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Playgrounds And Playgroups

Little is asleep in her cot.

Oh how long has it been since I have uttered those sweet sweet words.

Little is asleep in her cot.

Six of the most blissful words, strung together in just the right order to bring a touch of magic to my day.

It is not that I am trying to avoid her, but rather her sleeping means I can eat my lunch, drink my tea, and write this blog.

I haven’t written in weeks. And by weeks, I mean months.

Yesterday I moved my desk around in a bid to create a fresh perspective with the hope that I would want to pick up a cyber pen again.

It isn’t so much that I have been in the midst of a creative drought, because my inner narrator has been busily chatting in the background of almost every scenario in the last eight weeks.

However, I felt for the last couple of months before The Blunder Weeks ended my work was becoming more of a rant rather than a place to play, so I ought to give it up for a while.

In the meantime, I have been working hard on rewriting the website copy for our business, and organising a suite of social media platforms, so that when we do go proper public, and not just word of mouth, we are all organised.

Although writing my bio is still beyond me.

Mind you, I have been having loads of fun with the product descriptions. Too bad, I cannot say the same for our services page.

As usual, I have some big ideas, but am afraid to implement them.

I keep finding excuses, which are easily solvable in order not to action my ambition, but I have to admit they are wearing thin these days.

I keep telling myself after blab la is done, or once we have blab la set up, or blab la blab la bla…

In the past, these things would have stopped me dead in my tracks. Whereas now they just slow me, down.

The idea of not moving forward is terrifying to me.

Which is probably why I am sitting here writing this instead of mindlessly catching up on Grey’s Anatomy the way I would ultimately like.

However, we all know television is best done guilt free.

I look at our Run the World Campaign, and wonder how to explain it on the page.

When I talk about it the phrasing and passion comes easily. However, when it comes to committing it in black and white I become tongue-tied.

It is as if I am a dear caught in the headlights of my own shining goals.

It is almost as if I had to put the Blind Mama Blog down in order to create space for this.

When I weigh my options on the inner scales of my mind, I have to confess to feeling like I don’t know how to balance the two.

I love the Blind Mama Blog, and I love writing about little.

However, the time and resources it takes are phenomenal.

Therefore, I am left with limited resources and time to work on the business.

However if I work on the business, then there is no time left for the blog.

I have to wonder how do other people do it?

How do they have it all?

How do we have it all?

How do I create a thriving blog, and an empire, each equally deserving of my time and attention.

Let alone indulge in morning pages, or sink into a novel, go for long walks on the beach, chatter on the phone to my girlfriends, or any number of life affirming activities.

I should call so and so I think to myself as I sit down in front of my laptop to organise the pages of our website.

I should call so and so I think to myself as I pull up any number of our social media profiles and trawl for content to populate them with.

I should call so and so I think as I plow through another short course on innovation, management, leadership, or robots.

I am on a mission for a robo dog. And my logic is, if I know the basic of all basics regarding the fundamentals of robotics, then maybe the universe will reward me by presenting me with a fully-fledged electronic obstacle-avoiding guide something or other to make my life easier.

Either that or restore my vision to its former glory.

I am open to either.

However, notice I did not say play with Little?

That is because I’ve been doing more of that lately.

More often than not Michael will take her for one part of a day so I can work, be it in my day job or on the business, while they spend time together. Then I will take her for a part of the day so then he can work on a different aspect of the business.

It is working really well.

Each of us feel like we are making progress.

I try and take baby girl in the mornings, because by the time the afternoon rolls around my cognition has been stretched.

The trick is to live without apology.

When it comes to the business, I feel like we’re missing a vital peace of the puzzle, of which I don’t know how to put into words.

I know the website is going to be terrible, but at least it is a start.

Again I don’t know how to express my wishes.

I can feel it in my mind’s eye, but it does not translate into words.

Not to mention Michael and I have very different taste in graphic design.

Oh if only someone could reach into my brain and extract the goodness.

So this is why it is important that little sleeps.

Her sleeping means that when she wakes up, we will have a beautiful afternoon of high/low tea and a trip to the park.

Her sleeping means that for just a second, I am not consumed by the mysterious world of motherhood on the front lines, but I can take a fractional step back, and concentrate on other parts of our universe.

Slowly but surely I can see them coming together, and I am surprised.

I am surprised as to how well things are fitting into place, and seemingly without effort.

If I am not careful, we could be luxuriating in life without my noticing.

Oh my God, what if I had nothing to complain about?

It is funny, because when I think of my vision for us, it seems so far out of reach.

However when I examine our current reality, the essence of our version of paradise is already coming to fruition.

That new house doesn’t feel so impossible after all.

It doesn’t exactly feel possible, but it is not out of the realm.

If anything it feels like a natural progression.

