Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hey Y'all

I am stealing a few minutes away from my family - my husband is with our sons after getting a two and a half hour nap, not that I was counting, okay, I was totally counting - to start my blog. It feels like jumping off into the unknown. And I know everything is like that, even though I pretend it isn't. When I was growing up, momma would always say to me, "You don't know what's going to happen." And I would nod my head, as if I agreed, but inside I was thinking, "I do know what's going to happen. I'm not going to have fun on this date, and he won't have any cute friends (as she'd always assure me he would), and even if he does, that would be too weird to go out with them because I'm with him, so what damn difference does it make? So I do know what's going to happen, and stop acting like I don't." Then I'd go on the date, and not have a good time (big surprise), making me sure that I really did know what was going to happen after all. And maybe sometimes that is true. But what I am seeing now, thanks to my four year old and my one year old sons, is that I have no idea what is going to happen.
There is an amazing article in today's New York Times Magazine about why we play. I haven't been able to finish it yet - because I was playing with my sons! - but what I've read so far talked about how play is directly related to the brain's development. And for play to count towards development, all five senses have to be used, and it has to have what they call a kaleidoscope effect, of moving from one thing to another, and adding bits of each thing together to make something else. Which is what I've been doing with my sons all morning. We started with Legos, which turned into a town for the Thomas train set, and then we did a painting for his cousin whose Valentine just arrived, then we found a place for the painting to dry, but we needed to fly to see the cousin, so we pulled the big pillows off the couch to make an airplane in the playroom, but we couldn't walk on the lines of the tile in the hallway to get to the playroom, only in the middle of the tile, so then there were peals of laughter about who did that the best - guess who? - and then we played Red light, Green light, and then someone (the winner of the no-walking-on-the-lines-game) started melting down, so it was time for lunch. And a nap for me, which I didn't get.
But reading that article about how kids need to play for this brain development to occur and how it is pretty much done once they hit puberty, so they stop playing in that way, made me understand more clearly why it is like going into a different world when I play with my sons. I can almost feel my mind letting go of how things should be and what should happen next to, so that I can just be there for where ever the play goes. I love it when I am there, it's like being in a foreign country - and to those of you with small kids, you know it is a foreign country - but sometimes the going in is harder than other times. And I think it is when I am more resistant to not knowing what's going to happen next.
And that made me wonder about how I play today. One great thing about all those years that I studied acting and did jobs was that when it was really working, it was just like play. Even with a script, there was a sense of having no idea what was going to happen next, and that was when I knew it was really working and I was just flying.
And I see my sons have that - they live that. And I can have that when I sit or climb or run or jump with them, but then I have to cook the meals, or do emails, or or or... So I wonder if I can find pockets of that in my own life by trying to remember - or ask momma to remind me! - that I don't know what is going to happen next. As much as I pretend to myself that I do. And that everything is a jump into the unknown. It's amazing how much I fight that.Do you do that, too? I'd love to hear your thoughts. About the article. About any of it. Because one thing I definitely don't know is what you're thinking. But that's another conversation!


Blogger jillygal said...

Delaune, Jill Klein here in LA, friend of Andy Stein, Annabelle Gurwitch...anyway, loved the video of the little girls, the cover of the book. Mazeltov on such a busy life.
I started the NY times mag. play article too. I wonder if you saw the PBS special on brain plasticity? Peter Coyote narrated it. All about how the brain needs to accept new ideas and reminders of how it continues to learn in order to stay healthy and active. It sounds like what you and your boys do all the time. I just spent a few days with some little ones and we ran around, made collages, crawled around looking for tiny things, watched turtles at the zoo and generally had a splendid time. And it is energizing. It reinforces the notion that as long as we keep learning and aren't smug and arrogant about what we already know we'll keep our brains from melting.
I think our brains are constantly itching to learn new things. Lucky you to have 2 little ones to keep you scratching.

February 28, 2008 at 10:52 PM  
Blogger Amy T. said...

Hey Delaune! Yay! I love your blog. Congratulations. Actually, this is the first blog I've ever read or responded to. (Illustrating my advanced age, I suppose, and my general cyber-ineptitude.) I really enjoyed the list of little known D.M. facts and heartily concur that it's so great how you laugh at yourself. I've never noticed your overcaffeinated speech or your veering into people -- but who could possibly complain??The photo shoot was interesting and the book cover lovely lovely. Cannot wait to read the new book!! In the meantime, good luck with your boys, your blog, your book and all good B things. And good A to Z things.xoxox Amy T.

March 10, 2008 at 6:44 PM  
Blogger Levitan said...

This looks like a very interesting book. I love the cover picture.

March 16, 2008 at 12:55 AM  

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