gave it a go. We were both overjoyed and very proud to find that he could easily manage it. He happily got stuck in and was beaming ear to ear with his achievements. This is the power of flow activities!
This gave me the space I needed to get on with a flow activity of my own. I have been desperate to re-root an old Sindy doll that my dad got for me on eBay. He bought three together about two and a half years ago. Their hair was in bad condition so I followed a few youtube tutorials on how to re-root them. I managed to do one (badly) at the time I got them. The other two have been waiting patiently for two and a half years. This poor doll has been bald all that time. It involves lots of loose nylon hair and a very large sharp needle, not to mention lots of time, patience and concentration. I have even been able to think about it with a baby and toddler in the house... until now.
She looks worried, and probably rightly so.
Here she is after about 90 minutes worth of work and very sore fingers for me.
By the end of the evening she had enough hair for a cute little plait. There is still a long way to go but I am so excited to have made a start.
This morning (day 259) I dipped into a photography book that my brother got me for Christmas. It is 52 Photographic Projects by Kevin Meredith and I am hooked. There are so many fun and creative ideas in there and it is a very readable and enjoyable book. I love all of the fun photos in there. Chapter one was on taking a low perspective by placing the camera on the floor. He had some wonderful examples shot in public. I wanted to give it a little go. My photo is nowwhere near as cool as his, especially as the frame is cluttered with distracting elements such as the mattress tucked into the side of our wardrobe and the dolly bag behind her. I still like it though. Focus is tricky because the camera wants to focus on the floor. So, you need to use manual focus which is a whole new challenge for me.
Bear was looking so sweet in her Frozen PJs this morning. I took lots of photos of her.
Finally, I had a look at my Instagram account today for the first time in ages. I really must use it more because looking back there are some really precious family photos in there. I tend to dismiss them because of the crappy quality, but they each hold a wonderful memory and perhaps that doesn't matter so much. I am due a phone upgrade soon so perhaps the crappy quality will be less of an issue in the future.