Next week I am going to co-present at my first national conference.

I mean how cool is that?

Talk about a dream come true.

And it happened so easily.

I didn’t have to chase it, net it, trick it, or stomp on it to catch it.

It just landed in my lap.

It was as easy as a casual conversation.

A question, and an answer.

Seriously!

I didn’t have to do yet another course, or take a class, or find a gazillion reasons why I am not worthy.

All I had to do was say yes.

So yes universe, I am here, and I am listening.

What else would you have me do?

I am beginning to see glimpses of a lifestyle I thought was only for other people.

People with shiny white Hollywood smiles, palm trees in the background, and Holiday houses around the world.

People with time and money to do what they want.

But here we are; building a life for ourselves on our terms.

For example, As apart of the Play For All Campaign that we are involved in, this morning Michael is at a workshop facilitated by our local council to discuss the practical applications of inclusive play.

the way we see it, inclusive play is for the kids, the parents, family, friends, carers, and onlookers.

In other words it is for all of us.

It affects all of us. Whether we realise it or not.

Play For All is about raising awareness and creating change in how playgrounds and play spaces are designed, built, and accessed by the community.

So my handsome clever funny husband, along with other representatives of the local community, and relevant council employees are meeting over what he assures me will be a badly catered for lunch with one hundred sandwiches and a couple of mini quiches for good measure, to brain storm potential facilities, equipment, and ideas for a new playground which is to be built in the coming year or two in the next suburb over.

Because for us it is important that not only do I have access to safe play spaces with Little, but Little has access to safe play spaces with everyone.

Everyone being other kids with differing abilities, interests, backgrounds, and beliefs.

Everyone being different adults with differing abilities, interests, backgrounds, and beliefs.

Meanwhile Emily and I have been to playgroup, and have been changing the world in our own small way.

I would like to think our casual yep we’re just like you presence, maybe dissolves some of the secret perceptions other people may or may not have about disability, blindness, and the potential there of…

Mind you, not that I have experienced any kind of snobbery, exclusion, judgement, or resistance in this particular setting.

Well not really!

If anything I have a whole community watching out for us.

Who needs two eyes when I have twenty, thirty, or forty.

Today for example, every time I called for baby girl but she did not answer because she was deep in concentration, another parent would always call back on her behalf.

Here she is… they would say. Doing such and such.

Whatever such and such was.

Playing on a seesaw, hiding under the tree, getting another toddler to push her in the car…

Although I have to admit, I was intimidated by the craft table.

We did not arrive early enough for me to have a chance to explore the area with my hands, and figure out what today’s said activity was, and whether it was in the realm of possibility for us to attempt.

By this I mean, a few weeks ago the craft activity was something relating to a raw egg, some water, and a bag of salt.

Let’s just say, if I had encouraged a certain curious cutie cute cute cute to interact with those ingredients, the retired schoolteacher who runs the place might have had a conniption.

Even if I would have found the entire inevitability of a back of salt being tipped on to the floor along with a couple of raw eggs, and then finger painted to be quite creative, if not extremely resourceful and funny.

I’m so proud of you, I would have smiled to myself as I watched Emily explore the different textures.

Good girl, I would have said as I picked her up to wipe her off.

That was very good playing…

So umm no, maybe not an appropriate activity given the retired schoolteacher who runs the place worldview.

Which is why it is sort of important she gives me a heads up beforehand regarding what we are doing on any given day.

However I don’t think she quite gets it.

Because she hesitates and looks at me strangely or awkwardly if I ask too many questions.

But how does a girl explain to someone who has always seen and knows no different, what it is like not to see when she knows no different either.

The craft table was crowded when we sat down.

Children and carers working diligently in pairs on their respective projects.

The only way I gleaned it was something to do with pasta and glue, was because Emily’s sticky hand came to my cheek in a gesture of affection, as she stuck the other in her mouth with a peace of raw macaroni and announced triumphantly “pasta!” which all the Chinese grandmothers around the table parroted in unison before returning to their native tongue.

However nobody handed us a clean sheet of paper, a glue stick, or explained what else was in the middle of the table to choose.

To my mind they were doing their best to ignore us all together.

I felt horrible.

If anything, they kept confusing me by sliding a peace of finished work toward Emily, and moving on to the next one with their own children as if we were invisible, or that is what they wanted us to be.

I didn’t want Emily to start picking macaroni off some other kid’s work, so humiliated, I picked her up, and we moved away.

Because of course that is what she began to do with every new object put in her reach.

I didn’t want to make her wrong about it, because I didn’t think she was.

Lord knows if the situation had been reversed, and I had placed our painting or picture in reach of another child I would fully expect them to pull it apart, rip it up, scrunch it into a little ball, or put in in their mouth.

