Friday, February 10, 2017

Monday's with Meyer: A New Song.

Early on Monday mornings, I hear a squeal at my front door and a sweet little voice says, "Gramamama!"  Her little legs wiggle with wild and wonderful happiness while she reaches out her little arms for me. What a way to start my week!

Kisses and hugs and she's off and running. Breakfast. Gathering her flock of animals. Sorting rocks. Doing puzzles with Granda. And that's all in the first hour, before we take our walk to the park. After that there's music, dancing, snacking, cooking and making (pretend) lattes to order, coloring and, finally, lunch and naptime.

Developing humans are fascinating. Truly.

Originally, I majored in Early Childhood Development. I now remember why I wanted to study them. Why I worked in preschools. Why I loved every energetic, non-stop minute. These little humans are the essence of what it is to be human. They touch, see, absorb and savor every single minute. When they're hungry, they eat. When they're tired, they sleep. When they're sad or scared or angry, they feel it. 

Right in the moment. 

Meyer loves so many things in the world. She is fascinated by everything and everyone. She is open, curious, inventive, exploratory, creative and adventurous. She, in her perfect toddler fashion, runs between toys, people and food with equal desire and interest. She is driven to learn about everything and everyone in her world. And even though some new experiences seem too much to her at first and she might need a step back, it doesn't stop her. 

When she's happy, you know it.

I remember a song I always sang with my toddlers, perhaps you remember it too: "When you're happy". As we dance and sing to the Raffi channel, I hear that song come on and I joyfully sing along until I realize something is wrong. The words and the song were written to describe and teach toddler the words and actions that go with feelings. But this song is wrong.

The song now is:
When you're happy and you know it, clap your hands.(repeat 2 times)
When you're happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it.
When you're happy and you know it, clap your hands.
(Other verses):
When you're happy and you know it, stomp your feet.
When you're happy and you know it, yell hoorah!

Absolutely no other feelings in the song. Here's the verses to the song as I taught it:

When you're happy and you know it, clap your hands. 
When you're sad and you know it, say boohoo.
When you're mad and you know it, stomp your feet.
When you're sleepy and you know it, close your eyes(yawning is action)
(Repeating the line're face will surely show it...after each verse)

What happened to having feelings?

This is a huge wake up call to me. And maybe the reason we're having so many problems right now with stress, insomnia, weight gain and anger in our world. We've all been taught that song and now the only feeling we're supposed to be feeling is happy? 

Now as adults, we all know that's not true. We feel a wide range of feelings and we have names for them. We know that feelings cycle like the seasons and weather. They come and go. Sometimes soft and sweet, sometimes loud and fearful. Change and changing feelings go with being human on this planet.

It's alright to feel wrong sometimes. So let's change and cycle back.

Let's teach our toddlers and ourselves, if we need the reminder, the most important lesson of being a healthy human. It's ok to be happy, mad or sad and show it. 

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