Because that is just what toddlers do.

However I know not everyone is as easy going as I am when it comes to these kinds of things.

Finding the retired school teacher who runs the place, I bolding asked if she would mind doing some craft with Emily, as I was far too busy failing as a parent to be able to ensure baby girl got to have the experience.

Whereas what I really wanted to say was that those women weren’t being very nice to us.

I mean wasn’t that her job?

I’d seen her sit with other children before, but never mine.

I know my presence challenges her, but surely Little shouldn’t have to miss out because of that.

Surely she could put her rigidity down for just a second and examine this from another angle.

I don’t think she means it, or is even conscious about it.

However I am.

I am aware of her vague visceral discomfort, and I see it manifest in her behaviour toward the cutie cute cute cute.

My question is, how do I teach baby girl to deal with this type of prejudice and injustice.

Because it certainly won’t be the last time we come across it.

I tried to explain to her that because I didn’t know what was on the table I wasn’t sure if it were safe, but I don’t think she understood.

Be it because my overwhelm rendered me inarticulate at that moment, or perhaps her no nonsense efficiency rendered her incapable of comprehension, I do not know.

You’re not failing if you ask for help she replied, taking Little from my arms, and heading toward said land of glue and glitter.

If there were one of my friends on the table, I know they would have simply included Little as a matter of course, as though it were no effort or exertion on their part at all.

However I will put this incident down to a cultural difference, rather than an intentional attempt at excluding us.

Although to be honest, a girl can’t quite be sure.

However nor can she dwell on such things for too long, because they lead to dark places.

After all if one expects to see enemies, then that is what they will find.

Besides, I know when I ask Michael about it later, he will tell me that he knows exactly the group of women of which I speak, and not to worry about it, because they don’t ever speak to anybody accept each other.

As I stood in the middle of the room trying to pull myself together, and breathe it out, another mother approached me and we got chatting.

She was new.

And all power to her, my colourful cane with all the paint splatters to match my outfit didn’t scare her off.

After all, she could have spoken to anyone within the vicinity.

Instantly I forgot about my humiliation, my anxiety, and my sense of not being enough, and equilibrium returned to my world as we discussed nappies, the lack of sleep we were each getting, and the general friendliness of this group.

Five minutes later Emily triumphantly returned with a pasta picture in hand.

Although I can’t be sure how much of it she actually did, because to my mind it is terribly neat, which isn’t like my daughter at all.

Unsurprisingly I have a think outside the lines kind of girl, which is reflected in her everything.

Whereas this tree looks a lot like a tree if I do say so myself.

But thank you retired schoolteacher who runs the place, I appreciate your stepping in.

We then headed outside where we were enthusiastically greeted by people we have come to know, and Emily wandered off happily with a baby doll pram toward the sand pit.

She oscillates between the two; because sometimes it is hard to pick what is more fun.

Running up and down the yard like a maniac chasing other kids with prams, or poring sand through a funnel.

Really I don’t blame her, because these are two of my favourite things also.

Michael had graciously walked us to playgroup earlier, whereby I had carried Little in her new backpack my sissy had procured us a few weeks earlier.

Since its adition to our arsenal of transport options it has been Little’s favourite.

We make coffee together in it in the mornings, we bring in the washing, we wander around the house, I carry her up to bed in it, and we even go places.

Lots and lots of places.

My favourite moments are when her little hand comes shooting over my shoulder to point something out or pick something up.

We talk about the pumpkin as I carve it, we talk about the flour as I measure.

We rock out to songs in shops as we pass them.

She even eats her lunch in there.

Now if that thing isn’t going to make my body strong and powerful, then God knows what will.

I confess to huffing and puffing a little up the hill, but really I was too busy being ridiculously happy with the situation, and enjoying their company to notice.

Still I cannot get over how much fun I have with baby girl.

She’s just so likable.

I love that I get to wear her on my back like a possum.

I get to hand her bickies, hear her words, and feel her fingers on my face.

I get to dance as she dances, sing as she sings, and talk when she talks.

Each of us pointing interesting things we notice out to one another along the way.

She has a knack for spotting puppies, while I have a knack for avoiding cars.

Therefore a win win for all concerned, wouldn’t you say?

By the time we left, I had forgotten about my cognitive overload that I experienced before opening my eyes this morning, and had forgotten about my fatigue.

I had forgotten to worry about walking home, or making baby girl’s lunch, or any number of micro decisions that were to follow.

All I felt was a sense of accomplishment and productivity with our morning’s industriousness.

Sure it may not seem like much to someone else, but the fact that Michael and I can so easily tag team and find meaning in our personal and professional endeavours, is living the dream as far as we are concerned.

May it always feel this free and easy and optional as we expand into the wider world.

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